Remembering the Civil War

This year marks 140 years since the end of the American Civil War. In that time a gigantic library of books regarding the conflict between the Gray and the Blue has come into being with scores of books published annually on what Shelby Foote once called “the American Iliad.” Sometimes other events will cause this steady flow of literature to rise to flood-tide; the centennial anniversary of the war sparked everything from a Civil War comic strip in the papers to Civil War song albums, while Ken Burns’ television series on the war and the internationally bestselling novel Cold Mountain both sparked a renewed interest in the conflict, again accompanied by a burst of publications.

Christmas reading: Some holiday ideas ranging from Christmas to religion in America

This week letÕs peruse three unrelated books whose only commonality lies in the fact that they were either written by Southerners or were published in the South. The first is an interesting volume about Christmas in America, which might be most profitably read before Christmas Day. The other two books are about religion in America, always a topic of great interest even among unbelievers; as one of the authors, Dave Shiflett, reports, É writing about religion is a lot more interesting than writing about politics or sports. This is the Big StoryÉ.

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