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Cover Art
Author Cloyd, Benjamin G., 1976-

Title Haunted by atrocity : Civil War prisons in American memory / Benjamin G. Cloyd.

Published Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, [2010]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  973.771 CLOY    AVAILABLE
Physical description xii, 251 pages, 12 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Series Making the modern South.
Making the modern South.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents 1. "Our Souls Are Filled with Unutterable Anguish" Atrocity and the Origins of Divisive Memory, 1861-1865 -- 2. "Remember Andersonville" Recrimination During Reconstruction, 1865-1877 -- 3. "This Nation Cannot Afford to Forget" Contesting the Memory of Suffering, 1877-1898 -- 4. "We are the Living Witnesses" The Limitations of Reconciliation, 1898-1914 -- 5. "A More Proper Perspective" Objectivity in the Shadow of Twentieth-Century War, 1914-1960 -- 6. "Better to Take Advantage of Outsiders' Curiosity" The Consumption of Objective Memory, 1960-Present -- 7. "The Task of History is Never Done" Andersonville National Historic Site, the National Pow Museum, and the Triumph of Patriotic Memory.
Summary ""This cogent and polished book offers a fresh discussion of and perspective on a fraught topic---military prisons during the Civil War. In his compelling and important work, Cloyd urges us to ponder how to assess and assign responsibility for the horrors of the Civil War while engaging with enduring questions about its meaning and legacy."---W. Fitzhugh Brundage, editor of Where These Memories Grow: History, Memory, and Regional Identity in the American South" ""This engaging treatment looks at how generations of Americans have interpreted the brutality inherent in the prison system during the Civil War. Anger over treatment of prisoners of war provided a roadblock along the road to reunion for far longer than other historians have shown. And even today, during a more dispassionate time, it remains difficult to remember this dark corner of the past. Less a story about prisons than about how we come to grips with the moral issues of war, Cloyd has provided a great service in showing this link between past and present."---William Blair, author of Cities of the Dead: Contesting the Memory of the Civil War in the South, 1865-1914" ""Haunted by Atrocity liberates students of the Civil War from the all too familiar blame game that Americans have routinely played when coming to terms with the staggering loss of life that occurred not on the battlefield, but from the inhumane conditions of confinement. By showing us why Northerners and Southerners have reacted to the prison controversies at the most visceral level, Cloyd exposes the complicated and contradictory ways that Americans have made historical meaning, advanced political agendas, and secured financial gain while forgetting the most important legacy of Civil War prisons---who is responsible for the humane treatment of prisoners of war."---Peter Carmichael, author of The Last Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and Reunion." "During the Civil War, approximately 56,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died in enemy military prison camps. Even in the midst of the war's shocking violence, the intensity of the prisoners' suffering and the brutal manner of their deaths provoked outrage, and both the Lincoln and Davis administrations manipulated the prison controversy to serve the exigencies of war. As both sides distributed propaganda designed to convince citizens of each section of the relative virtue of their own prison system---in contrast to the cruel inhumanity of the opponent---they etched hardened and divisive memories of the prison controversy into the American psyche, memories that would prove difficult to uproot. In Haunted by Atrocity, Benjamin G. Cloyd deftly analyzes how Americans have remembered the military prisons of the Civil War from the war itself to the present, making a strong case for the continued importance of the great conflict in contemporary America." "Throughout Reconstruction and well into the twentieth century, Cloyd shows, competing sectional memories of the prisons prolonged the process of national reconciliation. Events such as the trial and execution of CSA Captain Henry Wirz---commander of the notorious Andersonville prison---along with political campaigns, the publication of prison memoirs, and even the construction of monuments to the prison dead all revived the painful accusations of deliberate cruelty. As northerners, white southerners, and African Americans contested the meaning of the war, these divisive memories tore at the scars of the conflict and ensured that the subject of Civil War prisons remained controversial." "By the 1920s, the death of the Civil War generation removed much of the emotional connection to the war, and the devastation of the first two world wars provided new contexts in which to reassess the meaning of atrocity. As a result, Cloyd explains, a more objective opinion of Civil War prisons emerged---one that condemned both the Union and the Confederacy for their callous handling of captives while it deemed the mistreatment of prisoners an inevitable consequence of modern war. But, Cloyd argues, these seductive arguments also deflected a closer examination of the precise responsibility for the tragedy of Civil War prisons and allowed Americans to believe in a comforting but ahistorical memory of the controversy. Both the recasting of the town of Andersonville as a Civil War village in the 1970s and the 1998 opening of the National Prisoner of War Museum at Andersonville National Historic Site reveal the continued American preference for myth over history---a preference, Cloyd asserts, that inhibits a candid assessment of the evils committed during the Civil War." "The first study of Civil War memory to focus exclusively on the military prison camps, Haunted by Atrocity offers a cautionary tale of how Americans, for generations, have unconsciously constructed their recollections of painful events in ways that protect cherished ideals of myth, meaning, identity, and, ultimately, a deeply rooted faith in American exceptionalism."--BOOK JACKET.
Subject Military prisons -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Military prisons -- Confederate States of America -- History.
Prisoners of war -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Prisoners of war -- Confederate States of America.
Memory -- Social aspects -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Prisoners and prisons.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Atrocities.
ISBN 9780807136416 (cloth : alk. paper)
0807136417 (cloth : alk. paper)