Sarah Vowell, author of, among others, Assasination Vacation and The Partly-Cloudy Patriot, both funny and thought-provoking looks at history and politics, once said, “I think about the Civil War every day.” I often think about her thinking about the Civil War when I contemplate my own fascination with the subject, and what better time to have such thoughts than during the sesquicentennial years of those epic events, with next year bringing the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
I think my favorite book about the Civil War(along with McPherson’s epic “Battle Cry of Freedom“) has to be Confederates in the Attic, by Tony Horwitz. The intrepid author explores the new South in search of the old – and his findings are instructive, amusing, at times horrifying, but always engaging. He marches with Civil War re-enactors, bushwhacks through snake-infested undergrowth in search of forgotten monuments, dares small-town biker bars to interview locals, and attends Sons of Confederate Veteran’s meetings, along with traipsing through battlefields from Manassas to the Wilderness. It is a great read.
Tony Horwitz has written a new book about John Brown, called Midnight Rising, and is actually in Chelmsford tomorrow in a joint appearance with this wife and fellow-author Geraldine Brooks, whose novel March, imagines the story of the Father in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. This event will be held at Chelmsford High School, tomorrow, May 12th, at 11:00 am.