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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
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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
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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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. Marshall answers that question as succinctly as I have ever seen it stated:
"For many Kentucky whites, who had traded their loyalty to the Union in return for protection of slave property, black enlistment (in the Federal Army) was the ultimate blow, the final realization that the Union cause had evolved and was no longer their own."
In other words Emancipation caused a majority of White Kentuckians to switch their sympathies from the Union to the Confederacy but only AFTER it was too late to have a material impact on the course of the war. Kentuckians were also annoyed by the heavy-handed administrations of its Union Military Governors, but Emancipation is clearly the fundamental factor that alienated them.
The most important conclusion I drew from this book is that President Lincoln was exactly right in his timing of the Emancipation Proclamation. If he had issued it during early 1862 Kentucky would most likely have entered the Confederacy during Bragg's invasion in September 1862 and the Union cause may have unraveled. This book makes it clear that maintaining White hegemony over Blacks was the primary political interest of Kentuckians during and after the war. As soon as their hegemony was broken White Kentuckians began to identify with the Confederacy.
This book also hints at the importance of African-Americans in Kentucky. The book states that 40,000 Black Kentuckians enlisted in the Federal armies and many more labored as civilians in the railroads and ports. Thus, African-Americans accounted for much of Kentucky's Union war effort.
Those were the important points that expanded my education about Kentucky during and after the Civil War. Here are some other things I liked:
* The writing is lucid and the length of the book is right. The breath of material is wide but there is no useless filler. Every paragraph is interesting.
* There are no hidden agendas. It is a deeply researched factual account that doesn't have any ideological or revisionist axes to grind. It is always a comfort to read this kind of book when so many these days are written by people aligned with outrageously bogus revisionist agendas that make a mockery of the Civil War era and the people who lived through it. This book lets the facts speak for themselves.
* It captures the feeling of postwar melancholy. After the war Kentucky became the step-child of the Union --- a loyal state that somehow wasn't loyal enough. Coincident with the war the political and economic center of the United States shifted toward the emerging Northeastern and Midwestern industrial centers, leaving Kentucky as a backwater. This was a severe demotion for a state that had played such a prominent role in national politics until 1860.
* It tells how the images of controversial Confederate Kentucky partisans like John Hunt Morgan were rehabilitated by postwar Kentuckians from being "horse thieves and highway robbers" to heroes.
* It tells the entertaining stories of how prominent Kentuckians like colorful newspaper editor Henry Watterson dedicated their lives to creating a mythology of Kentucky as a Southern state with Northern values. Some of the yarns they spun were hilariously exaggerated mischaracterizations of Kentuckians. Maybe they were trying a bit too hard to "spin" an image that really didn't need to be spun. Just let Kentucky be what it is.
This book is an excellent complement to SISTER STATES, ENEMY STATES another well-written book that vividly describes Kentucky's Civil War years. By reading both books you will come away with a thorough understanding of how the Civil War shaped Kentucky both in fact and in mythology right on down to our own time. The human interest story in CREATING A CONFEDERATE KENTUCKY is about how during the past 150 years Kentuckians have spent so much effort inventing stories of what they THINK their ancestors did during the Civil War.
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.