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:
Summer 2023
Hardcover, 6 x 9
100 images, 25 maps, 336 pp.
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Click HERE to read the Front Matter and Chapter 1!

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 artists and filmmakers have 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 homespun clothes to don the mantle 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, and 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. Entertainers 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 reimagined the war at the tension between history and art, and how those visions have left lasting marks on American culture. These entries bring together the best scholarship from Emerging Civil War’s blog, symposia, and podcast—all revised and updated—coupled with original pieces designed to shed new light and insight on some of the most entertaining, nostalgic, and evocative connections we have to the war.


Advance Praise

“Scanning across the vast landscape of popular cultural history related to the ‘Late Unpleasantness,’ Chris Mackowski and Jonathan Tracey have assembled an array of thought-proving and evocative essays. Engaging with the ways in which art, culture, history, and memory have merged in these ‘Favorite Stories’ will make them yours, too.” — Brian S. Wills, Director, Civil War Center, Kennesaw State University and author of Gone with the Glory: The Civil War in Cinema


The Civil War and Pop Culture is a delightful meditation on the alluring power of artistic expression in molding our memories of America’s defining conflict. These entertaining essays help to explain how we ponder, commemorate, and commercialize the contested past. Readers are bound to discover engaging stories and experiences that are intertwined with their own fascination of the Civil War. Enjoy the journey.” — Jared Frederick, author of Gettysburg National Military Park and host of Reel History


The Civil War and Pop Culture is like a well-stocked candy store is to a child, packed with topics and milestones in our lives, from stories about TV shows in the 1950s and 60s whose heroes were former Rebels or Yankees, to movies like The General, Glory, Gettysburg, and Gods & Generals. Readers can’t help but encounter many intriguing selections herein that will resonate with them as they did with me.” —Joe Ewers, Banjo player and general manager, 2nd South Carolina String Band



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.