Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Experience at USA Civil War Battlefield Sites

From p. 99 of Ta-Nehisi Coates‘s Between the World and Me:

But whenever I visited any of the [USA Civil War] battlefields, I felt like I was greeted as if I were a nosy accountant conducting an audit and someone was trying to hide the books. I don’t know if you remember how the film we saw at the Petersburg Battlefield ended as though the fall of the Confederacy were the onset of a tragedy, not jubilee. I doubt you remember the man on our tour dressed in the gray wool of the Confederacy, or how every visitor seemed most interested in flanking maneuvers, hardtack, smoothbore rifles, grapeshot, and ironclads, but virtually no one was interested in what all of this engineering, invention, and design had been marshaled to achieve.

I tried to say something similar in my review of Robert Hicks’s The Widow of the South, but I failed to say it as clearly and succinctly. I guess that’s why TNC is the best-selling author and I’m blogging.

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Bigot Harkens Back to Civil War Nostalgia to Ban Syrian Refugees

I’ve previously blogged about the dangers of romanticizing the United States Civil War by ignoring the question about whether the cause of the combatants was just and emphasizing their heroism.

Read how one bigot testified at a South Carolina Senate hearing urging adoption of legislation restricting resettlement of Syrian refugees in South Carolina:

I find it curious that Syrian men of fighting age have abandoned their country in a time of crisis; American men did no such things during our bloody Civil War.

Read more of this witness’s testimony and my rebuttal of some of its points.

Rejoicing in USA Civil War Led to More Wars

I’ve previously blogged about the dangers of romanticizing the United States Civil War. Sinclair Lewis’s voice in It Can’t Happen Here, Doremus Jessup, in Chapter 13 considers the dangers posed by people who believe they have The Solution and questions the value his 1930s contemporaries place on the Civil War:

Slavery had been a cancer, and in that day was known no remedy save bloody cutting. There had been no X-rays of wisdom and tolerance. Yet to sentimentalize this cutting, to justify and rejoice in it, was an altogether evil thing, a national superstition that was later to lead to other Unavoidable Wars–wars to free Cubans, to free Filipinos who didn’t want our brand of freedom, to End All Wars.

Let us, thought Doremus, not throb again to the bugles of the Civil War, nor find diverting the gallantry of Sherman’s dashing Yankee boys in burning the houses of lone women, nor particularly admire the calmness of General Lee as he watched thousands writhe in the mud.

The Dangers of USA Civil War Nostalgia & Romanticism

On November 5, 2015, author Robert Hicks (Twitter) talked about his book The Widow of the South and the place of the USA Civil War in history at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia, USA as part of the 5th Civil War Symposium. In my opinion, he oversold the position he took in his New York Times column on the 150th anniversary of the final day of the battle in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. What I heard, which may not be exactly or substantially what Mr. Hicks said, was that the federal government’s victory in the Civil War preserved the United States so it could play a saving role for humanity “twice” in the 20th century C.E. Continue reading

Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac were two friends who grew up together sharing the common bond of basketball. Together, they lifted the Yugoslavian National team to unimaginable heights. After conquering Europe, they both went to America where they became the first two foreign players to attain NBA stardom. But with the fall of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day 1991, Yugoslavia split up.

Once Brothers: The Story of the Yugoslavian National Basketball Team