Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War by HW Crocker III
After reading Kevin Levine's post on this book I thought I was in for a horrible read. I didn't think it was that horrible. Sure it perpetuates some Lost Cause beliefs but it is not so horribly pro-Confederate. I thought both sides were presented mostly evenly. The section on the battles was fairly evenly done. The biographies, Lee, Thomas, Grant, Sherman, Longstreet, Forrest, Jackson, AP Hill, McClellan, Hampton, Stuart, Sheridan and Custer was even handed. Grant is not portrayed as a butcher. Lee receives a bit higher marks than I would give him but its not like Lee is portrayed as God on Earth. There is a small section on what if the Confederacy had won, and that was probably the worst area but even there I saw some points I could agree with.
Every so often there is a gray box titled, "Books Yankees Don't Want You to Read." That was a silly selection in the book and did not need to be there. Basically it is books that do not portray the South (and her generals, culture, etc) in a negative light. These were the most pro-Confederate sections in the book. Some of them were silly additions too. Like "Gone With the Wind" was listed. "Gone With the Wind" considered a classic book, and movie. Is it 100% true? No, but that's why its called fiction. I'm not sure who these "Yankees" are making the banned book list but I don't think I've ever heard of anyone wanting "Gone With the Wind" banned. There are certainly historians who lament that people get their history from "Gone With the Wind" but ever sort of mass market Civil War novel/movie is going to provoke that feeling among historians. I cannot think of a single movie I've watched that I could recommend whole heatedly as the truth.
Another book Yankees don't want you to read is Douglas Southall Freeman's four volume biography of Lee. If someone truly thinks the premier biography of a major participant of the war should be banned then they truly do not care about history. Not learning about a chief player in the war, no matter his side, is a serious mistake.
I will not keep this book in my library as it is too general a book for me but I think it would be a fine addition to a new student's library.

1 comment:

markerhunter said...

Did the authors discuss the movie "Drums in the Deep South" ?

Sadly one of the worst Civil War themed movies of all time. Set in Georgia during Uncle Billy's rampage down I-75 to Atlanta.

Movie included a scene where piano wire was used to repair a damaged cannon. Becuase, "That's the strongest kind of metal there is!"

Certainly a movie scripted in the spirit of the Redeemers.