Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Booknotes: Damn Yankees!

New Arrival:

Damn Yankees!: Demonization and Defiance in the Confederate South by George C. Rable (LSU Press, 2015).

Wartime populations often dehumanize their foes and extol their own virtues. Both sides certainly did it during the Civil War. Studying the phenomenon from one side, this slim volume examines how anti-North rhetoric bolstered Confederate resistance.
"Drawing from speeches, cartoons, editorials, letters, and diaries, Damn Yankees! examines common themes in southern excoriation of the enemy. In sharp contrast to the presumed southern ideals of chivalry and honor, Confederates claimed that Yankees were rootless vagabonds who placed profit ahead of fidelity to religious and social traditions. Pervasive criticism of northerners created a framework for understanding their behavior during the war. When the Confederacy prevailed on the field of battle, it confirmed the Yankees’ reputed physical and moral weakness. When the Yankees achieved military success, reports of depravity against vanquished foes abounded, stiffening the resolve of Confederate soldiers and civilians alike to protect their homeland and the sanctity of their women from Union degeneracy."

3 comments:

  1. "Yankees were rootless vagabonds who placed profit ahead of fidelity to religious and social traditions"

    So not much has changed? :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm certainly no defendant of the Lost Cause, but I don't see why criticizing northerners was necessarily "in sharp contrast to the presumed southern ideals of chivalry and honor." I'm generally a fan of Rable's writing and I look forward to seeing how he makes his case and incorporates all those juicy Fire-eater attacks on "Yankees."
      Will Hickox

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