- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: The History Press; First Edition edition (April 6, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1596293977
- ISBN-13: 978-1596293977
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,205,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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No Holier Spot of Ground:: Confederate Monuments & Cemeteries of South Carolina Paperback – April 6, 2009
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About the Author
Kristina Dunn Johnson serves as curator of history at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum. She has also worked as the education coordinator for the Historic Columbia Foundation. During the summers of 2002, 2003 and 2004, she worked as a historical interpretation park ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park. She was a contributing writer to Forward Together: South Carolinians in the Great War, also published by The History Press, and has had several articles related to the Civil War published.
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Top customer reviews
A clear shift in the nature of monuments followed the change in national mood towards the end of the 19th Century, with a nation united against foreign enemies, first in the Spanish-American War and then the Great War. The type of monuments we chose to honor our dead reflected the prevailing social climate at that time. The poses of the soldiers and the language placed on monuments changed--- from mourning the dead, to vindication of the Lost Cause, and then shifted again.
Chapter 4 tells of a Federal Cemetery that included Confederate graves, the first to do so. Beaufort was laid out with the help of the local townspeople, including gardeners and horticulturists, and reflects what we would now call a modern design. African-American Federal troops and also Confederate burial sections were included, in an effort towards a national reconciliation.
We read about the Fort Mill monument to the faithful slaves who served the Confederacy, and other unusual monuments.
Her wit comes through in places--like in describing the long-awaited SC monument at Gettysburg-- some saw it more as a monument to the SC Confederate Centennial Commission, as it listed only names of those members, not any Confederates. She tells of a mistaken Yankee atop a Confederate SC monument, and shortly thereafter, a Confederate discovered on a Maine soldier's monument! Each town chose to keep their "captured" soldier.
When I finished the book, I wished for more. Perhaps a comparison of South Carolina's memorializations to those of other Southern states, or to Northern states, or those of other wars, and in other countries. In Leipzig one may visit the largest monument in Europe-- the Völkerschlachtdenkmal, 91 meters high. To the 1813 Battle of the Nations, where it took 10 months to bury the dead. A very different monument, but not only in size, than those in Johnson's book.
Historian Kristina Dunn Johnson shows herself a worthy disciple of her mentor, Dr. Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, in this volume. Far more than an overview of South Carolina's assorted Confederate monuments and cemeteries, this book uses the physical record of Southern memorialization to illustrate important insights into wartime and postwar Southern society.
Like Fox-Genovese, Johnson does not hide from the darker threads of Southern history - yet she writes with empathy and recognition of the cultural strengths of the South. Her description of the role of Confederate monuments in national reconciliation is quite convincing, and her relation of specific examples often compelling. Her keen sense for the dramatic illustrative moment draws the reader in and, in the hackneyed phrase, "brings history to life" - or perhaps more appropriately, reflecting the words of some of the monuments themselves, "breathes life into" the people who so carefully and deliberately recorded their losses, values and aspirations in our monuments.
"This is not alone a labor of love, it is a work of duty as well," declared the Southern Memorial Association about its mission. In this book, too, love for the people - and a sense of duty to the complex history - of the South, shines clear.