Pickett's Charge in History and Memory (Google eBook)

Front Cover
UNC Press Books, Nov 15, 1997 - History - 296 pages
7 Reviews
If, as many have argued, the Civil War is the most crucial moment in our national life and Gettysburg its turning point, then the climax of the climax, the central moment of our history, must be Pickett's Charge. But as Carol Reardon notes, the Civil War saw many other daring assaults and stout defenses. Why, then, is it Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg--and not, for example, Richardson's Charge at Antietam or Humphreys's Assault at Fredericksburg--that looms so large in the popular imagination?

As this innovative study reveals, by examining the events of 3 July 1863 through the selective and evocative lens of 'memory' we can learn much about why Pickett's Charge endures so strongly in the American imagination. Over the years, soldiers, journalists, veterans, politicians, orators, artists, poets, and educators, Northerners and Southerners alike, shaped, revised, and even sacrificed the 'history' of the charge to create 'memories' that met ever-shifting needs and deeply felt values. Reardon shows that the story told today of Pickett's Charge is really an amalgam of history and memory. The evolution of that mix, she concludes, tells us much about how we come to understand our nation's past.

!--copy for pb reprint --BRBR"A fresh look at the disastrous assault."--iNew Yorker/iBRBR"A splendidly lively study of the manipulation, not necessarily deliberate or malign, of public opinion."--iAtlantic Monthly/iBRBR"Exceptionally lucid. . . . This fine book provides vivid evidence of just how far we will go to alchemize fantasy into fact."--Jonathan Yardley, iWashington Post/iBRBR"Well-written and meticulously researched, Pickett's Charge in History and Memory utilizes first-rate scholarship to tell a fascinating story. . . . Should win a wide audience among general readers."--iCivil War History/iBRBRAssessing the myths and facts surrounding Pickett's Charge, Carol Reardon explores why this event endures so strongly in the American imagination. She demonstrates that the story told today of the charge is really an amalgam of history and memory and that the evolution of that mix tells us much about how we come to understand our nation's past.BR--
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ncunionist - LibraryThing

A pioneering study of the contested landscape of memory of an event versus the actual event, how that memory supplanted the actual events, and how that memory shaped / frame / reflected the society ... Read full review

Review: Pickett's Charge in History and Memory

User Review  - Kate Willis - Goodreads

This book should be required reading for anyone who has ever visited the High Water Mark and enjoyed a moment of reverent silence. It really puts that experience in context. Thoroughly readable and tough to put down! Read full review

Contents

ILLUSTRATIONS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
PROLOGUEHISTORY MEMORY AND PICKETTS CHARGE
1 DISCONNECTED THREADS
2 SCARCELY ANYBODY CAN GIVE A CORRECT ACCOUNT
3 HISTORY AS IT OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN
4 BINDING THE WOUNDS OF WAR
5 MONUMENTS TO MEMORY
6 SOUTHERN DISSENTERS SPEAK OUT
7 VIRGINIA VICTORIOUS
8 HANDGRIPS AT THE SACRED WALL
EPILOGUETHE OLD BRIGHT WAY OF THE TALES
NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Carol Reardon is professor of military history at Pennsylvania State University.

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