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RALLY ON THE HIGH GROUND: The National Park Service Symposium on the Civil War Paperback – 2001

3.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 103 pages
  • Publisher: Eastern National; First Edition edition (2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888213728
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888213720
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,038,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William P. Vallante on June 22, 2015
Format: Paperback
As one-sided a book as one can get on one of America's most important events. And yes, I did read the book "cover to cover" so to speak, (it's available online for free and I would never pay money for this kind of drivel). When I was young there were always two sides to nearly every historical story. There's only one side presented in this book, which, by the way is nothing more than the transcript of a seminar of the same name held in 2000. For anyone looking for a book that actually treats this historical period objectively and addresses all relevant issues I would recommend Avery Craven's "The Coming of the Civil War," which is available through Amazon and was written in 1942, in a time when historians still believed that there was two sides to a story.
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Format: Paperback
This is an intelligent and important collection of pieces by a group of thoughtful and eminent scholars--David Blight, Ed Linenthal, Drew Gilpin Faust, Jim Horton, Jim McPherson, Eric Foner. It's not surprising that the Park Service's "Rally on the High Ground" effort has rattled some cages among people with an investment in older patterns of interpretation at Civil War battlefields--it was, in fact, explicitly designed to rethink and to change those older patterns, but to do so in a considered way that draws on the best of current scholarship about the war. This collection gives a good overview of historical thinking on the subject among this generation of historians, and challenges us to see these battlefield sites in a much broader perspective than has traditionally been done.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book originated with some report language that Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) inserted into a Department of Interior appropriations bill. Jackson and his staff had toured over 20 Civil War battlefields managed by the National Park Service, and noticed that these sites did not explain what the soldiers were fighting about. Most notably, the sites did not mention the issue of slavery as a cause of the Civil War. Jackson's insertion in the bill directed the NPS to study putting these battlefields into a wider context.

The NPS commissioned experts to write a report, and invited a group of eminent historians (and Rep. Jackson) to a symposium at Ford's Theater. This book consists of the conference proceedings. The project was clearly taken over by the historians, who used it to ruminate on the history of the Civil War, its causes and its consequences. Such ruminations are worth doing but they are done abundantly elsewhere. Many of the speakers are eminent, well-known historians who are summarizing themes from their books.

The symposium (and book) would have been more distinctive theme if it had looked more directly at would have been how the National Park Service interprets specific Civil War sites, and how it might do that better. The book includes the full texts of the question-and-answer sessions at the symposium, which are interesting. These discussions engage directly question of interpretation, and illuminate what NPS staff are thinking. The questions to Rep. Jackson were mostly hostile but polite, as NPS staff didn't like having Congress tell them what to do. The questions to other speakers were more friendly, along the lines of "how can we integrate your knowledge into our interpretation?
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