Posts Tagged ‘Tony Horwitz’


What is it about the Civil War that continues to hold our fascination?  Why does this uniquely American conflict still carry such sway and emotion in our nation?  Tony Horwitz sets out to answer these questions and entertain his readers along the way. I believe that both tasks are accomplished in tremendous fashion.

The Civil War is remembered for many different reasons.  It fractured our Republic.    It divided families.  It produced an estimated 618,000 to 700,000 casualties.  It ended slavery.  And lest we forget, it preserved the Union.

Horwitz shows that the Civil War still rages in quirky and compelling ways.  No subject is off-limits for what is destined to become another classic on the Civil War shelf.  Horwitz discusses perspectives on the rebel flag; Stone Mountain; Union and Confederate reenactors; military tactics, equipment, and technology during the war; race relations then and now; the loss of historic battlefields; Nathan Bedford Forrest; unique organizations like the Sons, Daughters, and Children of the Confederacy; and even Jewish soldiers who fought for the South.  His great adventure takes you on a ten-state travelogue that is truly inspiring and informative.

As a veteran, his book gave me a greater awareness of combat and Army life from that era.  These soldiers had low survival rates and primitive conditions.  A small wound could easily cause tragedy.  Battlefields were littered with wounded soldiers who may not receive medical care for days and in some cases a week after being injured.  The battle space could be so distant, that medics may not arrive in time.  Later in the war, soldiers would write a final letter home and pin it on their uniform as they lay bleeding on the battlefield.

The book also made me consider how Union and Confederate veterans struggled with both their collective and individual homecomings after the war.  The feelings and emotions that OIF and OEF veterans experience today can’t be that distant from what they endured.

The ten-state journey and excellent humor made me turn the pages.  Each chapter was a delight and made me hungry for more.  The book is well written and is highly relevant for anyone.  You don’t need a history degree or a combat badge to enjoy this trek along the South.  Horwitz will keep you entertained and open your eyes to issues that still demand our attention.

I guarantee that you will enjoy his blend of humor, history, and hard-nosed journalism.

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