Tag Archives: Telling History vs. Making Art

Ken Burns From the ECW Archives

As we continue this week to explore the legacy of Ken Burns’ The Civil War as it airs on PBS for its 25th anniversary, consider taking a dip into ECW’s archives for a look at what we’ve written about it … Continue reading

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Telling History vs. Making Art: Fictions and Histories

Final part of a series “[H]istory and historical fiction,” says historian Paul Ashdown, “are alternate ways of telling stories about the past.”[1] In that context, Ulysses S. Grant spoke more truth than he realized when he said “Wars produce many … Continue reading

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Telling History vs. Making Art: Fictions told until they are believed to be true

Part nine in a series “Wars produce many stories of fiction, some of which are told until they are believed to be true,” Ulysses S. Grant said in his Personal Memoirs.[1] Grant was specifically referring to a fiction “based on … Continue reading

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Telling History vs. Making Art: “Story is a central component of ‘history'”

Part eight in a series The ability to evoke emotion easily stands out as The Civil War’s greatest strength: From its opening shot of a canon silhouetted against a fire-orange sky and the use of the Oliver Wendell Holmes quote … Continue reading

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Telling History vs. Making Art: Communicating “the incommunicable experience of war”

Part seven in a series “We have shared the incommunicable experience of war,” Oliver Wendell Holmes says at the beginning of Ken Burns’ documentary The Civil War. Burns could not have picked a more appropriate quote to start his film … Continue reading

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Telling History vs. Making Art: The Civil War’s great storyteller

Part six in a series. No written work embodies the tension between art and history more fully than Shelby Foote’s mammoth three-volume The Civil War: A Narrative. Few people realize Foote was a novelist before he became the “warm and … Continue reading

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Telling History vs. Making Art: Killer Angels, real and fictional

Part five in a series. In my last post, I began to discuss Michael Shaara’s aesthetic choices for constructing The Killer Angels as he did, and how he adopted a Lost Cause-interpretation of Robert E. Lee as a central choice … Continue reading

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Telling History vs. Making Art: Gods & Jacksons

Part four in a series. One of my favorite places to work at FSNMP is the Stonewall Jackson Shrine, the small plantation office building where the Confederate general died. It’s a story I love so much that I wrote a … Continue reading

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Telling History vs. Making Art: “Frankly, my dear….”

Part three in a series As the horn section carries Max Steiner’s score from its overture into the sweeping, now-iconic strings of its main theme, Gone With the Wind opens with haggard-looking slaves returning from a hard day’s work set … Continue reading

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Telling History vs. Making Art: The ways we remember the war

Part two in a series “We may say that only at the moment when Lee handed Grant his sword was the Confederacy born,” wrote Robert Penn Warren during the Civil War’s centennial; “or to state matters another way, in the … Continue reading

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