Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War

By Tony Horwitz

National Bestseller 

When prize-winning conflict correspondent Tony Horwitz leaves the battlefields of Bosnia and the center East for a calm nook of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he thinks he is placed struggle zones in the back of him. yet woke up one morning by means of the crackle of musket fireplace, Horwitz starts off submitting front-line dispatches back this time from a conflict with reference to domestic, and to his personal heart.

Propelled through his boyhood ardour for the Civil battle, Horwitz embarks on a look for locations and folks nonetheless held in thrall by means of America's maximum clash. the result's an experience into the soul of the unvanquished South, the place the ghosts of the misplaced reason are resurrected via ritual and remembrance.

In Virginia, Horwitz joins a band of 'hardcore' reenactors who crash-diet to accomplish the hollow-eyed glance of starved Confederates; in Kentucky, he witnesses Klan rallies and demands race warfare sparked by way of the killing of a white guy who brandishes a insurgent flag; at Andersonville, he unearths that the prison's commander, accomplished as a battle legal, is now exalted as a martyr and hero; and within the book's climax, Horwitz takes a marathon trek from Antietam to Gettysburg to Appomattox within the corporation of Robert Lee Hodge, an eccentric pilgrim who dubs their odyssey the 'Civil Wargasm.'

Written with Horwitz's signature mix of humor, heritage, and hard-nosed journalism, Confederates within the Attic brings alive outdated battlefields and new ones 'classrooms, courts, nation bars' the place the previous and the current collide, frequently in explosive methods. Poignant and picaresque, haunting and hilarious, it speaks to an individual who has ever felt interested in the mythic South and to the darkish romance of the Civil struggle.

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Fifteen kilos simply within the final months. I had a pizza the day prior to this yet not anything in any respect this day. ” shedding weight was once a hardcore obsession, a part of the unending quest for authenticity. “If you examine pension documents, you recognize that only a few Civil conflict squaddies weighed greater than 100 thirty-five pounds,” Rob defined. Southern squaddies have been specifically lean. So it used to be each Guardsman’s dream to drop a couple of pants’ sizes and attain the gaunt, hollow-eyed glance of underfed Confederates. Rob had misplaced thirty-five kilos during the last yr, leaving very little meat on his six-foot-two body. Joel, a development employee, had dropped eighty-five kilos, wasting what he known as his “keg legs” and slimming his beer-bellied waist from 40 inches to thirty. “The Civil War’s over, however the conflict of the Bulge by no means ends,” he quipped, providing Rob a Pritikin recipe for skinless breast of chook. regrettably, there has been no food—diet or otherwise—in sight. as an alternative, the Guardsmen puffed at corncob pipes or chewed tobacco, interspersed with swigs from old jugs packed with Miller Lite and rimmed with bits of every other’s burley. Eavesdropping at the chat—about grooming, stitching, hip dimension, honed biceps—I couldn’t aid brooding about if I’d came across a curious homosexual culture within the Piedmont of Virginia. “I’ve obtained a killer recipe for ratatouille. rarely any oil. acquired to drop one other 5 kilos prior to posing for that painter back. He loves small waists on Confederates. ” “Do you think that we must always recruit that beginner who got here to the wood put up? He appears genuine stable, tall and slender. ” “Ask him, ‘Have you were given a Richmond depot jacket? Do you stitch? ’ loads of men glance sturdy firstly yet they don’t be aware of a specific thing approximately jackets and sneakers. ” The slumbering preparations did little to allay my suspicions. As we hiked to our bivouac spot in a moonlit orchard, my breath clouded within the frigid evening air. the skinny wool blanket I’d been issued appeared woefully insufficient, and that i puzzled aloud how we’d steer clear of waking up such as one in every of Rob Hodge’s impressions of the accomplice useless. “Spooning,” Joel stated. “Same as they did within the conflict. ” The Guardsmen stacked their muskets and unfurled floor cloths. “Sardine time,” Joel acknowledged, flopping to the floor and pulling his blanket and coat over his chest. one after the other the others lay down besides, packed shut, as though on a slave send. Feeling awkward, I shuffled to the tip of the clump, mendacity a number of ft from the closest guy. “Spoon correct! ” an individual shouted. every one guy rolled onto his aspect and clutched the fellow beside him. Following go well with, I snuggled my neighbor. a couple of our bodies down, a guy wedged among Joel and Rob started griping. “You men are so thin you don’t supply off any warmth. You’re simply sucking it out of me! ” After fifteen mins, anyone shouted “spoon left! ” and the pack rolled over. Now my again used to be hot yet my entrance used to be uncovered to the chilliness air. i used to be within the “anchor” place, my neighbor defined, the coldest spot in a Civil conflict spoon. Famished and half-frozen, i started fantasizing in regards to the campfire stew I’d naively regarded ahead to.

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