My weekly column at Takimag is up, title: Climbing Mount Appomattox. It’s a kind of progress report on my attempt to get acquainted with the American Civil War.
More a howl of despair, actually. What a lot there is to read!
Not an inch of Civil War ground has been left untilled. I had no idea until reading Foote that the war was fought as far west as New Mexico. It was, and there’s a (short) shelf of books about that.
There are not just military histories, but social, political, judicial, and diplomatic histories, at least one moral history, and even a culinary history. There are books about why the south lost and books about how the north won. There are books devoted to particular years, months, and days. There are books covering short stretches of time during which, in the beginner’s mental map of the war, nothing happened.
History is written only by the victors? Not in the case of the Civil War . . .
Read the whole thing at Taki's Magazine.