A century and a half after the Civil War, Americans are still dealing with the legacies of the conflict and Reconstruction, including the many myths and legends spawned by these events. The Long Reconstruction: The Post-Civil War South in History, Film, and Memory brings together history and popular culture to explore how the events of this era have been remembered.
Looking at popular cinema across the last hundred years, The Long Reconstruction uncovers central themes in the history of Reconstruction, including violence and terrorism; the experiences of African Americans and those of women and children; the Lost Cause ideology; and the economic reconstruction of the American South.
Analyzing influential films such as The Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind, as well as more recent efforts such as Cold Mountain and Lincoln, the authors show how the myths surrounding Reconstruction have impacted American culture.
This engaging book is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of Reconstruction, historical memory, and popular culture.
Frank J. Wetta is Lecturer, Department of History, and Senior Fellow, Center for History, Politics, and Policy, Kean University. He is the author of The Louisiana Scalawags: Politics, Race, and Terrorism during the Civil War and Reconstitution (2012). Martin A. Novelli is Professor of Film, History, and Humanities at Ocean County College, New Jersey. He also teaches film history at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia.
Chronology 1. "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down": Constructing Reconstruction History 2. Lincoln "Unmurdered": Reconstruction Alternatives and Counterfactuals 3. "Let's Make a Start": Women and Reconstruction 4. "Sunshine Headin' My Way": Memories of Reconstruction in Black and White 5. Wilkes & Kennedy, Inc.: War and the Destruction of the Old Order 6. "I Am Vengeful and I Shall Not Sleep": The Civil War and the Legacy of Violence during Reconstruction 7. "A Gallant Soldier and a Christian Gentleman": The Reconciliation of North and South 8. The Princess of the Moon: The Lost Cause and the Unfinished Civil War