Does James Longstreet Deserve a Monument?

longstreetThis past Wednesday Charles Lane authored an opinion piece for The Washington Post that called for a monument to be erected in New Orleans to Confederate General James Longstreet. The essay has now been re-printed in newspapers across the country.

Lane believes that Longstreet’s postwar alignment with the Republican Party and other exploits points to an important historical lesson in redemption that has all but been forgotten.

According to the author, the removal of monuments to Lee, Davis and Beauregard and the raising of one to Longstreet will serve to “correct the balance of honor in public spaces.” Continue reading “Does James Longstreet Deserve a Monument?”

Hillary Clinton on Lincoln, the Civil War and Reconstruction

Last night at the Democratic Town Hall Meeting in Iowa Hillary Clinton offered up a reminder of why a solid grasp of Reconstruction is essential to our understanding of American history. While the 150th anniversary of the Civil War received a great deal of attention from historic sites, museums and a host of educational institutions, very little is being done to commemorate Reconstruction. Continue reading “Hillary Clinton on Lincoln, the Civil War and Reconstruction”

Mercy Street/Episode 2, “The Haversack”

Last night episode 2 of Mercy Street aired. The main characters continue to be developed and you probably now have a better sense of the main themes that are now coming into clearer view as well as the trajectory of the overall narrative.

What do you think so far? What do you like about the series and what has left you scratching your head?

Missed the first episode?

Arrived at “Mercy Street”

Mercy StreetLast night PBS aired the first episode of its Civil War drama, Mercy Street. As some of you know I had a chance to preview the first season (6 episodes).  You can also read it at History News Network, but I should warn you that it covers the entire season. I don’t think by reading you will ruin your own viewing experience, but there are a few minor spoilers.

My evaluation of the show does not get bogged down in dialog. Yes, you will find some of your standard cliches and, at times, some of the dialog will leave you wincing. It’s inevitable in this kind of production.

I was much more interested in how the show directs our thinking about the war in all of its complexity. It is here that I believe Mercy Street excels, but don’t take my word for it. Watch it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Free State of Jones: Official Trailer

It’s here. The first trailer for “Free State of Jones” starring Matthew McConaughey is now available and it looks incredible. The movie is based on Victoria Bynum’s excellent book, The Free State of Jones, Movie Edition: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War, which will soon be re-published by the University of North Carolina Press.

I will be reviewing both the book and the movie, which hits theaters this coming summer, for The Daily Beast. A couple of weeks ago I asked Vikki to reflect on the place of this movie in the context of our recent Civil War memory.