Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Aug 18, 2010 - History - 432 pages
7 Reviews
National Bestseller†

For all who remain intrigued by the legacy of the Civil War -- reenactors, battlefield visitors, Confederate descendants and other Southerners, history fans, students of current racial conflicts, and more -- this ten-state adventure is part travelogue, part social commentary and always good-humored. “Splendid.” –Roy Blount, Jr., The New York Times Book Review

When prize-winning war correspondent Tony Horwitz leaves the battlefields of Bosnia and the Middle East for a peaceful corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he thinks he's put war zones behind him. But awakened one morning by the crackle of musket fire, Horwitz starts filing front-line dispatches again this time from a war close to home, and to his own heart.

Propelled by his boyhood passion for the Civil War, Horwitz embarks on a search for places and people still held in thrall by America's greatest conflict. The result is an adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where the ghosts of the Lost Cause are resurrected through ritual and remembrance.

In Virginia, Horwitz joins a band of 'hardcore' reenactors who crash-diet to achieve the hollow-eyed look of starved Confederates; in Kentucky, he witnesses Klan rallies and calls for race war sparked by the killing of a white man who brandishes a rebel flag; at Andersonville, he finds that the prison's commander, executed as a war criminal, is now exalted as a martyr and hero; and in the book's climax, Horwitz takes a marathon trek from Antietam to Gettysburg to Appomattox in the company of Robert Lee Hodge, an eccentric pilgrim who dubs their odyssey the 'Civil Wargasm.'

Written with Horwitz's signature blend of humor, history, and hard-nosed journalism, Confederates in the Attic brings alive old battlefields and new ones 'classrooms, courts, country bars' where the past and the present collide, often in explosive ways. Poignant and picaresque, haunting and hilarious, it speaks to anyone who has ever felt drawn to the mythic South and to the dark romance of the Civil War.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rsairs - LibraryThing

I've read several of Hortwitz's books. I enjoyed this one and found it informative, but I don't have a natural fascination with the subject. I lived in Alabama for 13 years, and so in a way this book ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AlisonLea - LibraryThing

This is my favorite book (so far) of the summer of 2008! Portrait of 90s America through the lens of the ever-troubled relationship between North and South, black and white, past and present. Funny ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Tony Horwitz is the author of One for the Road and of the best-selling Baghdad Without a Map. A senior writer for The Wall Street Journal and winner of the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, he has also written for The New Yorker and Harper's, among other publications. He lives with his wife and son in Virginia.


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