“It Looks Like We’re Going To Need To Plow Our Own Fields From Now On”

You can find additional cartoons by this illustrator at birthofanotion.com.  If you haven’t already done so I highly recommend reading Chandra Manning’s What This Cruel War Was Over, which is now in paperback.  In addition, I recently finished reading Joe Glatthaar’s General Lee’s Army.  Both studies analyze the role of slavery and race during the war and particularly the way it shaped Confederates and white Southerners.  Glatthaar’s book is a first-rate synthesis of recent Civil War historiography without getting bogged down in an analysis of those studies.  Check out the interview with Glatthaar at Civil War Book Review.


Is Confederate Heritage Really Under Assault?

Not according to this story

Ironically, the
vast majority of respondents knew the Arthur Ashe monument even though
Monument Avenue was started as a memorial to Confederate Virginian
Civil War participants. Even more ironic, only one person guessed
(correctly) that Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, had
his own monument.

History can’t be under assault if the people are ignorant of it.

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Last Time I Checked Amazon Has All the Gettysburg Books You Could Possibly Want to Read

I am looking forward to visiting Gettysburg this summer to join some friends for a battlefield tour.  All of us are interested in seeing what the NPS has done with the exhibits in the new visitors center.  I’ve read a number of posts from fellow bloggers who are concerned about the book selection in the gift shop.  Apparently, the gift shop is catering to the average visitor who has little need to wade through 20 titles on the fighting at the Wheatfield.   I sort of understand the disappointment of the veteran Gettysburg dudes who want the visitors center to be both a popular tourist destination and a place where the most obscure studies are made available, but we shouldn’t make too much of this. 

My advice is for the NPS to offer whatever the hell sells and generates money.  If that means Newt Ginghrich’s alternative history of the battle and Jennie Wade dolls than so be it.  The NPS can easily satisfy its mission of educating the public without having to stock its shelves with titles that appeal to a select few.  The NPS ought to include some titles that reflect the contours of the campaign and the broader issues of the war – mission accomplished.


The Presidential Tapes at the Miller Center

One of the reasons I love teaching American history during the post-WWII period is it affords me the opportunity to utilize a wide range of online primary sources.   One of my favorite  sites is the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings.  Students can listen to the White House tapes of every president from Franklin Roosevelt onward and they provide a unique opportunity to listen in on "history-in-the-making."  One of my favorite recordings is a telephone conversation between Lyndon Johnson and the president of the Haggar Pants Company in August 1964 shortly after the incident in the Gulf of Tonkin.  Apparently, Johnson needed new slacks and as president of the United States he decided to order directly from a fellow president.  My students always get a kick out of this one.

Today we listened to a few Nixon tapes, one in which he discusses John Kerry’s 1972 congressional testimony with Kissinger and Haldeman [Haldeman was such a sleaze] and the other in which Nixon speculates that Mark Felt is leaking information to Bob Woodward during the Watergate investigations.  You can spend hours listening to these tapes. 



Congratulations Chris Long!

I’ve never watched the NFL Draft before, but I made an exception this past Saturday as my former student Chris Long went second overall to the St. Louis Rams.  I taught Chris his junior year and had a blast doing so.  He brought an incredible amount of energy to the classroom and refused to see himself simply as an athlete.  Chris was actively involved in just about every discussion, especially when the conversations turned to politics.  He clearly made the right move in staying here in Charlottesville to play football and attend school at the University of Virginia; he obviously benefited from the continued guidance of his parents and specifically his father.  Whenever I saw Chris in town I made it a point to ask him about his studies before sports and he was always enthusiastic to talk about his professors and classes.  The St. Louis Rams have made a great choice.  They not only picked up a super athlete, but a team player and active community member.  This couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. 

By the way, keep any eye out for Chris’s younger brother Kyle who will play baseball next year for Florida State University.  Kyle is a pitcher and is just about as big as Chris.  Needless to say he’s got a rocket for an arm.

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