Review: Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War

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Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War
Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Anything with the word “Pulitzer” on the cover is generally a safe bet when it comes to books you’ve never heard of. I picked up this well-regarded travelogue when bulking up on civil war fodder, and it did not disappoint. In fact, I got far more than I bargained for. I was expecting a fly-on-the-wall, war correspondent style dive into the world of civil war reenactors, and several chapters were exactly that. But the author delves so much deeper. Horwitz spent several years traveling the south visiting sons & daughters of confederate veterans, sites of controversial riots, murders, rebel flag spats, and monuments. This amalgam, presented in clear, regimented, one-chapter-one-topic format, does a good job initiating one into the world of the “occupied south.” Some of the unfiltered testimony, the extreme voices of the lost cause and racial enmity are difficult to read. Horwitz doesn’t editorialize; he presents these voices plainly, right alongside those of “liberal confederates” who make annual pilgrimages in great-great grandfathers’ war regalia to relive battlefields.

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Victor A. Davis has always loved reading and writing short stories. He is an avid hiker and even when away from the world of laptops and wifi, keeps a pocket paperback and a handwritten journal to keep him company on trail. He is the author of two short story collections, Grains of Sand and The Gingerbread Collection. Join his Mailing List for special announcements about upcoming works.