Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era Hardcover – August 22, 2011
"The Black Presidency"
Rated by Vanity Fair as one of our most lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today, this book is a provocative and lively look into the meaning of America's first black presidency. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Truly a tour de force… intellectual history and criticism at the highest level, told with passion and artistry. (Fitzhugh Brundage, author of The Southern Past)
Perceptive, eloquent, and timely, Blight's book should find a wide and appreciative audience. (Gary Gallagher, author of The Union War)
Blight's elegant narrative enables us to see the full, enduring, significance of the Civil War in the consciousness of four major writers. An outstanding achievement. (Caryl Phillips, author of Dancing in the Dark)
The Civil War has given us not only great history, literature, and art, but also great works of thought. David Blight enriches this canon by probing the war's power to haunt and inspire every generation. American Oracle is intellectual history at its best—deep terrain, mined by a scholar who brings gems to the page. (Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic)
During the middle decades of the twentieth century the United States faced a dual challenge—of civility and memory, each one race-related. David Blight develops deep biographical links to connect and explain those troubled years, and does so with eloquence. He thereby adds a brilliant new aspect to the field of American memory studies. (Michael Kammen, Newton C. Farr Professor of American History and Culture (Emeritus) at Cornell University and Past President of the Organization of American Historians)
This is a distinctive addition to the books about the Civil War and how we view it on the conflict's 150th anniversary. (Publishers Weekly 2011-06-27)
As the sesquicentennial of the Civil War (2011–15) begins, historian Blight examines how we handled the centennial, which occurred at the infancy of the civil rights movement, and the persistent questioning about all the elements that were at the heart of the nation-rending civil conflict. History and great literature blend beautifully as Blight conducts his examination of the works of four writers--Robert Penn Warren, southern-born novelist; Bruce Catton, historian and journalist; Edmund Wilson, literary critic; and James Baldwin, northern-born essayist and race critic--providing background and context for their works and their views of the centennial and all its commercialism and hypocrisy. From their different perspectives, the four offer "a way of understanding the Civil War both as something very American and as an event in a larger human drama." Blight explores Warren's straightforward look at the racism at the heart of the war and the continued hypocrisy of southern commemorations, Catton's cold-eyed examination of the cost of war, Wilson's deconstruction of the war as a unifier of the nation, and Baldwin's chastisement of American racism. Throughout, Blight explores the mythology that came out of the Civil War and the sense of American redemption that did not include any examination of the tragedies of racism and slavery. (Vanessa Bush Booklist (starred review) 2011-09-15)
David W. Blight's richly interpretive American Oracle contextualizes the sentimentalized celebration of the Civil War in the early 1960s within the tense realities of the civil rights era and the Cold War. Blight unravels the complexities of Civil War memory and meaning at a time when most white Americans considered restoration of the Union, not emancipation, as the war's grand result. (John David Smith Charlotte Observer 2011-09-25)
This book is several things, suggests Blight, but he hits it best when he characterizes it as a "discussion of four Americans in search of their country's history." In doing so, he gives us more than a history lesson: he presents an introspective journey into America's most complex and enigmatic historical event through the minds of four exceptional storytellers. He offers us the opportunity to revisit a monumental tragedy and thereby invites us to probe its meaning. If we do, we will not only be reacquainted with a defining American moment but we will also learn more about who America is, and why. (James T. Crouse Times Higher Education 2011-11-10)
David Blight has written a searching and suggestive book. (Andrew Delbanco New York Review of Books 2012-02-09)
Overall a valuable contribution to historical understanding. (D. Schaefer Choice 2012-02-01)
About the Author
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
This one is loaded. An entertaining and educational look at the memory of the CW as seen by four literary "giants", with their views analysed, dissected, and clarified by Blight. I loved it!