Eric Foner’s review on David Blight’s book shows how history can be presented in a different light. Not only did I find the review intriguing, but shocking and remarkable. We’ve been taught to read history books as though all truths lie within those 800 pages. It is true that the year 1861 sparked the beginning of the American Civil War, but for what reason? The “emancipationalist” side would say that it was to revive the nation that held the qualities of freedom and equality. On the other hand, the “reconciliationist” side would dismiss that thought and “invent” a memory, saying the Confederacy had suffered under “Negro rule.” Not once did any of my history textbooks tell me this and I certainly learned something new from this review. Anyone can benefit from reading this, because it gives elaborate details on the turning point of American history.
David Blight certainly liked this book because he explains the post-Civil War in a seemingly enthusiastic tone. He gives examples here and there, supporting the “American memory.” Historical memories are crucial, because it gives us insight on a particular time in history and help fill in gaps and ambiguities. Not all historical memories are recounted the same because it can be “constructed,” whether based on personal preferences or feelings. However, everyone shouldn’t judge a historical memory as fake and meddled around with; the truth can be lying within.