which is the truth

After reading the review of “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory”, the book sounds interesting to me. Author, David Blight mentions that there are different memories about Civil War caused by the political motivation. For instance, in “emancipationist view, the war is bringing a rebirth of the republic in the name of freedom and equality, but reconciliationist memory is to emphasize what the two sides shared in common”. He says that “race” is an important fact for politician to modify the truth of Civil war in American memories and illuminate that the history we learned is a bias made of the ‘winer’. Therefore, I think reading the book will benefit to everyone.
The other example is Nanjing Massacre. This is a sad memory for everyone. 18 September 1937, Japanese invaded Nanjing. Japanese soldiers raped and killed 300,000 Chinese civilians during one week. Those soldiers played a game that is who kill most Chinese people and treat Chinese people lower than animals. As a result, Chinese government makes Nanjing Massacre as national disgrace and every Chinese people learn the history when they were kids. However, this unhumanized action of Nanjing Massacre was denied by the Japanese government. They stop teaching the history and eliminate the truth on textbook. Additionally, Japanese officials worship the war murders as heroes. Now, Nanjing Massacre still is a controversy between Chinese and Japanese governments.


Some events is not over

Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. By David W. Blight. I think this book is very interesting because it brings history back to what happened in the Civil War. It refreshes people memory, what we learned in the history class. But just read the review, we can found a lot detail that we did not learn in the class. So this is very good book to read if you want to know more about the Civil War. Everyone can benefit from the reading because the civil war was the most divisive war in the American history. Most American died in this war than in any other.  So people can get more detail in the book. This book review shows that race is very important part of the civil war, I think  African –Americans  should treated equal than white, because they are sacrificed their live just like white people, they are also the hero of the America too.

The one of example remembered in many different ways is Nanjing Massacre. As a Chinese; this is first thing come to my mind. On December 13, 1937, during this period, hundreds of the Chinese civilians and disarmed solider were murdered and 20000-80000 women were raped by solider of the Japanese army. This is terrible thing in the Chinese history.  People in that time, like live in the hell, people worried their will die soon, or their family. After short time, Japanese government try to clean up this history, they are pretending no things happen. So this never mention in Japanese textbooks.


Forgive, but never forget

David Blight’s new book, “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory”, talks about political motivation behind the different history memories of the American Civil War. This topic gets my attention immediately since I have experienced something similar myself. Being a Korean Chinese, I learned both Chinese and Korean History. One thing they have in common is that both countries suffered deeply from Japanese invasion early this century. Generations after the invasion, however, students of these three countries have a very different idea towards the war.

Once I had a conversation about history war with one of my Japanese friends. He insisted that the invasion of Korea was to help the Korean people since that’s what he was taught at school. He said the occupation of Korea and part of China was just an ‘expansion’, was to build ‘a better East Asian.’ For me, my history textbook talks about how Japanese army killed Chinese in the number of millions.

Just like explained in the “Race and Reunion,” some Japanese want to gain their political influence by changing the way to remember the war, portraying their criminal ancestors as heroes. Textbook has power to reinforcement an ethnic community and be proud of one’s country. People distort history to make young generation feel proud while they are learning “great” commitments their ancestor did.

To be fare, I don’t think they are the only one who remembers history politically motivated. Korean and Chinese governments emphasize the killing to remind their people that, as bad as the governments can be, they are way better than the foreign invaders.



Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall


Things Remembered

The book sounds pretty interesting to me. In the book review, Eric Foner says, “‘Race and Reunion’ is the most comprehensive and insightful study of the memory of the Civil War yet to appear.” It gives a lot of information to people who get to know Civil War history straight forward from text books. As a foreign student, I would be one of them. Before coming to the Unites State, I’ve only read about Civil War from the text books when I was in school, I only knew that Civil War was about Americans from the north and south fighting over slavery and trades. However, I could get more details and facts from many other books like Race and Reunion.

The book uses Civil war as an example to emphasize how important historical memories are. Eric Font indicates that Blight has used some historical events to debate what happened during some other historical events. For example, “The origins of the reconciliationist memory, Blight argues, can be traced to debates during Reconstruction, when Republicans made a commitment to legal and political equality for the former slaves and then abandoned it in the face of violent opposition from the white South and a Northern retreat from the ideal of equality.”Eric Foner also uses the examples in the book tells us to view historical events (like Civil War) by different angles and ways.

Talking about similar examples, as a Chinese, the first thing come to my mind is the Nanjing Massacre. It was probably one of the cruelest massacres against humanity in recent history.  In this event, an estimate of three hundred thousand Chinese civilians and disarmed soldiers were murdered and 20,000 women were raped by soldiers of the imperial Japanese Army in the city of Nanjing, during the years of 1937-1938. The massacre also involves political elements; some Japanese nationalists argue the massacre was fabricated.  While the Japanese government has records of the number of casualties after Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, the Nanjing massacre perpetrated by them seems to be a forgotten issue. The exact number of killed Chinese civilians will never be disclosed as evidence was destroyed shortly after the Japanese surrender to the invasion war. Historical facts remember the massacre, while political manipulations try to clean it from the record.