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Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War  
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Confederates in the Attic
Author Tony Horwitz
Country 22x20px United States
Language English
Genre(s) Historical, Non-fiction
Publisher Pantheon
Publication date March 3, 1998
Media type Print (Hardback and Paperback)
Pages 432 pp
ISBN 067975833X

Confederates in the Attic is a work of non-fiction by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tony Horwitz. Horwitz explores his deep interest in the American Civil War and investigates America's lingering ties to a war that ended more than 130 years previous.

Among the experiences Horwitz has in the book:

  • his first day with hardcore reenactors, led by Robert Lee Hodge, a particularly hardcore reenactor (who would also be featured on the cover of the book), who in real life was a waiter.[1]
  • Lee-Jackson Day in North Carolina
  • Touring Charleston, South Carolina, including Fort Sumter National Monument
  • A Union soldier on a monument celebrating Confederates in Kingstree, South Carolina
  • The aftermath of the murder of Michael Westerman, a Todd County, Kentucky man murdered by a gunshot fired from a car containing black teenagers, for having a Confederate flag on the back of his pickup truck
  • A reenactment of the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia
  • A visit with Shelby Foote, who had recently become famous by appearing in Ken Burns's Civil War documentary
  • Visiting Shiloh National Military Park during the anniversary of the battle.
  • Exploring the "truth" about Gone with the Wind
  • Visiting Andersonville National Historic Site
  • Touring Vicksburg, Mississippi
  • Going on Robert Hodge's "Civil Wargasm", a week-long journey to various battle sites in Virginia and beyond, remaining in authentic uniform and sleeping on the battlefields
  • An off-and-on chat with Alberta Martin, believed at the time to be the last widow of a Confederate soldier still alive.
  • Confederate heritage in Selma, Alabama

When published, Confederates in the Attic became a bestseller in the United States. The New York Times described it as intellectually honest and humorous, saying Horwitz seemed uncomfortable placed between two sides, seeking peace between the factions.[2][3]

Toward the end of the chapter which focuses on Alberta Martin, Horwitz claims that Martin's Confederate husband was a deserter. In response, in 1998 the Southern Legal Resource Center sued Horwitz on Martin's behalf, with encouragement from the Sons of Confederate Veterans, revealing that there were two other William Martins in the same company as Alberta's husband. In addition, the SLRC claimed that Horwitz had ridiculed her in his book.[4][5]

In 2000 the University of North Carolina's Chapel Hill campus added Confederates in the Attic to their freshman reading list.[2][6]

References[]

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