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Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know about the Civil War
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Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know about the Civil War

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  58 ratings  ·  12 reviews
More than 60,000 books have been published on the Civil War. Most Americans, though, get their ideas about the war--why it was fought, what was won, what was lost--from movies, television, and other popular media. Renowned Civil War historian Gary Gallagher guides readers through the stories told in recent film and art, showing how they have both reflected and influenced t ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 474 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by University of North Carolina Press (first published 2008)
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I heard Dr. Gallagher speak at a symposium on "New Perspectives on the American Civil War" ( His summary of this book made me eager to read it.

Full disclosure: although I went to school in California and Ohio, I was raised with a distinctly Southern take on what I was taught to call the War between the States. I was a teenager before I learned that one could say "Yankee" without a preceding "damn"--and we weren't talking about the baseball team. Maintai
Steven Peterson
I have reviewed quite a few Civil War books before. This is another of the genre--but with an interesting difference. This is not so much about the conduct of the war itself as about how Hollywood and popular art have treated the Civil War and how their portrayals might be related to what people know about the Civil War. The methodology of this study is pretty straightforward: Gallagher explores a limited number of movies about the conflict--from "Birth of a Nation" and "Gone with the Wind" to " ...more
Keith Parrish
Generally good review of how the Civil War has been treated in movies and popular art. Gallagher focuses on four themes that seem to be the most prevalent in popular art - The Southern Lost Cause, Emancipation, Reconciliation between North and South, and the North's fight for Union. He comes to the conclusion that the South predominates the public perception of the War and that the motives of the North in fighting of the war have been obscured in the media and thus in the minds of the general pu ...more
I really expected to like this little book more, and parts of it are really fun and fascinating. But those are the parts that I had seen the movies he was writing about -- otherwise, (or lots of the other movies he writes about) so I was a bit lost and skimmed through several parts. I've never seen "Birth of a Nation," but if you have, you would probably enjoy this book. It sure made me think about and enjoy Gone with the Wind and Cold Mountain more!

Having said that, since it's written for a gen
If you do not already have interest in the movies or the War, there is nothing I could say that would change that. The middle third is where the real film analysis takes place and explores some of the lesser discussed works from both mid-century and today. You may want to spend time in the first section to refresh your War knowledge in order to understand the authors' themes, which include Lost Cause, Preserve the Union, Emancipation, Reconciliation, and the like. The last 2 chapters shift atten ...more
Prof. Gallagher provides an excellent summary of what I have found to be an interesting (and disturbing) phenomenon - the disappearance of the preservation of the Union as a motivating force for the North in the Civil War and the continuing prevalence of elements of the "Lost Cause" view and negative portrayals of Federal soldiers - and idealistic portrayals of Confederate ones - in film and in art. Having recently visited three Civil War sites with my children, and observed the National Park Se ...more
This book presents an even-handed and entertaining account of the way the Civil War appears in Hollywood movies and visual art. Focusing most specifically on the last twenty years, Gallagher identifies four responses to the Civil War (Lost Cause, Unionist, Emancipation, and Reconciliation) and tracks Hollywood's increasingly Emancipationist films in contrast to Lost Cause visual art. He concludes that the most remarkable aspect of the nation's memory of the Civil War is its disregard of the stro ...more
Quite an interesting book! I may never watch a Civil War movie again without thinking of Gallagher! I'm very excited for him to lead our group's battlefield tour of Gettysburg.
It was ok, but more scholarly than I wanted right now, which is what I think my problem was with it. I just wasn't in the mood for this type of book, hence, I didn't finish it.
Ben Rothman
Really interesting book about how movies shape public opinion about the Civil War and even demand for certain Civil War-themed artwork.
Jj Kwashnak
Good overview as to how we remember the Civil War in popular culture (popular art and movies).
Mark Cheathem
Good book. I liked his categorizing of the various pop culture interpretations of the Civil War.
Chad marked it as to-read
Mar 01, 2015
Marie Torchia
Marie Torchia marked it as to-read
Jan 04, 2015
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Nov 17, 2014
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Gary W. Gallagher, the John L. Nau III Professor of History at the University of Virginia, is the author or editor of many books in the field of Civil War history, including The Confederate War; Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know about the Civil War; and The Union War.

More about Gary W. Gallagher...
The Confederate War: How Popular Will, Nationalism, and Military Strategy Could Not Stave Off Defeat The Union War The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History The American Civil War (Great Courses, #885) The Wilderness Campaign

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