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Still Fighting the Civil War

The American South and Southern History

updated edition

400 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / 18 halftones

ebook available

Civil War | Southern History

  Paperback / 9780807152157 / April 2013

In the updated edition of his sweeping narrative on southern history, David Goldfield brings this extensive study into the present with a timely assessment of the unresolved issues surrounding the Civil War’s sesquicentennial commemoration. Traversing a hundred and fifty years of memory, Goldfield confronts the remnants of the American Civil War that survive in the hearts of many of the South’s residents and in the national news headlines of battle flags, racial injustice, and religious conflicts. 

Goldfield candidly discusses how and why white southern men fashioned the myths of the Lost Cause and Redemption out of the Civil War and Reconstruction, and how they shaped a religion to canonize the heroes and deify the events of those fateful years. He also recounts how groups of blacks and white women eventually crafted a different, more inclusive version of southern history and how that new vision competed with more traditional perspectives.
The battle for southern history, and for the South, continues—in museums, public spaces, books, state legislatures, and the minds of southerners. Given the region’s growing economic power and political influence, understanding this struggle takes on national significance. Through an analysis of ideas of history and memory, religion, race, and gender, Still Fighting the Civil War provides us with a better understanding of the South and one another.

David Goldfield is Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the author and editor of sixteen books on the American South, most recently America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, and serves as editor of the LSU Press series Making the Modern South.

Praise for Still Fighting the Civil War

“For the popular culture student of history and culture in general, this book is indispensable. It’s a good read and a good learn. What else does one need?”—Journal of American Culture

“[Goldfield] very effectively and convincingly creates a link between the Civil War and today . . . and convincingly makes his case that Southerners are ‘still fighting the Civil War.’ This book is extremely thought-provoking for Americans north and south.”—Civil War Courier

“With a wonderful eye for the memorable quotation and some graceful prose of his own, Goldfield examines how and why the pervasive myth of the Lost Cause has lasted so long. . . . This valuable book braces us for the long struggle over warring versions of the Civil War and Reconstruction that will continue to vex our body politic.”—Southern Cultures

“This provocative book raises the difficult question of how—and if—Southern history can honor the different, often deeply antithetical experiences of black and white Southerners. . . . Drawing on a wide range of sources as well as contemporary reporting, this deftly written historical analysis takes on a difficult topic with passion, sensitivity and integrity.”—Publishers Weekly

“Goldfield . . . writes with considerable authority and grace, and he is most arresting when dealing with skirmishes in the contemporary South. . . . Throughout, he achieves a kind of double consciousness; a transplant himself, he writes about the region with evident affection and even empathy toward those with whom he profoundly disagrees.”—Journal of American History

“Best known for his splendid scholarship on the urban South, David Goldfield in this work undertakes a different mission: to interpret the post–Civil War history of the South for the benefit of educated general readers. . . . This is an ambitious historical survey worthy of the author's undoubted talents.”—Georgia Historical Quarterly

“[A] well-researched and tightly knit book. . . . For those who read Still Fighting the Civil War completely and with an open mind, Goldfield has provided what he set out to: namely, the foundation for a better understanding of the South, both its history and its present state, and its people. Unfortunately, his book will be underappreciated and misunderstood by many.”—North Carolina Historical Review

“Goldfield's summaries do an admirable job of boiling down complex works to their essence and retelling them in a very readable style without obscuring the arguments at stake. . . . His book certainly has the potential to fulfill its purpose and bring more people in the South beyond the ranks of professional historians into meaningful and helpful discussions of southern history and its hold on the South's present and future.”—H-South

“Goldfield writes with clarity, sympathy, and a talent for the instructive story and quotation. He is the sort of rabbi who thinks the congregation needs to laugh occasionally, if its members are to find their way to enlightenment. His command of the secondary literature is extensive but never pedantic.”—American Historical Review

“At once a thoughtful representation of much recent scholarship on these varied traditions of southern history and an earnest call for mutual understanding.”—Review of Politics

“An engaging history of the contemporary South.”—Virginia Quarterly Review

Extras for Still Fighting the Civil War

VIDEO: David Goldfield talks to the BBC about the Confederate flag's history in South Carolina (skip to about 37:25).

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