Ghosts of the Confederacy: Defeat, the Lost Cause, and the Emergence of the New South, 1865-1913

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9780195042139: Ghosts of the Confederacy: Defeat, the Lost Cause, and the Emergence of the New South, 1865-1913
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After Lee and Grant met at Appomatox Court House in 1865 to sign the document ending the long and bloody Civil War, the South at last had to face defeat as the dream of a Confederate nation melted into the Lost Cause. Through an examination of memoirs, personal papers, and postwar Confederate rituals such as memorial day observances, monument unveilings, and veterans' reunions, Ghosts of the Confederacy probes into how white southerners adjusted to and interpreted their defeat and explores the cultural implications of a central event in American history. Foster argues that, contrary to southern folklore, southerners actually accepted their loss, rapidly embraced both reunion and a New South, and helped to foster sectional reconciliation and an emerging social order. He traces southerners' fascination with the Lost Cause--showing that it was rooted as much in social tensions resulting from rapid change as it was in the legacy of defeat--and demonstrates that the public celebration of the war helped to make the South a deferential and conservative society. Although the ghosts of the Confederacy still haunted the New South, Foster concludes that they did little to shape behavior in it--white southerners, in celebrating the war, ultimately trivialized its memory, reduced its cultural power, and failed to derive any special wisdom from defeat.

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About the Author:

Gaines M. Foster is at Louisiana State University.

Review:


"This book, of interest to all students of southern history, is also noteworthy for its imaginative blending of cultural and social with political history."--History: Reviews of New Books


"What happened to the South's memory of the Civil War?...The whole process is brilliantly described by Gaines Foster in this fascinating book."--The Atlanta Journal/The Atlanta Constitution


"This may well be the most thoughtful and stimulating book ever written on the myth of the Lost Cause."--Virginia Magazine of History and Biography


"A sophisticated and adventurous new perspective on postwar southern thought."--Journal of Southern History


"An outstanding work that should appeal to anyone whose interest in the Civil War goes beyond the wartime battlefield and into the postwar lives of the Southern participants."--Civil War Times


"On the Lost Cause, none is better than Gaines Foster's new book."--Pennsylvania Magazine of History & Biography


"An extremely important book, one that goes a long way toward untangling the several levels of meaning of the Confederate tradition."--North Carolina Historical Review


"A important and sophisticated analysis....An interpretive and research tour de force."--The Alabama Review


"A most worthwhile study that shows considerable, even exhaustive, research and makes some highly exciting and effective points."--Bertram Wyatt-Brown, University of Florida at Gainesville


"A welcome addition to the historiography of the southern U.S."--Booklist


"A major addition to a growing body of literature that cuts across disciplines to shed light on a central issue in the American experience...[E]xciting and provocative."--Gerald Brauer, University of Chicago


"An exceedingly provocative argument about the intermingling of psychology and piety in America."--E. Brooks Holifield, Emory University


"[An] original, absorbing book...Recommended for every town with a Confederate statue or a United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter and for college libraries everywhere."--Library Journal


"This book traces the rise and fall of the memorialization of the Lost Cause and does so with considerable intelligence. Most welcome is the tone; Foster explores the cult of the Confederacy in a sympathetic yet distinctly sensible voice....The result is a book that illuminates the New South, the Gilded age, and American historical consciousness."--Virginia Quarterly Review


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Foster, Gaines M.
Published by Oxford University Press (1987)
ISBN 10: 0195042131 ISBN 13: 9780195042139
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Foster, Gaines M.
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ISBN 10: 0195042131 ISBN 13: 9780195042139
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