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Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War

by Tony Horwitz

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,696683,815 (4.11)300
Propelled by his boyhood passion for the Civil War, Horwitz embarks on a search for places and people still held in thrall by America's greatest conflict. The result is an adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where the ghosts of the Lost Cause are resurrected through ritual and remembrance. He joins "hardcore" reenactors; witnesses Klan rallies and calls for race war; finds that Andersonville Prison's commander, executed as a war criminal, is now exalted as a martyr and hero; and takes a marathon trek from Antietam to Gettysburg to Appomattox in the company of an eccentric pilgrim. Written with Horwitz's signature blend of humor, history, and hard-nosed journalism, this book brings alive old battlefields and new ones--classrooms, courts, country bars--where the past and the present collide, often in explosive ways.--From publisher description.… (more)
  1. 30
    Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt (Leigh22)
    Leigh22: Different subject matter but it tells the story of the new South using anecdotes and speckled with Southern history trivia.
  2. 30
    Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson (lquilter)
    lquilter: Jon Ronson's "Them" and Tony Horwitz's "Confederates in the Attic" both offer wry, personal observations of cultures, not their own, often derided by others.
  3. 10
    Have a Nice Doomsday: Why Millions of Americans Are Looking Forward to the End of the World by Nicholas Guyatt (infiniteletters)
  4. 10
    A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World by Tony Horwitz (John_Vaughan)
  5. 10
    Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory by David W. Blight (Anonymous user)
  6. 10
    Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War by Tony Horwitz (John_Vaughan)
  7. 00
    The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History by Jill Lepore (Othemts)
  8. 00
    Elvis Presley Boulevard: From Sea to Shining Sea, Almost (Traveler) by Mark Winegardner (amyblue)
  9. 00
    Ghost Riders by Sharyn McCrumb (myshelves)
    myshelves: Novel. The ghosts of those who fought the bitter neighbor-against-neighbor battles of the Civil War in isolated areas where loyalties were divided have not been laid to rest.
  10. 00
    Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before by Tony Horwitz (John_Vaughan)
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» See also 300 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
Not bad at all. I just couldn't get into it. A few chapters on the topic were enough for me.
  JustZelma | Dec 20, 2020 |
From Novelist: A journalist leads readers on a journey through the Old South, tangling with the forces of white rage, rebel grit, and regional pride in places where the Civil War is more than a memory.
  mackfuma | Oct 17, 2020 |
A few years ago I went on a tour in Dalton GA which went around to various places associated with the Great Locomotive Chase. I got the feeling from one of the tour guides that for her, the Civil war was still going on. I am not a civil war buff but I was curious, being a transplanted yankee in the South since 1961, to learn more about people's attitudes toward the war. I started this book by looking up some of the places that I had been to or wanted to go to, and the section on Andersonville, GA, was where I started, After that, I continued with the next couple chapters, and finally went back and started at the beginning and read the whole book. I read it over a period of a month or more, and it held my interest the whole time. I asked a friend who is much more interested in the Civil War than I am, and he said it was boring, but then he was raised in the south.

What I got from the book is that opinions about the war are all over the place, depending on who you ask. There are enough people who care deeply about it and its consequences that it will never go away. ( )
  Mapguy314 | Apr 26, 2020 |
What a book! What a writer! I picked up the book after hearing a few people in the bookstore mention this book after I purchased his latest book as a present for my spouse. They said this book was "transformative". What I found most fascinating now, being in the era of Trump, is Horwitz's interviews in the mid 1990's with people I would call "pre-Trumpers". It illuminated how the base of 45 was in the making for decades. I didn't know much about the Civil War and the topic was not on my radar, but Horwitz held my attention. He has a unique and engaging way to write about the South, the War, and the cast of characters who make their life's work about keeping the legacy of their forefathers alive. Bravo! ( )
1 vote ilovemycat1 | Oct 10, 2019 |
Subtitled "Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War". I picked this up thinking it was just about Civil War reenactors and tourists, but its so much more. Horwitz goes on a tour of the Southern states to see how the Civil War and its aftermath are still affecting people. A lot of it exposes deep seated resentments and institutional racism. It also shows that we are still having the same battles today that we were having 20 years ago when it was written; should the Confederate flag still fly, should statues of Confederate heroes still be on display, what revisionist history is still being taught - do today's (then or now) truly know why the war was fought? Oh and he does go on a crash tour of the war's battle fields with a reenactor who takes reenacting to an extreme bordering on insane. Its well worth your time. I'll let these quotes speak for themselves...

We were raised Methodists, but we converted to the Confederacy. There wasn't time for both.

Mostly, though, the fort attracted ordinary tourists, many of whom possessed a muddled grasp of American history. Visitors often asked McGill why he didn't mention the "Star-Spangled Banner". He had to explain that the national anthem was composed during the shelling of a different fort in a different conflict. Others asked whether it was true that John Brown fired the first shot at the fort. "One guy even asked me why so many Civil War battles were fought on national parks." McGill said.

Guthrie exhaled the depleted air of a thousand other towns across the back-country South, bypassed by the interstate and drained of vitality by decades of migration to the city.

Everywhere, it seemed, I had to explore two pasts and two presents; one white, one black, separate and unreconcilable. The past had poisoned the present and the present, in turn, now poisoned remembrance of things past.

I was born in 1921 and was raised up with segregation and separate water fountains. It was stupid now that I think of it. All these signs saying 'white' and 'colored' when most people couldn't even read.

9/10

S: 4/18/19 - 5/8/19 (21 Days) ( )
1 vote mahsdad | May 18, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
Nostalgia tinges ''Confederates in the Attic'' but seldom. One of the ironies of this book is that Horwitz is clearly a deep-dyed peace seeker. His judiciously balanced sympathies make him uncomfortable at times, caught between two camps fighting over turf. He longs for roots in the land. What he has is roots in intellectual honesty.
added by John_Vaughan | editNY Times, Roy Blount Jr (Jul 18, 1998)
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tony Horwitzprimary authorall editionscalculated
Addison, ArthurNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Southerners are very strange about the war.

-- Shelby Foote
Dedication
To my father
who gave me the passion,
and to my mother
who gave me the paint
First words
In 1965, a century after Appomattox, the Civil War began for me at a musty apartment in New Haven, Connecticut.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Propelled by his boyhood passion for the Civil War, Horwitz embarks on a search for places and people still held in thrall by America's greatest conflict. The result is an adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where the ghosts of the Lost Cause are resurrected through ritual and remembrance. He joins "hardcore" reenactors; witnesses Klan rallies and calls for race war; finds that Andersonville Prison's commander, executed as a war criminal, is now exalted as a martyr and hero; and takes a marathon trek from Antietam to Gettysburg to Appomattox in the company of an eccentric pilgrim. Written with Horwitz's signature blend of humor, history, and hard-nosed journalism, this book brings alive old battlefields and new ones--classrooms, courts, country bars--where the past and the present collide, often in explosive ways.--From publisher description.

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Book description
Tony Horwitz, a former war correspondent, tells of his journeys to Civil War battlefields and the colorful people he meets along the way.
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