by Jon Travia and Chris Mackowski, editors
El Dorado Hills, Ca.: Savas Beatie, 2022. Pp. xxx, 306.
Illus., maps, notes, index. $29.95 paper. ISBN: 1611216338
The Evolving Memory of the Civil War
Americans memory of the Civil War varies greatly. Monuments and memorials may honor service and sacrifice, but they also reflect the causes over which soldiers fought, or believed that they fought. When those veterans in Blue or Gray and their civilian supporters, erected monuments to honor their performances on the battlefield, they may have set in stone and bronze precise images in specific locations that were been at variance the actual events and issues, to reflect particular interpretations of causes and events, in part as a way to control the narrative.
This volume comprises 40 papers by 25 different authors, collectively devoted to the subject of monuments and memorialization related to the Civil War. Some of these are adapted from blog posts or other media, and some are original pieces, deliberately written for this work.
Co-editor Mackowski explains, "Monuments can be useful learning tools in some situations, but they can also have multiple layers of meaning that can be celebratory to one group of people and quite hurtful to another group, all at the same time. And those groups might not understand each other’s perspectives.”
The essays look at those perspectives, to expand our understanding of the events being memorialized, looking at the motivations of those who erected various monuments, and at the reasons for the continuing controversy that surrounds many of them, providing us with new viewpoints to consider.
This is a valuable work for those interested in the role of monuments and memorialization in shaping or understanding of the war.
Our Reviewer: David Marshall has been a high school American history teacher in the Miami-Dade School district for more than three decades. A life-long Civil War enthusiast, David is president of the Miami Civil War Round Table Book Club. In addition to numerous reviews in Civil War News and other publications, he has given presentations to Civil War Round Tables on Joshua Chamberlain, Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the common soldier. His most recent previous reviews here include Their Maryland, The Lion of Round Top, Rites of Retaliation, Animal Histories of the Civil War Era, Benjamin Franklin Butler, Dreams of Victory: General P. G. T. Beauregard, Bonds of War, Early Struggles for Vicksburg, True Blue, Civil War Witnesses and Their Books, Love and Duty, When Hell Came To Sharpsburg, Lost Causes, Six Miles From Charleston, Five Minutes to Hell, "If We Are Striking for Pennsylvania", James Montgomery: Abolitionist Warrior, Cedar Mountain to Antietam, Lieutenant General James Longstreet, Count the Dead, All Roads Led To Gettysburg, Unhappy Catastrophes, The Heart of Hell, The Whartons' War, and Gettysburg’s Southern Front .
Note: Civil War Monuments and Memorials is also available in e-editions.
StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium