American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era

Citation metadata

Date: Summer 2013
From: Journal of American Ethnic History(Vol. 32, Issue 4)
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Document Type: Book review
Length: 861 words
Lexile Measure: 1420L

Document controls

Main content

Article Preview :

American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era. By David W. Blight. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2011. 314 pp. $27.95 (cloth).

In the last five years, beginning with the publication of Drew Gilpin Faust's This Republic of Suffering (New York, 2008), there has been a significant turn in the historical scholarship of the American Civil War toward grappling with the ugly, horrific side of the fratricidal conflict. Historians are now focusing on the impact of the grisly consequences of the four-year long conflagration. How did pervasive death affect the generation of Civil War Americans? How did the traumatic experiences of war affect its participants? How did extensive physical destruction shape the postwar South? Even the emancipation of slaves is now being reconsidered in a new, critical light in which African Americans, victims of wartime dislocation and discriminatory federal policies, suffered staggering losses to death and disease. It is in this vein that David Blight, the most pre-eminent chronicler of memory and the Civil War, approaches his subject in American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era.

Americans, Blight rightly points out, have proven largely tone-deaf to the suffering that was attendant to the war and its aftermath. Popular memories of the war have been bathed in the light of sentimentality and romance,...

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A336382506