Pickett's charge in history and memory

Front Cover
University of North Carolina Press, 1997 - History - 285 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.

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Review: Pickett's Charge in History and Memory (Civil War America)

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

Review: Pickett's Charge in History and Memory (Civil War America)

User Review  - Steve Wolfe - Goodreads

Very good book on Pickett's charge. Very good - almost intricate detail. I particularly appreciated the fog of war discussion at the beginning - very refreshing for the author to position the book in ... Read full review


Disconnected Threads
Binding the Wounds of War
Monuments to Memory

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About the author (1997)

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