November 18, 2010

Reading About Reenactors

Not too long ago I read Last of the Dixie Heroes by Peter Abrahams. (Actually, I listened to the audio book version.) Anyway, it was a novel about a man who got involved in Civil War reenacting and wound up in an exciting adventure. Some readers don't like it because it does not portray reenacting accurately, but it is clearly a fantasy so that didn't bother me.

If you want to read a journalist's look at reenactors, try Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz. This book made a serious reenactor named Robert Lee Hodge somewhat famous - my picture of Hodge gets a lot of hits as a result.

I notice that a number of folks who reviewed Horwitz's book on Amazon
took offense at his suggesting that the Civil War was fought over slavery. Southerners get upset over this because they don't want to equate their ancestors with slaveholders, and the majority of southerners did not own slaves. I think there is a middle ground on this argument: let's admit that the war would not have started at that time if slavery were not an issue, but most soldiers did not fight either to defend or to oppose slavery. There is a difference between what motivated individuals and what was an underlying political cause.
I took these photos at last month's Battle of Cedar Creek in Middletown.

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