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Before the War, the Rumors

Before the War, the Rumors Before the War, the Rumors by Bryan Giemza Normans and Saxons: Southern Race Mythology and the Intellectual History of the American Civil War. By Richie Devon Watson, Jr. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2009. 296 pp. $40.00 cloth. "The unanimity of men at war," observed Edmund Wilson in Patriotic Gore, "is like that of a school of fish, which will swerve, simultaneously and apparently without leadership, when the shadow of an enemy appears, or like a sky-darkening flight of grasshoppers, which, also all compelled by one impulse, will descend to consume the crops." Yet before this sudden and mysterious consensus forms, it is invariably preceded by rhetoric that accentuates perceived differences between groups. Absent the mischief of polemicists and spiraling invective, more often that not, the parties to the conflict might as easily have found common cause. Ritchie Watson's Normans and Saxons: Southern Race Mythology and the Intellectual History of the American Civil War examines how divisions are manufactured in the service of politics, and how war can be the product of colossal man-made misunderstanding. The importance of "racial" distinctions between Normans (southern cavaliers) and Saxons (New England puritans) in fomenting the Civil War has lately received a http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Before the War, the Rumors

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 43 (1) – Mar 16, 2010

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University of North Carolina Press
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Copyright © University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
1534-1461
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Abstract

Before the War, the Rumors by Bryan Giemza Normans and Saxons: Southern Race Mythology and the Intellectual History of the American Civil War. By Richie Devon Watson, Jr. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2009. 296 pp. $40.00 cloth. "The unanimity of men at war," observed Edmund Wilson in Patriotic Gore, "is like that of a school of fish, which will swerve, simultaneously and apparently without leadership, when the shadow of an enemy appears, or like a sky-darkening flight of grasshoppers, which, also all compelled by one impulse, will descend to consume the crops." Yet before this sudden and mysterious consensus forms, it is invariably preceded by rhetoric that accentuates perceived differences between groups. Absent the mischief of polemicists and spiraling invective, more often that not, the parties to the conflict might as easily have found common cause. Ritchie Watson's Normans and Saxons: Southern Race Mythology and the Intellectual History of the American Civil War examines how divisions are manufactured in the service of politics, and how war can be the product of colossal man-made misunderstanding. The importance of "racial" distinctions between Normans (southern cavaliers) and Saxons (New England puritans) in fomenting the Civil War has lately received a

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Mar 16, 2010

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