Entertaining History: The Civil War in Literature, Film, and Song.

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Author: Jim Cullen
Date: Feb. 2021
From: Journal of Southern History(Vol. 87, Issue 1)
Publisher: Southern Historical Association
Document Type: Book review
Length: 684 words
Lexile Measure: 1520L

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Entertaining History: The Civil War in Literature, Film, and Song. Edited by Chris Mackowski. Engaging the Civil War. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2020. Pp. xvi, 254. Paper, $26.50, ISBN 978-0-8093-3757-6.)

By an accident of history, I happened to read this collection of essays amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the mass protests surrounding the death of George Floyd. As such, there was something surreal about it: the fierce urgency of now in that moment seemed to make pop culture treatments of the Civil War seem positively antiquarian. This was especially true given that Entertaining History: The Civil War in Literature, Film, and Song focuses on middlebrow twentieth-century popular culture (for example, the books by Bruce Catton and the movie Gone with the Wind [1939]--which was recently removed from the HBO Max streaming service) rather than, say, Toni Morrison's Beloved (New York, 1987) or the recent Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet (2019), though the film version of 12 Years a Slave (2013) is ably analyzed. It also seems a little off the mark...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A653470280