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.


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.


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.


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.