As the American Civil War recedes into the past, popular fascination continues to rise. Once a matter that chiefly concerned veterans, separately organized North and South, who gathered to refight old battles and to memorialize the heroes and victims of war, the Civil War has gradually become part of a collective heritage.
Issues raised by the war, including its causes and consequences, reverberate through contemporary society. Family and community connections with the war exist everywhere, as do battlefields, memorials, and other physical reminders of the conflict. We, as Americans, are fascinated by the sheer magnitude of the war fought over thousands of miles of American soil and resulting in awesome casualties. It was a gigantic national drama enacted by people who seem both contemporary and remote.
Here for the first time, leading Civil War scholars gather to sort out the fact and fiction of our collective memories. Contributors include Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark E. Neely, Jr., Alan T. Nolan, John Y. Simon, James I. "Bud" Robertson, Jr., Gary W. Gallagher, Joseph T. Glatthaar, and Ervin L. Jordan, Jr.