The Civil War and Pop Culture: Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War

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Jon Tracey/Chris Mackowski
Pub Date:
June 2023
Hardcover, 6 x 9
100 images, 25 maps, 336 pp.
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 Ebook coming soon!

About the Book

The American Civil War left indelible marks on America’s imagination, collectively and as individuals.

In the century and a half since the war, musicians have written songs, writers have crafted histories and literature, and filmmakers recreated scenes from the battlefield. Beyond popular media, the battle rages on during sporting events where Civil War-inspired mascots carry on old traditions. The war erupts on tabletops and computer screens as gamers fight the old fights. Elsewhere, men and women dress in uniforms and home-spun clothes to don the mantel of people long gone.

Central to “history” is the idea of “story.” Civil War history remains full of stories. They inspire us, they inform us, they educate us, they entertain us. We all have our favorite books, movies, and songs. We all marvel at the spectacle of a reenactment—and flinch with startled delight when the cannons fire.

But those stories can fool us, too. Entertainments can seduce us into forgetting the actual history in favor of a more romanticized version or whitewashed memory.

The Civil War and Pop Culture: Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War explores some of the ways people have imagined and re-imaged the war, at the tension between history and art, and how those visions have left lasting marks on American culture. This collection of essays brings together the best scholarship from Emerging Civil War’s blog, symposia, and podcast—all of it revised and updated—coupled with original piece, designed to shed new light and insight on some of the most entertaining, nostalgic, and evocative connections we have to the war.


Jon Tracey is a public historian focused on soldier experience, memory, and veteran life in the Civil War era. He holds a BA in History from Gettysburg College and an MA from West Virginia University in Public History with a Certificate in Cultural Resource Management. He currently serves as the chair of Emerging Civil War’s Editorial Board, and he works for the National Park Service. Chris Mackowski, Ph.D., is the editor in chief and a co-founder of Emerging Civil War, and he’s the managing editor of the Emerging Civil War Series published by Savas Beatie. Chris is a writing professor in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University, where he also serves as the associate dean for undergraduate programs, and is the historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge, a historic property on the Spotsylvania Court House battlefield.