Crater Books For Sale Direct From Author

Update: 15 11 copies still available as of 4:00pm on May 14.

With the arrival of summer comes the opportunity to catch up on some history reading and with that in mind I would like to offer readers a chance to purchase my book, Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder at a significant discount. While the book lists for $35 you can purchase it directly through me for $25, which includes shipping costs. I am also happy to inscribe it for you. I’ve got around 20 copies left so don’t waste time if interested.

You can contact me here for additional information. Please fill out the subject field with “Book Purchase” and I will get right back to you.

The most recent review of the book comes from A. Wilson Greene in the latest issue of The Civil War Monitor.

…it is the most persuasively provocative Petersburg monograph in recent memory. Levin explains the unprecedented mayhem that characterized the combat on July 30, 1864, as akin to a slave rebellion in the minds of the Confederate defenders. It is also one of the best “memory studies” in that now large and often redundant field.

Click here for additional information about the book.

Why Does a College Dropout Focus So Much on College Life?

I’ve always enjoyed visiting the blog from which this screenshot was taken. On occasion a post thoughtfully addresses some aspect of Southern/Civil War history or memory, but most of the time it’s more of what you find below – a response to writers such as myself who dares to research or comment on a specific region of the country in which they were not born or raised.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 4.09.35 PMI can’t speak for anyone else, but having lived in Alabama and Virginia, I find the history of this region to be absolutely fascinating. There are important historical questions to address and it goes without saying that I find the many challenges of how the history is remembered to be worthy of serious attention. Ultimately, it’s part of American history. The title of the post is an attempt to challenge the legitimacy of what someone like myself, who currently lives in a Northern state, writes about another part of the country. It ought not to be a concern. One could make the same argument about a Northerner who chooses to focus on the history of the West or an American who writes about another part of the world entirely.

Continue reading “Why Does a College Dropout Focus So Much on College Life?”

East Chapel Hill High School’s Confederate Flag Problem

Over the past few days additional information has come to light surrounding the recent school trip to Gettysburg in which two students from East Chapel Hill High School were photographed waving Confederate flags on the battlefield. Much of the public discussion has focused on the two girls, but there has been little discussion about the tour itself. While I don’t claim to have all of the relevant information, enough has surfaced to give us a clearer understanding of the goals of the trip and the photograph.

This is a trip that takes place annually and is an extension of an Honors Civil War/American West course.

This is an honors course for students interested in two of the most crucial and romanticized periods of American history:  the Civil War and the exploration and settlement of the American West in the 1800s.  The course provides an in-depth look at the major causes of each; the events that took place; the people and groups that participated; the influence of personalities; and the lasting impact and legacy that the Civil War and American West have on the history of the US.  In this honors course, the materials are taught with greater complexity, novelty and acceleration.

As part of their tour of Pickett’s Charge students stage a reenactment of the attack. It’s unclear where exactly this lesson takes place. I suspect that the organizers of this lesson believe that they are providing their students with a deeper understanding of the battlefield.  At the outset students are given numbers, which instruct them on a specific action such as falling on the ground wounded or dead. Two students are handed school-owned Confederate battle flags. In the event that they fall during the charge two additional students are assigned the task of pickup up the flags and continuing the mock attack. The two students features in the controversial photograph were the final flag bearers. Continue reading “East Chapel Hill High School’s Confederate Flag Problem”

Father of Confederate Flag Waving Daughter Responds

Over the weekend I was contacted by Ronald Creatore, whose child was photographed waving a Confederate flag on the Gettysburg battlefield as part of a school trip. After exchanging a few blog comments and emails I decided to extend an invitation to write a guest post. Below you will find his response to a post I wrote that explores what I believe is the correct context of the photograph in question.

First, in your online reply to me you make the point that your website is “not a newspaper, (but) a blog.” I understand the distinction. Your blog gives you the right to post whatever opinion you wish to convey. I respect your right to do that, however, you impress me as a serious academician, and as you are a PhD MA graduate of the University of Richmond with an impressive list of publications, I would anticipate that you would want to engage in the type of ethics and integrity in research and publication that is expected of a serious academician. To ensure this integrity, in my opinion, requires a more in-depth understanding of both sides of a particular issue before you can contribute something of value to the public discourse, and given that you hadn’t attempted to reach out to me to understand my point-of-view on the “context” issue, I felt that this failure fell short of the standard that you would set for yourself as an academician. This point is moot now that you have graciously offered to engage in this dialogue, and given that you have extended the opportunity for me to provide a guest posting. Continue reading “Father of Confederate Flag Waving Daughter Responds”

When It Comes to Confederate Flags, The History is the Context

It should come as no surprise that the two stories involving high school students waving and posing next to Confederate flags have become national news. It’s also painfully clear that the parties involved have no historical understanding of how to think through some of the important issues involved, namely the history. Last night the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board met to discuss the Instagram photo of two female students waving Confederate flags on the Gettysburg battlefield. A sizable crowd turned out to share their thoughts.

I am much more interested in the Chapel Hill situation precisely because it involves a school trip to Gettysburg. One comment that continues to surface, especially from those defending the girls, is that the photograph was taken out of context. What I take this to mean is that the girls did not intend to offend anyone in their school group or anyone who happened to see it online. It is unclear as to how the students came into possession of the flags, but regardless we can assume that the organizers of the event did not intend to offend anyone by sanctioning it. The father of one of the girls has repeatedly stated that the photograph was taken out of context. Continue reading “When It Comes to Confederate Flags, The History is the Context”