The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History critically (and, at times, acerbically) assesses the origins of views such as those expressed by the Sons. Coedited by Gary W. Gallagher and Alan T. Nolan, the book consists of nine essays that probe various aspects of the Confederate mystique and its enduring appeal. Nolan sets the tone in the lead chapter, presenting a point-by-point rebuttal of the major tenets of the Lost Cause creed and denouncing it as, in essence, a fallacious alibi concocted and promulgated by men who had led the slave states into a futile, disastrous rebellion. Gallagher sustains this argument by emphasizing the postwar role of Jubal A. Early, a second-rate and oft-defeated Confederate officer, in elevating the military reputations of fellow Virginians Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. ("Stonewall") Jackson to idolatrous heights -- while at the same time unjustly denigrating the Union's ultimate success as the triumph of numbers over valor, of brutal attrition over tactical skill.
May 28th, 2015
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