Confederates in the Attic
As Tony Horwitz illustrates in Confederates in the Attic, the Civil War is far from over. Horwitz, determined to find the answers to this conflict, treks through the South, seeking to explain man's longtime obsession with a war that divided the nation. Talking to historians and Civil War reenactors of all kinds, he finds that people are still divided today when it comes to the war and present issues in society. He collects a vast amount of data, which proves to make things very difficult in drawing a general conclusion. Horwitz learns how differently the south views the war, discovers the way in which people use history to suit their own needs, and explores issues of race. Horwitz begins his journey in the South, coinciding his trip with the dates of specific battles. After coming across many Civil War enthusiasts, he finds that the South has a very different perception of the battles and overall meaning of the war. There is still an "us against them" sentiment, as southerners continue to feel their way of life is threatened. The history presented, as the truth in the South is certainly not as objective as it is in the North. Horwitz recognizes the South as being more idealistic, trying to build on its past, essentially creating a bizarre relationship with history. The South has a way of constructing their own history based on deep-seated feelings that are challenging to explain. This unexplainable feeling is one of the very reasons Horwitz is driven to research further. In American culture, the South has more or less been stereotyped and degraded in various ways, which naturally brings about a sense of defensiveness. The southerners stick together to defend their culture and to honor their ancestors, and for many, their passion for the Civil War is more than just nostalgia. It is family pride, a fight for the underdogs, heroism and perhaps a love of imagination. One thing is certain-...
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