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.

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