Old Glory and the Stars and Bars: Stories of the Civil War

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George William Koon
University of South Carolina Press, 1995 - Fiction - 228 pages
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In this lively anthology, George William Koon surveys one of America's most fascinating historical events through one of its most noteworthy literary forms - the short story. The resulting tour de force of Civil War fiction crosses cultural, racial, gender, and battle lines in a sampling that proves just how irresistible the Civil War has been - and continues to be - for America's fiction writers. What sets Old Glory and Stars and Bars apart from other Civil War volumes is its mix of familiar and relatively new authors, mosaic of perspectives which run the gamut from Union soldier to slave girl, and inclusion of female and African-American voices. The collection also avoids much of the sentimentality and partisanship commonly associated with the Civil War short story. For example, the ubiquitous theme of individual heroism is revised in Mark Twain's "The Private History of a Campaign that Failed" and in Ambrose Bierce's "Killed at Resaca." As one might expect, battle scenes figure prominently in many selections, but in others, the homefront and post-bellum society form the locus of the story. And while tragedy pervades the volume, humor winds its way through many of the stories, including Barry Hannah's fanciful version of Jeb Stuart, Fred Chappell's spoof on Southern fascination with lineage, and Flannery O'Connor's satirical look at Civil War exploitation in the "new" South.

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