Tag Archives: Robert Penn Warren

A Conversation with John Coski (conclusion)

Part six of six I’ve been talking with John Coski, historian at the American Civil War Museum and recipient of the 2019 Emerging Civil War Award for Service in Civil War Public History. As we wrap up our conversation today, … Continue reading

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Robert Penn Warren’s Reflections on Jefferson Davis’s Citizenship

As I mentioned in a post a couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity recently to pick up Robert Penn Warren’s short 1980 book Jefferson Davis Gets His Citizenship Back. It’s beautifully written, and Warren’s ambivalence about his native South … Continue reading

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Robert Penn Warren, Jefferson Davis, and the Construction of a Monument

In his 1980 essay “Jefferson Davis Gets His Citizenship Back,” first printed in The New Yorker and later published as a short book, Robert Penn Warren reflected on the construction of a monument to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis. That … Continue reading

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The Future of Civil War History: Steve Davis

A couple of years ago I got a phone call during my day-job from a local TV reporter, Paul Crowley, who said he had gotten my name from the Atlanta History Center. Paul explained that the night before, his station, … 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: 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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Warren’s Legacy still asks urgent questions

As a Kentucky-born writer who lived most of his professional life in the North, Robert Penn Warren was deeply conflicted about the American Civil War. That ambivalence, and the tensions that sprang from it, haunt every section of his essential … Continue reading

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American Oracle and the dangers of political fanaticism

Reading David Blight’s American Oracle this weekend, I’ve noticed a subtle, cautionary note that keeps playing itself as an occasional undertone. It reminds me again why the study of history has something to tell us about current events—and also that no one … Continue reading

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