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The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era

Return to Book Page. Preview — American Oracle by David W. Amid cold war politics and civil rights protest, four of America's most incisive writers explored the gulf between remembrance and reality. Robert Penn Warren, the southern-reared poet-novelist who recanted his support of segregation; Bruce Catton, the journalist and U.


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Navy officer who became a popular Civil War historian; Edmund Wilson, the century's preeminent literary critic; and James Baldwin, the searing African-American essayist and activist--each exposed America's triumphalist memory of the war. And each, in his own way, demanded a reckoning with the tragic consequences it spawned. Blight illuminates not only mid-twentieth-century America's sense of itself but also the dynamic, ever-changing nature of Civil War memory. On the eve of the th anniversary of the war, we have an invaluable perspective on how this conflict continues to shape the country's political debates, national identity, and sense of purpose.

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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Aug 12, David Lucander rated it really liked it Shelves: african-american-history , civil-war , u-s-historyth-century. A fantastic intellectual history, powerfully written by one of America's best minds on the Civil War. Non-academics or general readers will find esoteric stuff like a chapter on Bruce Catton pretty boring, but I'm fascinated by it and learned a lot about how Americans in the turbulent s thought about the even more hectic s.

Blight's insights are profound, his pen is clean, and this book is good.

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Chapter on James Baldwin was my favorite, but it didn't seem to fit with the rest of the book A fantastic intellectual history, powerfully written by one of America's best minds on the Civil War. Chapter on James Baldwin was my favorite, but it didn't seem to fit with the rest of the book for some reason. Sep 03, Rob rated it it was amazing. This is one of the best books I've read this year.

The chapter on Baldwin was especially interesting as I had never read anything by or about him. Wonderful read! View 1 comment. Jul 29, Donna rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Civil War buffs. Shelves: history.

American Oracle is Blight's reflection on the Centennial celebration of the Civil War which took place as the Civil Rights movement was growing stronger and more violent. I had the pleasure of reading Warren and Baldwin to fully understand Blight's work. It is interesting to muse on the commemorations of the Civil War and Emancipation at 50 year intervals: 50th happened during the height of Jim Crow when black Union veterans were refused participation in the Gettysburg re-enactment; th was when Martin Luther King Jr.

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There is only one cause of the Civil War and that is slavery. Jun 03, Mark Cheathem rated it liked it. I didn't think the chapter on James Baldwin worked very well to make Blight's arguments about the CW centennial. Otherwise, it was an interesting book. Feb 04, Margaret Sankey rated it liked it.

Although this is at heart a literary study of four mid-century authors--Bruce Catton, Robert Penn Warren source of the "Big Alibi" and "Treasury of Virtue" categorization of the North and South , Edmund Wilson and James Baldwin and their engagement with the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement, Blight begins the book and frames his authors in the centennial commemoration of the Civil War in the s. I admit that reading Catton's military histories very young, I hadn't connected them to the Although this is at heart a literary study of four mid-century authors--Bruce Catton, Robert Penn Warren source of the "Big Alibi" and "Treasury of Virtue" categorization of the North and South , Edmund Wilson and James Baldwin and their engagement with the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement, Blight begins the book and frames his authors in the centennial commemoration of the Civil War in the s.

I admit that reading Catton's military histories very young, I hadn't connected them to the context in the explicit way I did Baldwin's, and I am surprised that current social commentators on the Great Recession have not rediscovered Edmund Wilson.

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BLIGHT: American Oracle () | Book Reviews | Civil War Monitor

Also and this is for the list of "hey, Grad Students, get on this fruitful thing to mine! Feb 09, Tom marked it as to-read Shelves: history-american , literary-criticism , race , cultural-studies. Enticing review in NYRB moved me to look this one up. Nov 04, Tom Buske rated it liked it.

This book was interesting but ponderous at times. I would recommend it but probably only to historians, professional or amateur. I think it is too much to digest for anyone else. Choose your language.

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