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Creating a Confederate Kentucky: The Lost Cause and Civil War Memory in a Border State (Civil War America) Hardcover – December 1, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


An intelligent narrative. . . . The author writes well and is easy to read. . . . A valuable and serious history of the development of Confederate memory in Kentucky and in America. . . . An excellent book for any student of Reconstruction, the process of reconciliation or the years after the Civil War.--TOCWOC: A Civil War Blog

Marshall's book is beautifully written and truly a pleasure to read.--Journal of Southern History

An interesting, informative book. It helps clarify the experiences of many of us who grew up in Kentucky. . . . The book has set a new standard.--The Kentucky Civil War Bugle

Examines all sides of Kentucky's Union-Confederate postwar dialogue. . . . [A] thoughtful, carefully researched and plausibly presented historical study, illustrated with a handful of vintage black-and-white photographs. Highly recommended.--Midwest Book Review

Marshall has crafted an easily read, easily comprehensible scholarly volume. Recommended. All levels/libraries.--Choice

By enriching our understanding of the ways Confederate Kentuckians, white Unionists, and African Americans interpreted the state's participation in the Civil War, Marshall also sheds significant light on the processes through which competing interests claim ownership of history.--The Journal of American History

Marshall has illuminated an important and understudied aspect of how a border region simultaneously departed from and reflected broader patterns of memory. Marshall's excellent study will refine our understanding of how contested and unpredictable memory was and continues to be.--The American Historical Review

Rather than focusing exclusively on postwar political and economic factors, Creating a Confederate Kentucky looks over the longer term at Kentuckians' activities . . . by which they commemorated the Civil War and fixed the state's remembrance of it for sixty years following the conflict. . . . Will be a nice addition to your Confederate/Kentucky library shelf. . . . Excellent.--Lone Star Book Review

Ideal for a range of scholars . . . . A pleasure to read.-- Journal of Historical Geography

A must read for all Civil War historians.--Journal of NC Association of Historians

Marshall's book is a good read, and it will be of much interest to those seeking a better understanding not only of Kentucky's key role in the 1860s, but also of how all of us have remembered the war ever since.--Blue & Gray Magazine

Anne Marshall's Creating a Confederate Kentucky alters the entire field of Civil War memory study….[It] is a masterful work of scholarship. Its prose is lucid; its research is thorough; and its interpretative power is truly ground-breaking.--Civil War Book Review

An excellent book: tightly argued, richly detailed, and elegantly written. It is a model of what a state study can do, showing the importance of not just race, but also place, to the story of the Lost Cause.--Civil War Monitor

Creating a Confederate Kentucky is a welcome addition to the study of post-Civil War Kentucky. . . . Those who teach the history of Kentucky and of the Civil War and Reconstruction will find this book a valuable addition to their reading lists.--Journal of the Civil War Era


In this much-anticipated volume, Anne E. Marshall offers a definitive answer to the conundrum of why white Kentuckians manufactured a false Confederate past after the Civil War. It is both a significant contribution to studies of memory and a major milestone in the history of the Bluegrass State.--Kenneth W. Noe, author of Reluctant Rebels: The Confederates Who Joined the Army after 1861

A fresh, readable, insightful look at postwar memory, Creating a Confederate Kentucky shows how a state with bitterly divided wartime loyalties fought a long postwar conflict with itself, one that produces a disconnect between history and memory. It is a riveting, revealing story that tells us much about not only that world but our own as well.--James C. Klotter, the state historian of Kentucky and professor of history, Georgetown College


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Product Details

  • Series: Civil War America
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1st New edition edition (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080783436X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807834367
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,783,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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Kentucky was arguably THE pivotal state in the Civil War. It was the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, and Henry Clay, the "Great Compromiser." At the outset of the war Kentucky elected a pro-Union legislature that prevented the secessionist governor from taking the state out of the Union and thereby encouraging Maryland and Missouri to follow suit. During the war prominent Kentuckians filled President Lincoln's cabinet, reassuring Border State residents that Lincoln was not their enemy. Kentuckians refused to rally to the Confederate cause when Braxton Bragg's Confederate Army occupied most of the state.

Thus it may be fairly said that the Confederacy's back was broken in Kentucky.

Yet as soon as the war ended influential Kentuckians embraced the Southern causes of States Rights (i.e. "keep the Negroes in their place") to such an extent that most Kentuckians came to see their state as having been a keystone of the Confederacy instead of the other way around. A few years after the war a Kentucky Unionist lamented: "A consistently loyal man in Kentucky, is of all men most miserable,--persecuted, trodden under foot, hooted at by rampant rebels--And disowned & Cast off--by the government, he hazarded all to Support--he finds no security, no ray of hope Anywhere--It is a political mystery if not iniquity, that a triumphant government, should exalt its enemies--and abase its friends--This is a Strange Conclusion to a Triumphant war."

So why DID Kentucky repudiate the Confederacy during the war only to embrace it after it had been defeated? Dr.
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Format: Hardcover
E. Merton Coulter said Kentucky "waited until after the war was over to secede from the Union." In Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know about the Civil War Garry W. Gallagher looks at secession 150 years after the war. This book documents the process and reasons for Kentucky becoming a Confederate state in popular memory. In the process, the reader gains an understanding of how the South lost the war but won the peace.
Kentucky is a badly divided Border State in 1861. With strong ties to both sides, politically the state makes no choice. Kentuckians follow their heart in choosing sides, even as events force Kentucky into the Union ranks. This is never a comfortable fit for the state or the Union. The Emancipation Proclamation is not applicable in Kentucky. After the war, slavery is still legal and people are slaves. Reconstruction is not necessary in a state that never seceded. An army of occupation does not protect people working for the Freeman's Bureau. Black men, who enlisted in the USCT and their families, are free but the law offers little protection. Many Whites that supported the Union did not do so to destroy slavery and feel betrayed. Many ex-Confederates are welcomed home and have their civil rights restored as if nothing happened. With so many tensions, Kentucky is a powder keg.
The author documents the explosion in Kentucky and the resulting development of a Confederate memory. In the process, we see post war America and the development of reconciliation. This is not an easy process filled with high-minded people acting with the best of motivates. This is a bloody, violent era where factions struggle for advantage and in some cases survival.
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Format: Hardcover
Creating a Confederate Kentucky: The Lost Cause and Civil War Memory in a Border State tells of how the state of Kentucky retained strong ties to the Confederacy, even though Kentucky never seceded from the Union and more Kentucky citizens ostensibly fought for the North than for the South. After the Civil War, the people of Kentucky rallied to Democratic politics, and the racial violence and Jim Crow laws strongly associated with former Confederate states took root in Kentucky soil. Creating a Confederate Kentucky examines all sides of Kentucky's Union-Confederate postwar dialogue, from political and economic motivations to what the Kentucky people's activities (public memorial ceremonies, dedications of monuments, veterans organizations' events, and more) revealed about their motivations and drives. Chapters tell of Kentucky sentiments from 1792 up through 1935 in this thoughtful, carefully researched and plausibly presented historical study, illustrated with a handful of vintage black-and-white photographs. Highly recommended, especially for Kentucky state history shelves.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Ann Marshall's CREATING A CONFEDERATE KENTUCKY is a well written and well researched book. It points out the deception used by President Lincoln in order to keep the border states from seceeding. Lincoln's famous quote that to lose Kentucky would be to lose it all reveals the importance he gave to the state of his birth. The constant promise that the best way to protect slavery was to stay in the Union turned out to be a deception for the slaveowners in the Commonwealth. Dr. Marshall plays heavily on this deception, revealing how this angered many Unionists in Kentucky when they realized they had been deceived. They rightly felt betrayed. Unfortunately, the author does not play enough on the importance of the war crimes of General Stephen Burbridge, who was the military governor of Kentucky in the later months of the conflict. His cruelty turned the stomachs of even the staunchist Unionists in the state. The result was a Kentucky characterized by lawlessness and bitterness after the war. Anarchy reigned, as former Confederates were voted into many of the most important positions in the commonwealth's government.

The treatment of the contradictions in Union policy is clearly revealed in her treatment of Camp Nelson. This is a book which will interest many students of the Civil War or Reconstruction. While it goes well beyond 1877 in its treatment of a state in crisis, it will certainly prove a fascinating read for fellow Kentuckians.

Doug Lippman
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