It’s become a little tradition at ECW to feature a post about the images or intentional design for the blog series’ headers. Let’s get started with the images for The Civil War & Pop Culture…
The new book and the blog series covers a variety of history, influences, and forms of entertainment, but for the header images, we decided to just feature movies or TV shows and picked four that are regularly mentioned when asking a group of people how they got interested in the Civil War.
Gettysburg (1993) – this film by Ron Maxwell grossed $12.7 million at the box office and brought a version of the battle’s history “to life” on the big screen. Tom Berenger, Jeff Daniels, Martin Sheen, and Sam Elliott were a few of the noted cast who portrayed Civil War officers. Based on the Shaara novel, The Killer Angels, the film helped to launch Joshua Chamberlain to “rock-star” status in some history circles and sent a new wave of tourism to the battlefields.
The Civil War (1990) – first broadcast on PBS, this lengthy documentary by Ken Burns introduced many to 1860’s history. With an innovative use of historical images and primary sources and a soft soundtrack, it offered moments of reality mixed with historian interviews to narrate the saga of the conflict. Though the documentary has been criticized in recent years, it still remains one of the answers to the question “what started your interest in the Civil War?”
Gone With The Wind (1939) – when adjustments are made for inflation, this movie is still the highest-grossing film in all Hollywood history… Loosely based on Margaret Mitchell’s famed novel, this version of the Civil War entrenched many myths about “happy plantations,” damn-Yankees, and a one-sided view of Reconstruction all neatly woven into the story of female rebel who’s unhappy with society’s rules and desperately wants to be loved by the man of her dreams. Movie quotes, popular scenes, and some of the ideas from the script became a standard way to look at the South and Civil War women from the pop-culture perspective.
North and South (1985) – part one of a three part miniseries following two families through the antebellum, Civil War, and reconstruction eras. The first series ranks as the seventh most popular miniseries on American television. Based on a novel trilogy by John Jakes, both books and TV episodes offered pop-culture another version of a Civil War story.