Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War

Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War

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Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz returned from years of traipsing through war zones as a foreign correspondent only to find that his childhood obsession with the Civil War had caught up with him.

Near his house in Virginia, he happened to encounter people who reenact the Civil War--men who dress up in period costumes and live as Johnny Rebs and Billy Yanks. Intrigued, he wound up having some odd adventures with the "hardcores," the fellows who try to immerse themselves in the war, hoping to get what they lovingly term a "period rush."

Horwitz spent two years reporting on why Americans are still so obsessed with the war, and the ways in which it resonates today. In the course of his work, he made a sobering side trip to cover a murder that was provoked by the display of the Confederate flag, and he spoke to a number of people seeking to honor their ancestors who fought for the Confederacy.

Horwitz has a flair for odd details that spark insights, and Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War is a thoughtful and entertaining book that does much to explain America's continuing obsession with the Civil War.