Confederates in the Attic Essay

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Confederates in the Attic

As Tony Horwitz illustrates in Confederates in the Attic, the Civil War is far from over. Horwitz, determined to find the answers to this conflict, treks through the South, seeking to explain man's longtime obsession with a war that divided the nation. Talking to historians and Civil War reenactors of all kinds, he finds that people are still divided today when it comes to the war and present issues in society. He collects a vast amount of data, which proves to make things very difficult in drawing a general conclusion. Horwitz learns how differently the south views the war, discovers the way in which people use history to suit their own needs, and explores issues of race. Horwitz begins his
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It seems that each individual has developed his or her own take on the Civil War. The question is, have people taken the creation of a fantasy world to an extreme? This extreme fairy tale world is presented at the beginning of Horwitz journey, as we meet Robert Hodge and rest of his "hardcore" friends. These men live and breathe the Civil War, devoting their lives to reenacting battles and the lives of those who fought in the war. Hodge is notorious for his ability to imitate a dead, bloated Civil War corpse. He is encouraged to show everyone his "bloating," working hard to stay in character all the time. The men take pride in losing excessive amounts of weight and following the ways of Civil War soldiers to an extreme. In a way, it can be said that these men use the war to suit their own needs in the present. Some reenactors avoid the issue of slavery all together, recreating and romanticizing battles to fulfill their Civil War obsession. While many of the men respect and honor the history they reenact, some use is as a way to elude the past and rearrange the present. Horwitz meets a park historian named Stacey Allen, who says that every generation since the war has appeared to have a different view of the battle. Allen said the veterans themselves used more of a Victorian prose, citing and sacrifice rather than death and injury. The next generation didn't go much into
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