New to the Civil War Memory Library, 10/23

I am calling for a year-long moratorium on Civil War publishing from my favorite historians.  There is just too much to read. Give us a chance to catch up.

William J. Cooper, We Have the War Upon Us: The Onset of the Civil War, November 1860-April 1861 (Knopf, 2012).

Guy R. Hasegawa, Mending Broken Soldiers: The Union and Confederate Programs to Supply Artificial Limbs (Southern Illinois University Press, 2012).

Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein, The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine (M.E. Sharpe, 2012).

Joe Mozingo, The Fiddler on Pantico Run: An African Warrior, His White Descendants, A Search for Family (Free Press, 2012).

Jonathan Sarna,When General Grant Expelled the Jews(Schoken, 2012).

John Stauffer and Zoe Trodd, The Tribunal: Responses to John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid (Harvard University Press, 2012).

John F. Witt, Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History (Free Press, 2012).

The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Flaggers

I had no idea that there is now a chapter of Flaggers in North Carolina.  It would be a stretch to draw any type of formal connection with the Flaggers in Virginia. It’s the same inane rhetoric about a subject they apparently know very little about.  In this case, it’s a new exhibit about Lincoln on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Asheville.  These people have nothing to say about the actual exhibit beyond vague accusations of Lincoln as a war criminal.  Kirk Lyons (misspelled by the media as Lion) and H.K. Edgerton were in attendance, but all they can manage is the same old dog and pony show that has become their trademark.

It looks like some of the students had a good laugh at their expense.

Fasting and Prayer Ended the Civil War

There is an incredibly rich body of scholarship focused on explaining the outcome of the Civil War, but pastor John Hagee takes a slightly different approach.

Lincoln’s proclamation for a national day of fasting was signed in March 1863.  I think Hagee needs to explain why it took another two years for Lee to finally find the “grace” to surrender.  This is par for the course for these two clowns.

September 22, 1862 – 2012

That on the first day of January in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any state, or designated part of a state, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free;  and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will  recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom. – Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation

[Image: President Obama views Emancipation Proclamation in Oval Office]

Why Spielberg’s Lincoln Matters to Civil War Buffs

Boyd Harris of the University of Mississippi left this comment today in response to my posting of the official trailer for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming movie, Lincoln.

I’ve been saying for a month that this is going to be the Passion of the Christ for historians. Blocks of seats bought by academics and us browbeating our non-historian friends into seeing it again with us.

Boyd hit the nail on the head.  The trailer has been posted and re-posted by friends on Facebook and Twitter.  To say that we are all excited would be an understatement, but I suspect there is a reason for this that all of us can relate to on some level.  Let’s face it, despite a few exceptions that fell short of being major box office draws, most Civil War era movies (for lack of a better way of putting it) suck.

By the looks of it, Spielberg’s Lincoln has the potential to make it easier for all of us who self-identify as Civil War buffs or enthusiasts.  We all know these moments where we are pressed to explain our interest in this period and why we find it so compelling.  This movie has the potential to supplant Ron Maxwell’s melodramatic and juvenile movies, which are commonly tossed about as the best in Civil War era movies.

I will bring the same kind of critical stance that I bring to any Hollywood movie that attempts to interpret the past, but I will not be counting buttons, judging the accuracy of uniforms or even counting moments that deviate from what I acknowledge as mainstream Civil War historiography.  I want to see an entertaining movie that drives home what was at stake in the war and presents an intelligent and absorbing portrayal of our sixteenth president.