Twenty-first-century controversies over Confederate monuments attest to the enduring significance of our nineteenth-century Civil War. As Lincoln knew, the meaning of America itself depends on how we understand that fratricidal struggle.
As soon as the Army of Northern Virginia laid down its arms at Appomattox, a group of Confederate officers took up their pens to refight the war for the history books. They composed a new narrative—the Myth of the Lost Cause—seeking to ennoble the sacrifice and defeat of the South, which popular historians in the twentieth century would perpetuate. Unfortunately, that myth would distort the historical imagination of Americans, north and south, for 150 years.
In this balanced and compelling correction of the historical record, Edward Bonekemper helps us understand the Myth of the Lost Cause and its effect on the social and political controversies that are still important to all Americans.
About the Author
Edward H. Bonekemper III was an adjunct lecturer on military history at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, an attorney for the U.S. government, and the book review editor of Civil War News. He wrote many books on the Civil War, including Ulysses S. Grant: A Victor Not a Butcher, Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian, Lincoln and Grant: The Westerners Who Won the Civil War, The Myth of the Lost Cause: Why the South Fought the Civil War and Why the North Won, and The 10 Biggest Civil War Blunders.