CW & Pop Culture: Our Last Chapter (for now)

Civil War and Pop Culture

Stonewall Michael Jackson

from the restroom in Triple Crossing Beer, Richmond, VA

We all have that first movie, that first book, that took us back in time to the 1860s. We’ve all had an earworm carry us back to yesteryear. I bet we all have a Ken Burns story. We all know Scarlett O’Hara and, frankly, we do give a damn. We all have our favorite on-screen Lincoln. We all know Shelby Foote, and some of us have even read him, and regardless of our feelings about him, we’re all secretly envious of his gravelly Mississippi drawl.

We hope our pop culture series has helped you relive some fond memories. Maybe it’s offered some suggestions for new things to read or watch or listen to. Maybe it’s given you something thought-provoking to consider. Continue reading

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Hey, Subscribers, Did You Miss Us?

1864 Presidential ElectionEmerging Civil War would like to welcome back some of our subscribers (a few thousand of them, actually!). In December, we had some behind-the-scenes technical issues that knocked us for a loop for a while. (We are blaming Russian hackers who were trying to influence the election of 1860.)

While our tech issues didn’t affect ECW’s content, it did affect our ability to connect with subscribers. And, of course, in this world of technological wonder, it can be almost impossible to actually speak to a real person by phone, which might’ve allowed us to get this all squared up in about 20 minutes.

Fortunately, our partners at the Childress Agency in Fredericksburg, which provides ECW’s hosting services, were nothing but fantastic through the whole process. Our woes had nothing to do with them, but they nonetheless stepped up and really helped us through. We want to give them a shout-out for all their great service (and especially to our contact, Ata Birol).

So, welcome back, you thousands of people. You’re as good-looking, intelligent, and discerning as ever. We’ve missed you! Continue reading

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ECW Says “Action” at Antietam

Kevin Pawlak and Dan Welch had the movie cameras rolling at Antietam battlefield. (Okay, they used their cellphones…but it sounds cooler the other way and we have been talking about Civil War movies…) Continue reading

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Maine at War: January 2020

Confederate artillery in action at PerryvilleHere’s what our friend Brian Swartz was up to in January at his blog, Maine at War:

January 1, 2020: Help erect the first Maine monument in the Shenandoah Valley.

The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation is raising funds to erect at Third Winchester a monument to the Maine soldiers who served in the Valley during the Civil War. Join us in making this fund-raising effort a success!

Continue reading

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CW & Pop Culture: Gettysburg Meets Gone With The Wind, Part 2

Alright, having established the novel and movie’s takes on the reports of Gettysburg, let’s talk in more depth about how Gone With The Wind deals with these scenes and how there’s an influence of and influence on pop-culture. Continue reading

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CW & Pop Culture: Gettysburg Meets Gone With The Wind, Part 1

For this entire series, I’ve been contemplating what I should write about Gone With The Wind. There’s a lot I’d still like to say that didn’t make it in the essay in Entertaining History. There’s a lot I’m still thinking about even a few years after doing that research writing.

How about the moment when Gettysburg is addressed in Gone With The Wind? That seems like an interesting thought to ponder. We’ll start with the book text, then the movie clip, followed by some thoughts in a second blog post this evening. Continue reading

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Symposium Spotlight: Sarah Bierle

Welcome back to another installment of our 2020 Emerging Civil War Symposium Spotlight. This week we feature longtime ECW member and woman of many hats within ECW, Sarah Kay Bierle. Continue reading

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CW & Pop Culture: Breaking Down the “Truths” of The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

ECW welcomes Nick Sacco. He’s authored an essay about Grant’s memoirs for the newest book and is here to share some additional perspective and thoughts…

When it comes to biographies of Ulysses S. Grant, few arouse as much debate among scholars as William McFeely’s Pulitzer Prize-winning study from 1981. McFeely’s thoroughly-researched book brought new insights into Grant’s life and influenced a generation of historians, but it also dabbled in excessive psychoanalysis and offered some questionable interpretations that have been scrutinized by more recent biographers. When McFeely died at the age of 89 this past December, it aroused a new round of debates not just about Grant himself, but also the scholars who write about him today.

For me, the most symbolic moment of this discussion occurred when I saw some comments on a friend’s Facebook post about McFeely’s death. One particular commenter who spoke highly of McFeely styled himself “a Grant critic” while noting that so-called “Grant defenders” were still up in arms about the book almost forty years later. These comments wonderfully exposed a long-standing false dichotomy within the world of Grant studies. When you write about Grant, apparently you must either be a “critic” or a “defender.” Does any room exist for scholars who simply want to portray Grant’s life fairly and accurately? Like many other historical figures from the American Civil War, isn’t Grant’s legacy deserving of both criticism and defense? Can scholars dismiss some of the crude, inaccurate stereotypes about Grant’s legacy while also providing critical analysis of his military and presidential record? It sometimes appears the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “no.” Continue reading

Posted in Books & Authors, Civil War in Pop Culture, Memory | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

CW & Pop Culture: Wearing The Civil War?

Is apparel a form of history in pop-culture? I’m going to argue: yes! When I wear my historic 1839 and castled walls emblazed V.M.I. T-Shirt or my favorite Boston Lighthouse swag, I’m proclaiming my love of history to the entire grocery store. Right?

Most historic sites have T-Shirts and other wearables for sale, and in the last few years, I’ve spotted garments with Civil War history showing in classy, odd, grotesque, and humorous logos, portraits, and wording. Now, to be honest, the historical themed T-Shirts in my closet are on the conservative side—maybe even a little boring when compared to some of the edgier stuff also on the market.

So…I decided to do a little internet browsing and see what fantastic apparel is for sale. Commentary for entertainment purposes only, and no offense intended to designers or wearers. Continue reading

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The 15th: An Emerging Amendment?

15th Amendment (National Archives)

It’s been 150 years since the ratification of the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution on February 3, 1870.

Sometimes labelled as the last of the “Reconstruction Amendments,” this change to the law of the land ensured the voting rights for all male citizens and gave Congress the power to pass additional legislation to protect and ensure that right. (Voting rights for women came fifty years later in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment.) Continue reading

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