David Blight

History is consisted of many different issues throughout the years. One of the many, important events taken place was the civil rights. Although there have been many books, documentaries describing the event, David Blight has his own take on it with his book   Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. What is perceived  in the book, illustrates some of the main and important issues that some people forget to discuss in detail with, such as how the civil war brought equality. What I liked about his book is that David seemed very honest. He went straight to the struggling points during the civil war and explained them in full details.   He also states President Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address when he spoke of the war as bringing a rebirth of the republic in the name of freedom and equality. The reasoning for David to include this statement from President Lincoln is that to show the civil war brought freedom and equality to the society. He manages to tell people that the cause for the civil war event reunited society as a whole.


Propaganda loves history

The  “Race and Reunion” by D. Blight  does seem quite interesting to me for several reasons. Firstly, it would be very informative, as not much do I know about the Civil War, and, according to Foner, this is “is the most comprehensive and insightful study of the memory of the Civil War”. Secondly, the book is touching upon the subject that is very relevant to me. As a person who grew up in Russia and now lives in the US, the two opposite poles of the Cold War World, I have been exposed to the two interpretations of history, at times completely different. So I am particularly interested in the subject of information wars, as I have witnessed and felt its consequences.  One great example would be the World War II and the controversy over the question “who won the war?”, or who contributed the most to the victory over Hitler. Most Americans think that undoubtedly U.S.A did, and every single Russian believes it was the USSR, including myself. I also think that the memories about the WWII in the US have undergone similar “treatment” to which the reconciliationists subjected the memories about the Civil War. In particular omissions and underplays of important facts and events. And off course informational wars in one way or another are always tied up to the political battle for electorate, and the first and foremost subject of any propaganda is history.


“Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin. “

The David Blight book sound very interesting because it sound like a different book that’s not only expressing different views but also questioning them. Its a book about the story behind a story. I think that anyone reading the book will benefit from it because they might learn something new and change their perspective on what really happened during the Civil war. From the reading the book review I realized that memory is a very important part of history. For example, before books history was passed down from generation to generation through stories that were  told from memory.

I believe that all shared experiences are remembered in different ways. For example, the war in Vietnam. Some people might say that the war was justified but others will say that it was  not only a waste of money and time but many lives were lost unnecessarily. Also, one can say that the war in Vietnam was worth it because it showed that the US was not a force to be reckoned with.  The war in Vietnam was politically motivated because it was during the time of the Cold War. During that time there was a lot of political tension between the communist and democratic countries.

Afterthoughts:One of the main points of the book review is there are different memories of the Civil War. In these memories some facts were suppressed and others facts were turned simply into something that couldn’t be further from the truth. Since “memory is a product of history” is history just simply a figment of our imagination since its building blocks are made up?

Title is a quote from Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams.



Every so often, a piece of information comes along that, for whatever reason, triggers my interest in a manner just slightly different than the rest of the nonsense that floats by my mind day in and day out. From the looks of it, Eric Foner’s review of David Blight’s “Race and Reunion” very well just may be one of those sparks (whether or not Foner is just that good of a writer… well, that we’ll just have to wait and find out).

I’d never given much thought to the idea that history is so dependent on the memory of whoever writes it, or the extent to which it can be ‘manipulated’ by any particular bais – that, even what we’ve always regarded as fact can also have 2 (or more) sides to the story. What I found to be the clearest example of this was when Foner writes of the “Ironies”, that, “Abounded in the triumph of the reconciliationist outlook.” Particularly that, “Even Memorial Day, which had begun in 1865 when thousands of black South Carolinians laid flowers on the graves of Union soldiers, soon became an occasion for expressions of white nationalism and reconciliation.”

As far as I can see from this review, Blight seems to portray quite strongly the idea that History really is only as true as the memory of those who win the battle of having their side of the story brought to, believed, and accepted by the masses; and that may just be what it was about this review that seemed to spark my interest.

-C. Salama


Epitome of History

David Blight’s book sounds very interesting to me.  I feel that if I open David Blight’s book I will be open to many different opinions as opposed to just the truth.  One of the things that caught my own is when Blight claims that History is written by the people who won the war.  This quote made me believe that everything I read in highschool was written by a biased opinion and this novel contains the truth about history and what happend behind closed doors.  I believe this book is good for anyone who is interested in history or for someone who is open minded enough to hear the other side of the story and not just the usual stuff you learn in class.

The book review informs us that history needs to be written down in order for it to pass down in a truthful manner.  As I mentioned earlier, many things we learn in History are biased and are written down by the people who were victorious.  Blight explains that history makes the loser seem sort of like “the villain.”

An example of history that is remembered in many different ways is the war in Gaza between Israel and the Arabs.  Many people who heard about the conflict from news stations such as CNN would believe that Israel had no right to defend itself, however many people would understand the situation and see that Hamas was launching Missiles into Israel at least 60 times a day.  Today there are still many opinions regarding this conflict.

Different memories are politically motivated an example of this is World War 2. The Germans believed they were right while back in the U.S. Americans believe they had a right to join the war.


bloodshed in the backyard

Eric Foner’s book review of David W. Bligh’s Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory paints a picture of a very captivating and refreshingly unbiased rehash of Civil War.  There are not only just two sides to a story, there are always three.  Your side, my side and the truth.  It is apparent that in David Bligh’s  publication he has taken everyone’s opinion and beliefs into account.   Anyone that would like to learn more about the Civil War and how different and colorfully portrayed one single event could take a lot from this book.

Memory from a first hand witness can be a great primary source.  Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to not write with an ‘angry pen’ when that source has been enveloped in a traumatic events.  This is why it is extremely important to take on the testimonial of many people.  Personally Civil War history has never appealed to me but I think that after reading the praising review I would read this book for enjoyment of knowledge, not as a task.

This book has also shown how obvious it is that historical memory is crucial.  Not only does it actually tell the tale of the affair, it also shows how that tale can change over the passing of time.  As the saying goes, “Time heals all wounds.”  Weather this is true or not, I’m not sure but I do know that time always helps.  In more recent memory, a similar situation occurred during last year’s salmonella outbreak.  A class action lawsuit was filed over some rotten eggs.  Proper inspection procedure were failed to be met causing some 1’500 to become fall ill.  Some people didn’t care enough to follow the story, some people vaguely even knew about it and some people became so sick, they’ll probably never eat eggs again.  Naturally, people of different cultures, nations and upbringings have different morals and values in life.  This is where it becomes a historian’s job to sift through the diverse array of information and find the more homogeneous story.


An Untold tale

Minorities have never had a voice. Or at least one loud enough to be heard over the mainstream opinion. For David Blight to write a book and dig deep enough to uncover the other side of the civil War story is something I’d personally be interested in. Everyone would benefit from reading this book because it would crumble the biases encountered from only reading and learning a one sided history textbook.

Historical Memory is important because it is what gives us the shape of the story. Of course there is a straightforward encounter of important events that happened in history, but when you collect the memories it is a more personal and in depth account.

Everything is politcally motived. Politics are apart of every aspect of history because there is always an agenda behind something. Two sides fight to get their way, or work towards a comprimise. A republican might see the history of gay rights as negative propoganda mean while democratics would see it more so as positive.


Perception lies in the Eye of the Beholder

History is taught through the factual texts of written documents. In most cases, we often only learn about why it started and the outcome of each event, but the stories that each person carries are often left unspoken.  In the book Race and Reunion by David Blight it exemplifies the many different views that people instilled from the Civil War. In this particular case, the segregation of races construct each race’s own perception of the Civil War. This book review plays an importance on the role of historical memory because only through the pain or gratification of those people lives who have been greatly affected can manifest the truth from these events.

An example where history is remember in different ways is the Rape of Nanking.  There were perceptions of western indifference and Japanese denial of the massacre ranging from  claims that the massacre was overly exaggerated or wholly fabricated for propaganda purposes. In Japan, the japanese youth are taught about the courageous martyrs who fought a just war, while in China the mourns for this tragedy still prevails today. The controversies still exists but the Nanking massacre had undoubtedly emerged as a fundamental foundation for the construction of modern Chinese national identity.


History is Memory.

In the review of David Blight’s “Race and Reunion,” Eric Foner brings to light the interesting and unique aspects of the book, setting it apart from other books written about the Civil War. However, personally while I feel that I would be interested as to see for myself why exactly Foner believes that Blight’s book is worth reading and why it stands out from all the rest, I feel as if I wouldn’t enjoy it. Although it is certain that there is much I do not know regarding the Civil War because you can only learn so much from reading a couple of textbooks, I feel as though, from the way it is presented in this review, that I would not be able to view it as literature, but rather as a textbook.

From this review, I have learned that memory is what makes up a large part of history. Without memory, we would not know as much about our history as we do today. However, what is tricky about this fact is that lots of times, memory can be subjective or incomplete. Granted, historians do not rely on only one source but rather a plethora of sources so as to see what matches up and can be considered valid and certain. Memories can definitely be politically motivated. Many moments in history are caused from political distress or events. A relevant example to this article is the Civil War itself. Those who took sides had to have some political motivation that lead them to make that decision. Politics is a huge part of society also, it is only natural that it can affect everyone when discussing a national conflict.



There are always different vision of stories as they are told, nevertheless the same goes for the Civil War. Through the lens of the New York Times, we are able to understand the abbreviate content of the text “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American History” by David Blight. After reading the review I was able to understand the authors perspective of the Civil War, and how it was remembered by others. The way of how history are recorded varies from different authors, and that strongly connects to the authors background. If the author is an oppressed lower class man, he would have a much differ view from an upper class man.

An example of  a shared memory that is remembered in many different ways was the Presidential election of Barack Obama. The first African American as the President of the United States. To the Caucasians, this might have made them feel a little odd. In the other hand this was a glorious day to the colored people. The book sounds quite interesting because the author gathered multiple size of peoples understanding of the war. The book review would most likely benefit students or scholars that are interested in a brief summary of the textbook itself.


To face the fact

After reading David Blight book, I found that was quite interesting to me because I always doubted that the actuality of history, especially the long past history, someone might falsify the truth but we didn’t know. In David Blight book he revealed the people who were forgotten by us was like discovering the truth, so it was quite interesting to me. Also I think everyone might benefit from reading this because we should learn the right history.

The book review tells me the idea that historical memory can be remembered in different way. The examples from the book review are on page 2, during 1870s, some of the Southern publications described slavery as “faithful servants who protected their masters’ property”. The second example is in 1877 after Reconstruction, most of the Northern and Southern whites accepted the Negro rule.

One of the historical memories which were remembered in different way was Nanjing massacre in1937; approximately 300,000 Chinese people were killed by the Japanese soldiers. However, now what the Japanese government trying to do is putting an invented history in their textbook. I think the reason behind this action is the Japanese government tries to fix their bad image which is “cruel murderer”.


Perspectives make history.

What is history? How are events really remembered? These are both questions which are important in understanding what is passed off as history, what is recollected as events important to history, and how they have been recorded. Multiple bias’s reign blogs, textbooks, history resources and also what is communicated through word of mouth. Similarly, Eric Foner’s book exhibits a different perspective of understanding the American Civil War. Race is something which can be understood through the analysis he provides. For anyone who has any background of American history, they are sure to come across the whole discourse of race.

Understanding history is a challenge in itself, because of the multiple ambiguities which may come with any one event. The way it is understood, recalled and narrated further is based on an individual’s background and their personal bias. I have mentioned this before, and the reason for the repetition is solely because it is that important to understand! In most cases oral sources, used as primary sources are the most popular ways of events being recalled and talked about. A very small population of people look into documents, collect research and data to test the validity of a pre-existing opinion or thought. If this is the case, then it becomes even more important to understand what source you are getting your history from. This is because not all sources are legitimate. This book review offers another testable way of coming to know of unique interpretations of one war.

I recall hearing many stories of the 1947 Indian partition from my grandmother and being confused as a child about why and how the British left the country divided. Did they really want to leave newly free and sovereign state in ruins because of cultural and religious differences? Or was it in fact the Indians themselves who forced this separation and violent mass migration upon themselves? Depending on who I approached to understand this event, I was confronted with different views and takes on it.


History Put Into Perspective!!!

History is a very ambiguous subject. Sometimes our knowledge of history isn’t as precise as it could be because often times we only take into account the story from one viewpoint. History is seen through the eyes of not only one person but billions; one thing perceived by one person can be examined differently by another person. In David W. Blight’s book, “Race and Reunion” Blight recounts the importance and historical impacts of the American civil war by comprising his book from the perspective of numerous people in history. This book would be an interesting read for anybody who is fascinated by our nation’s history and would like a broader range of knowledge about the civil war from multiple angles. This book reveals that there are many sides in history to look, not just one story from one side.

Another instance in history where there were multiple sides of the story was in the 19th century, during the Europeans scramble for Africa. Once Africa was an isolated Continent with rigid cliffs on the edge of the continent which created a natural barricade to prevent foreign ships from docking. Even though some parts of Africa were able to become European ports, the thick forest and river currents made it impossible to explore the uncharted continent. It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century when Europeans were able to map out the majority of Africa. Once navigating into Africa became possible there was a rush from most European countries to take control of parts of Africa. The Europeans justified their actions by calling it a mission from god that it was their duty to civilize the savage people (The white man’s burden) while the native Africans were repressed by the Europeans because the Europeans rewrote the map of Africa splitting and mixing up the tribes that have once lived on their land for centuries.


The memory of History we never forget!!!!

David Blight’s “Race and Reunion” sounds very interesting book for me as it is clarifying the actual period of civil war era and what had happened after it. Every event in our life is a part of history. Yes, the book is clarifies the important of historical memory. From reading this book how I understood it was two opinions why the Civil War started: the emancipationists believed that slavery was a cause of the Civil War, but the reconciliationist dismissed this thought and claimed that the Civil War happened because of the disagreement in the state rights. Another example I think when my country had the orange revolution in 2005 because of president. My country is not a rich country and the president was always promised a lot of things to people, but he never did it. He sold some our lands to other countries, made deals with other presidents and all money he put to his pocket. Our president didn’t take care of our people, that’s why people tired of the poor life and promises and they made the revolution. I think different memories are politically motivated because people usually want to have positive thoughts about such figure or such event.


David Blight’s book, “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory” sounds like an interesting book for me after reading the review. I think we can definitely catch up some missing information and hear some different voices of the memories. From the same piece of historical event, the Civil War, the author reveals a different version of history, “the reconciliationist vision.” It can be very interesting because it may not be the same as what we learned in our textbooks.

The true nature of historical memory is that these memories serve their political needs. There is always a one tell us what to remember and what to forget. Today, the version we read of the history may someday be challenged by other political purpose.


War for Nothing, 1 Black still equals to 3/5 Black

In “Race and Reunion: the civil war in American memory,” Civil War is viewed as a war for reunification rather a war for equality.  As Eric Foner mentioned in his review, “rather than the crisis of a nation divided by antagonistic labor systems and ideologies, the war became a tragic conflict that nonetheless accomplished the task of solidifying the nation.”  Although Union army believes in equality for all mankind at the beginning of the war, the ideology behind the war changes after the war broke out.  During the war, there are almost 180,000 African American joined the war and many had died for the cause.  The war ends with Union’s victory.  However, African Americans are still treated unfairly as second class citizen.  Many people see the South’s defeat as defeat on battlefront, but victory in ideology and memory.  Due to such ideology, many African American who fought during the war was totally forgotten after the end of Civil War.

The winner writes the history.  The book contains both Union and confederate’s ideologies for war.  It is interesting to see how the ideology influence both North and South after Civil war.  By reading the book, any reader can have an understanding of Civil War and reasons for war.  Moreover, people can relate the American Civil War with other events in the world.  Being a Chinese, the most unacceptable thing is to hear denials from Japanese officials on World War II invasion.  Many of the Japanese students were educated with the ideology of their invasion during World War II is a holy war to create a greater Asian empire.  Many Asian countries has suffered greatly from the war.  many people are slaughtered like animals to satisfy soldiers’ cruelty.  However, all these negative images are prohibited and twisted in Japanese history due to Japanese Government’s political motivation to justify their mistake.


O’ rly?

After reading the review on David Blight’s book, I can tell that this book would be an informative and an interesting book to read. This book talks about the vast point of views that history can be interpreted. It all depends on how you were taught the piece of information. War history is always written by the winners. Most people don’t realize that there other sides to the story. It is safe to say the victors always portray themselves as doing the justified. I think this book would give insight to others on how history is portrayed and how foolish it would be to only look at one viewpoint of the story.

Let’s take a look at what happened in the American Revolution. To Americans it might feel as though we want to emancipate ourselves from such tyrannical British. To them it could just be them wanting to keep the American colonies and the British in unity as a group.  Looking from different perspectives can change everything. Ultimately, countries like to tell history in showing themselves as holy and justified in every aspect. Therefore history is politically driven as people can retell it as whatever they like.


Let the memory fight against history

The book review “Race and Reunion” by David Blight is an interesting book to me. I used to think that history is always evidence, can not be changed. From the book review I found that about history, is not always entirely “fair”, the memory sometimes might distorted, or even seriously out of shape. The most important inspiration i got from the book review is that historical memory could be politically motivated. I think the book review will benefit to everyone, because it uses Civil war as an example to emphasize that every thing both has two sides,maybe we do not know the facts of history, or not the whole truth of history.

Can you think of another example of a shared experience that is remembered in many different ways? Nanjing Massacre was the first thing that comes to my mind.This is an indelible piece of history. 70 years ago, this is a not many people know the news, Tragic pain of a nation, Another country is a bloody crime;70 years later, when an individual’s memory has become history, When a group also working to conceal the fact,People began to shed tears for those souls away. In Nanjing Massacre, 200,000 or more to more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and prisoners of war were killed by Japanese troops, one third of Nanjing city burned down.But how Japanese textbooks describe invasion of China? They are trying to cover up historical facts. In their textbooks, Nanjing Massacre only 40,000 people got killed, there are some picture shows that Japanese soldier help the Chinese old woman and  Japanese military distribution of candy to Chinese children……


Thats not how I remembered it!

I found David Blight’s book fairly interesting as he tries to introduce a new way to look at past events. There are always two sides to a story and historical events are no different. Take the Civil War for instance. Although the Southerners lost the Civil War, their opinions to the cause of the war greatly differs from the opinions of Northerners. Simply said, people who retell the story of the civil war often include their bias opinions making it difficult to understand the true nature of such an historical event. For example, many white Americans remembered African Americans fighting in the Civil War merely because they were being faithful and loyal to their “masters”. In another person’s mind, the African Americans fought in hopes to end slavery. This new perspective allows readers to scrutinize how history is remembered and how it greatly influences our values on race today. In other words, David Blight’s book may give a unique insight to historians or politics.

Based on Eric Foner’s book review, historical memory plays an important role in politics. Certain periods of time such as the Civil War may have influenced many political decisions. An example would be Abraham Lincoln’s decision to start reconstruction in the south rather than administering punishment.

On December 7th, 1941 the attack on Pearl Harbor shocked many Americans. Many individuals have their own opinions and viewpoints of why such an attack was necessary. Japanese soldiers may have felt this attack was necessary in order to divert the U.S. ‘s attention from other Japanese plans in Asia. It could be possible Japanese politics felt it was time for the U.S. to be involved in WW II. Many Americans probably felt the attack was completely uncalled for, after all the U.S. had not implicitly joined into WW II. Nonetheless, many people have different opinions about the attack on Pearl Harbor and surely some opinions are more tuned to facts than others.



David Blight’s book “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory” basically is a book of collective memory of Americans, Blacks and Whites. Based on Eric Foner’s book review, this book sounds interesting to me because as a person who has never gone through the real war, I really want to know more inside stories of Civil War besides what we have learned from the textbooks. I would recommend this book to people who have gone through the Civil War and who might interesting to know more about the consequences of Civil War from different perspectives.

As Eric Foner says in his book review, “memory is a product of history”. I completely agree with him since that sometimes what people remembered is the consequences of the history. Many historical events were been remembered in so many ways, such as in novels, in monuments and most important it is stored in people’s mind. Historical memory sometimes can reveal things that people usually did not notice. One disadvantage of that is people see things from different perspectives, so it is up to the historian to judge.

The Nanking Massacre which happened in China in 1937 is one of the examples which are remembered in many different ways. The memory of Nanking Massacre reflected in novels, movies, and monuments. I remember my teacher showed us a movie of Nanking Massacre in which it contents many of people’s accounts of what happened in Nanking Massacre.

I think different memories are politically motivated because people usually want to have positive thoughts about such figure or such event; thus, it is very hard to tell whether a person’s account is reliable or not.