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Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation (Littlefield History of the Civil War Era) [Kindle Edition]

Caroline E. Janney
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

As early as 1865, survivors of the Civil War were acutely aware that people were purposefully shaping what would be remembered about the war and what would be omitted from the historical record. In Remembering the Civil War, Caroline E. Janney examines how the war generation--men and women, black and white, Unionists and Confederates--crafted and protected their memories of the nation's greatest conflict. Janney maintains that the participants never fully embraced the reconciliation so famously represented in handshakes across stone walls. Instead, both Union and Confederate veterans, and most especially their respective women's organizations, clung tenaciously to their own causes well into the twentieth century.
Janney explores the subtle yet important differences between reunion and reconciliation and argues that the Unionist and Emancipationist memories of the war never completely gave way to the story Confederates told. She challenges the idea that white northerners and southerners salved their war wounds through shared ideas about race and shows that debates about slavery often proved to be among the most powerful obstacles to reconciliation.

Editorial Reviews


"The first comprehensive reassessment of Civil War memory."--West Virginia History

"[A] sweeping and provocative reinterpretation."--Journal of Southern History

"Remembering the Civil War is a remarkable achievement. The volume's chronological breadth, persuasive arguments, and diversity of perspective deliver an engaging read and promise its historiographical longevity."--Georgia Historical Quarterly</

"Janney has significantly extended our understanding of memory and reconciliation (or lack thereof) and the anger and pain associated with forgiveness that resonated from the most cataclysmic event in U.S. history."--Journal of American History

"Janney's Remembering the Civil War is an ambitious book that makes a bold argument, taking on the dominant themes in the growing historical field of Civil War memory."--Annals of Iowa

"A beautifully written and superbly researched book."--Public Historian

"Janney emphasizes, as do other scholars of remembrance, that the memory of Civil War and Reconstruction was not merely an exercise in nostalgia. Rather, these memories had major policy implications."--American Historical Review

"This perceptive study should caution those who have embraced the reconciliationist interpretation to proceed with discernment."--Civil War Monitor

"[This] revisionist study argues that the Lost Cause mythology and rush to reconciliation was much less pervasive than previously thought."--Civil War Times

"It deserves its place as a leading work in the historiography on war and memory."--North Carolina Historical Review

"Remembering the Civil War offers important insights and demonstrates without a doubt that memory studies are far from exhausted. Whether a readership beyond the academy that continues to embrace reconciliation--as evidenced by the ongoing Civil War 150th commemoration--has yet to be seen."--Virginia Magazine

"A book that will be useful to scholars and casual readers for many years to come."--Civil War Book Review

"Splendidly written. . . . Recommended. All levels/libraries."

Book Description

"Thought-provoking. Janney engages with the important question of just how prevalent the culture of reconciliation was when it came to understanding the meaning and legacy of the Civil War."--Nina Silber, Boston University

Product Details

  • File Size: 1741 KB
  • Print Length: 463 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1469607069
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (June 3, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CZ9BRS8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #576,949 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Examining the complex topic of how we remember July 17, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When you look through material on the end of the Civil War, usually there will be a coda showing clasping of hands between former enemies at one of the reunions on the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and for many people this vision of reunion is the what they know about how the nation reacted and tried to "heal" in the years following Appomattox. Many people, especially the federal government seemed to want that vision of reconciliation to dominate and endure. The truth, however, was different. Caroline Janney delves into the more complex truth of the era between the Civil War and the subsequent 50 plus years afterwards. Recent scholarship has taken a harder look at how we remember the war and how the memories were shaped, rewritten and nudged into the still fractured message we hear today. Most notable among these is David Blight's "Race and Reunion" which Janney uses as a launching point for several chapters. But she goes beyond this work, and others, to try and mine new understandings of remembrance. The subtitle is "Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation" and this nicely summarizes her thesis - contrary to what many authors have written, the postwar era say reunion, but for many who lived through the era there was no ground for reconciliation. That the nation would, as far as they are concerned, remain two nations, grudgingly, made one again. Janney looks at various schools of thought on the war - emancipation and union, lost cause, slavery - and looks at how the message and actions of participants helped form, and belie the message of the Civil War. If the adage is that "history is written by the victors" the south tried it's best to make sure this didn't happen. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Did The Country Truly Reconcile After the Civil War? August 19, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This insightful volume contains a wealth of information, but the text nevertheless keeps moving and therefore retains a high interest level for a truly complex topic. Ms. Janney has provided a deepened understanding not only of post-civil war America, but makes it clear that true, heart-felt reconciliation was a nearly impossible task.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book April 11, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Fantastic book! Janney truly captures the great divide between the North and South in post reconstruction america. Would love to read this book again.
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0 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They treat people right! January 22, 2014
By Rory
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Their customer service went above and beyond. I was blown out of the water by how quickly and efficiently my problem was solved! I will be a repeat customer for sure.
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0 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remember the Civil War December 31, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Haven't read it yet but have looked it over and it looks and from what I've have spot read it sound great.
Looking forward to reading.
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