Cover image for Beyond the battlefield : race, memory & the American Civil War
Beyond the battlefield : race, memory & the American Civil War
Blight, David W.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xi, 301 pages ; 24 cm
Introduction: the confluence of history and memory -- Pt. I: Preludes -- Several lives in one : Frederick Douglass's autobiographical art -- They knew what time it was : African Americans and the coming of the Civil War -- No desperate hero : manhood and freedom in a Union soldier's experience -- Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass : a relationship in language, politics, and memory -- Pt. II: Problems in civil war memory -- "For something beyond the battlefield" : Frederick Douglass and the struggle for the memory of the Civil War -- Quarrel forgotten or a revolution remembered? : reunion and race in the memory of the Civil War, 1875-1913 -- Shaw Memorial in the landscape of Civil War memory -- Healing and history : battlefields and the problem of Civil War memory -- Fifty years of freedom : the memory of emancipation at the Civil War semicentennial, 1911-1915 -- Homer with a camera, our Iliad without the aftermath : Ken Burns's dialogue with historians -- Pt. III: Postludes -- W.E.B. Du Bois and the struggle for American historical memory -- In retrospect : Nathan Irvin Huggins, the art of history, and the irony of the American dream -- Epilogue : the riddle of collective memory and the American Civil War

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E468.9 .B57 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



During the past decade and a half, scholars have increasingly addressed the relationship of history and memory. Among American historians, David W. Blight has been a pioneer in the field of memory studies, especially on the problems of slavery, race, and the Civil War. In this collection of essays, Blight examines the meanings embedded in the causes, course, and consequences of the Civil War, the nature of changing approaches to African American history, and the significance of race in the ways Americans, North and South, black and white, developed historical memories of the nation's most divisive event.

The book as a whole demonstrates several ways to probe the history of memory, to understand how and why groups of Americans have constructed versions of the past in the service of contemporary social needs. Topics range from the writing and thought of Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. Du Bois to a comparison of Abraham Lincoln and Douglass on the level of language and memory. The volume also includes a compelling study of the values of a single Union soldier, an analysis of Ken Burns's PBS series The Civil War, and a retrospective treatment of the distinguished African American historian Nathan I. Huggins.

Taken together, these lucidly written pieces offer a thoroughgoing assessment of the stakes of Civil War memory and their consequences for American race relations. Beyond the Battlefield demonstrates not only why we should preserve and study our Civil War battlefields, but also why we should lift our vision above those landscapes and ponder all the unfinished questions of healing and justice, of racial harmony and disharmony, that still bedevil our society and our historicalimagination.