Racial Propaganda

Eric Foner did a wonderful job of making a brave and insightful book sound painstakingly boring. His review was written as a monotonous summary void of any important historical implications that the book itself has. As to the book itself, I would see it as a study into racial propaganda, although neither Foner nor Blight seem to mention or point this out. Blight did a great deed in revisiting Civil War memories, simultaneously reevaluating our modern memories of history. Using “Race and Reunion” as the median, Blight was able to synthesize the past and present, showing us that memories need to be analyzed and studied just as thoroughly as historical evidence, and even more so as memories are more susceptible to alteration.

The book review alludes to the importance of historical memory and how memories may shape history more so than events. Foner showed us that memories were able to push the South’s agenda in a more effective manner than the North’s war victory was able to suppress it. Even to this day there are numerous events, whether it be America’s suppression of Native Americans, or Fascist Germany’s murder of Gypsies, gays, Russians, etc, or America’s invasion into Afghanistan and Iraq, and China’s censorship of Tibet, where memories of people, push personal agendas to the point of blinding us of objective facts. Memories are subjective and as such may very well be politically motivated. Leading me to think that had Blight written a book on historical memories and used the civil war as a chapter in a book full of historical examples of how memories shape history, he would’ve done the world a much greater service.