Dear reader, life is too short for crap books.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My History Hysteria

Did anybody else catch Andrew Ward on The Daily Show the other night, promoting his new book The Slaves' War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves?



(Oh, who am I kidding, we watched it on Hulu yesterday afternoon. Cable's for suckers.)

As Ward described his book I turned to Mary and said something along the lines of "Holy crap, I must read this immediately, as of yesterday, stat!" I think I may have startled her, actually. But my eyes were popping out for a good reason: not only does Ward's book look painfully interesting, but I'm guessing it makes a nice corrective to the time-honored "great man" approach that old-school Civil War historians reliably trot out, towards which my sociologically-trained brain is somewhat suspicious.

I think I'll put it, along with Chandra Manning's What This Cruel War Was About: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War - an examination of Union and Confederate soldiers' attitudes towards slavery as a cause of the war, as evidenced in their letters, diaries, and regimental newsletters - on a new summer reading list.

Better still, this would be the perfect opportunity to read the rest of Shelby Foote's military history (I've only read the one on the Siege of Vicksburg, which is probably grounds for familial excommunication, but there you go). I suspect the comparisons will be enlightening, to say the least.

3 comments:

Gwen said...

I had much the same reaction. Although I'm a sucker who pays for cable.

Tom said...

Did you ever read Hardtack and Coffee? That was -- at least at one time -- considered a definitive book for the soldier's-eye-view of The Wawuh.

Brady said...

Nope, but I should probably check it out sometime too. It looks the newer one is more of a social history than a straight-up "History" history, so I bet the two would be pretty interesting read together.

I see a syllabus forming here...