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For perhaps the ultimate authority on this matter, we should look to Robert Krick, chief historian for the National Park Service at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville and author of ten books on the Confederacy. He has researched over 200,000 service records, and says he's come across maybe "six, or 12 at the very most" who might have been black. Hardly supportive of the notion that there were more than a handful of black Confederate combatants.
However, this is all a very amusing stroll down an irrelevant path. Even if Bergeron managed to provide real evidence of several thousand black soldiers fighting for the Confederacy instead of the shoddily researched handfuls that he does give us, what would be the point? Many of the Wermacht soldiers were of Jewish lineage, and 77 of Hitler's highest ranking officers were either Jewish or married to Jews. Does this lead us to feel any less horrified by the actions of the National Socialists? Are we to believe that a smattering of collaboration is somehow equal to a wholesale endorsement?
This book is another sad example in the ongoing struggle to rewrite history. Rather than read this, I suggest you do yourself a favor and read a serious book about the attitudes of the south prior to the war, most notably "Apostles of Disunion" and "Crisis of Fear."
According to the thoroughly documented essays in this volume, black support for the confederacy was broad and intense. Some of the black supporters were free blacks--many of whom owned slaves themselves. No doubt some were uneducated slaves duped by unscrupulous Southern partisans to back a cause they did not understand. Some must have been forced to aid the confederacy against their wills, but the majority of individuals discussed in these pages wholeheartedly agreed with the objectives of the rebellion.
To those who may dismiss the findings of this work, their legitimacy seems proven by the extensive documentation. At times the superscript weighs down the pages as assertion after assertion is annotated. Six different authors contributed to the collection and at times the facts are illogically tautological. Two essays by Richard Rollins-allegedly about different subjects--rehash much of the same data. Especially disturbing is the second offering titled "Black Confederates At Gettysburg," which barely touches on that subject. While this disorganized presentation is a sizable detraction, the work is a genuine eye-opener.
Those of us living in the twenty-first century will probably find the choices made by these slaves as impossible to comprehend as the fact that human beings could ever be bought and sold as property. One of Mr. Rollins vignettes makes an essential point concerning "the need to be sensitive to the historical figures we deal with in the context of the time they lived, rather than allow the ideological and intellectual assumptions of our own day to dictate what we have to say about the people of the civil war era-both black and white." Centuries from now common folk may very well look back at our "enlightened era" aghast that we condoned partial-birth abortion and euthanasia.
Our rightful revulsion to the slave trade should not allow us to forget that many confederate soldiers-both black and white--were noble men. Nothing in this conglomeration makes any attempt to diminish the horror that all decent people know slavery was. Perhaps it is the institutionalized unfairness of their lives that makes the profiled black patriots' sacrifices all the more doughty. The book's most challenging postulation may be Ervin L. Jordan's lament that the slaves and free black citizens served the confederacy "not as a consequence of white pressure but due to their own preferences. They are the Civil War's forgotten people, yet their own existence was more widespread than American history has recorded. Their bones rest in unhonored glory in Southern soil, shrouded by falsehoods, indifference, and historians' censorship."
Many people still believe the Civil War was about slavery, not state rights. Many people also do not realize that right before slavery was officially banned by the U.S. governement, there were over 400 blacks that worked as slaves to help build the capital building. Blacks had been selling their own people (and whites) into slavery long before the U.S. got involved in the trade. True, it was a serious mistake that has repercusions that are still being felt in this country.
It is interesting to note, however, that considering how bad the pre-Civil War South is made to sound, the American Africans in this country have long enjoyed better standards of living and health than in any other country, especially their countries of origin. This book points out that many blacks were in favor of preserving the Southern government. Not only that, it points out that even after receiving freedom, many chose to go back and work for their old masters pretty much as before. There were many blacks loved and adored by their families and this is one unfortunate piece of Civil War history often overlooked. It seems the concepts that founded this country are gradually being lost. Now more than ever, the issue of states rights needs to be re-visited to protect the sovereignty, strength and long-term well-being of the U.S. Or we will pass from United STATES to something akin to the United KING-DOM.
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In the original stories of King Arthur and his knight, the author simplify the stories. In Rosemary Sutcliff's book, she gives a lot of details and makes every story go further and some become more interesting. Although she does not change much but the names of some characters, the story line stays about the same as the original stories.
The book The Sword and the Circle might appeal interesting to people who like old legends such as King Arthur legends. To others, it will seem extremely boring. Some of these stories keep you interesting in some parts like in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. In others, the author runs on and on and the story doesn't get any better. This book would probably be for kids 12+ because of the bigger and more descriptive words. I would give this book two out of five stars and would not waste your time reading this.
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A. M. Schlesinger, Jr. provides a somewhat interesting introduction to this book concerning leadership. However, his name and reputation do absolutely nothing to enhance this book. My advice, check the "ole' ENCYCLOPEDIA for it will do as good a job explaining Hitler as this book and it is a whole lot CHEAPER.
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