- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: University of Georgia Press; 2 edition (October 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0820334251
- ISBN-13: 978-0820334257
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865-1920 2nd Edition
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Destined to be the definitive essay on the relation between religion and southern regional patriotism.(Journal of Southern History)
This interesting and valuable study breaks new ground in Reconstruction and New South history. . . . What makes this volume significant is both the demonstrated usefulness of the theory of civil religion in the hands of a historian and the fresh substantive contribution to the history of the South's tragic experience.(American Historical Review)
Baptized in Blood persuasively details the power of the Lost Cause message as well as suggests the need to speak about the civil religions (plural) of America.(Religious Studies Review)
Wilson has written a fascinating book in which he has demonstrated more forcefully than other historians have that religion played a significant role in perpetuating the Lost Cause.(History: Reviews of New Books)
Previous historians have portrayed most ministers of the region as enthusiastic apostles of industrialization, but Wilson demonstrates Southern evangelicals' lingering, brooding resistance to these changes.(Catholic Historical Review)
An important contribution to a growing body of scholarly literature on civil religion . . . The author's insights are enriched by an obvious grasp of historiography, sociology, and anthropology. Laymen as well as scholars interested in the South and civil religion will want to examine this work.(Journal of Church and State)
This study merits reading not only because it explores the delicate fusion of religious and cultural forces, but also because of the careful research which undergirds its arguments.(Journal of the American Academy of Religion)
If the South cannot escape its history, perhaps it is because it does not want to. Wilson's magnificent book on the religion of the Lost Cause drives that point home forcefully. . . . He skillfully weaves together the strands of thought that produced the Lost Cause and shows that evangelical ministers had a large hand in the process.(Theology Today)
From the Inside Flap
Charles Reagan Wilson documents, for the first time, that for over half a century there existed not one, but two civil religions in the United States, the second not dedicated to honoring the American nation. Extensively researched in primary sources, Baptized in Blood is a significant and well-written study of the South's civil religion, one of two public faiths in America. In his comparison, Wilson finds the Lost Cause offered defeated Southerners a sense of meaning and purpose and special identity as a precarious but distinct culture. Southerners may have abandoned their dream of a separate political nation after Appomattox, but they preserved their cultural identity by blending Christian rhetoric and symbols with the rhetoric and imagery of Confederate tradition.
"Civil religion" has been defined as the religious dimension of a people that enables them to understand a historical experience in transcendent terms. In this light, Wilson explores the role of religion in postbellum southern culture and argues that the profound dislocations of Confederate defeat caused southerners to think in religious terms about the meaning of their unique and tragic experience. The defeat in a war deemed by some as religious in nature threw into question the South's relationship to God; it was interpreted in part as a God-given trial, whereby suffering and pain would lead Southerners to greater virtue and strength and even prepare them for future crusades. From this reflection upon history emerged the civil religion of the Lost Cause. While recent work in southern religious history has focused on the Old South period, Wilson's timely study adds to our developing understanding of the South after the Civil War.
The Lost Cause movement was an organized effort to preserve the memory of the Confederacy. Historians have examined its political, literary, and social aspects, but Wilson uses the concepts of anthropology, sociology, and historiography to unveil the Lost Cause as an authentic expression of religion. The Lost Cause was celebrated and perpetuated with its own rituals, mythology, and theology; as key celebrants of the religion of the Lost Cause, Southern ministers forged it into a religious movement closely related to their own churches. In examining the role of civil religion in the cult of the military, in the New South ideology, and in the spirit of the Lost Cause colleges, as well as in other aspects, Wilson demonstrates effectively how the religion of the Lost Cause became the institutional embodiment of the South's tragic experience.
Top customer reviews
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The book is riveting. The scholarship is meticulous. I could not put it down. I recommend it without reservation to anyone who wants to understand the history of our country.
F. Norman Vickers
But seller is excellent.
Wilson argues that this civil religion was a combination of Christian and Confederate symbols. According to Wilson this civil religion was formed out of Confederate ministers attempts to reconcile defeat in the war with the Will of God and (as the ministers believed) Confederate righteousness.
Significant in this study is Wilson's look at the role that White Supremacy played in this civil religion. He looks extensively at the role of racism as embodied in groups such as the KKK.
All in all, the work is a brilliant look at ideas pervasive in the reconstruction and early modern south, ideas which have been influential in formation of the modern New South.
Baptized in Blood is well worth the reading of anyone who seeks to understand the post-civil war period, and/or the social and political psychology of the American south.