Our good friend Clyde Wilson and his colleagues at Shotwell Publishing continue to produce noteworthy contributions to the Southern cause. Recently, we received three books that illustrate the breadth of their efforts:
The Land They Loved: Southern Poets and Poems, Vol I, edited by Clyde N. Wilson.
The poems range from the English Elizabethan Michael Drayton to William Gilmore Simms to “Singing Billy” Walker.
The Honorable Cause: The Free South, essays by 12 Southerners, including Michael Hill, Ann Wilson Smith, Rebecca Dillingham…
Union Terror: Debunking the False Justifications for Union Terror Against Southern Civilians in the American Civil War, by Dr. Jeffrey F. Addict, Lt Colonel (US Army Ret.)
The books are available from WWW.Shotwellpublishing.com
If I may, I would like to add to Tom’s list of recent books published by Shotwell another writing which, I think, is worthy of consideration : a novel by Thomas Moore entitled “A Fatal Mercy: The Man Who Lost the Civil War”. In this novel, which contains a host of real and fictional characters, there is an extended quote that seems to capture the theme of the book, if not of the States united today. At the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, there is an exchange between two fictional figures, one an old Union vet and the other an old Confederate, in which the gent from the North says:
“Yes, you fought for Southern Independence but wanted to keep your Negroes in servitude. We fought to maintain the Union, but our
revolutionary new Union extended a from of servitude over all of America. There is a paradox. I see it clearly now over fifty years: our cause
dictated that our group of men can compel others to submit to a government they don’t want and that refusal on their part makes them
criminals and traitors. I can think of no other principle more fatal to liberty. Yet it triumphed in the field and is now assumed to be
established. Slavery, instead of being ended by the War,, has actually been expanded; for a man subjected by force to a government he does
not want is a slave. There is no difference in principle. only in degree, between chattel slavery and political slavery. “
Thank you Mr Shofner for the quote and your recommendation. I am now curious, in fact wondering how the saddened but still stirring confederate might have responded to the honest, surmising soldier from the North?
Who knows: however, I would suggest Ole Johnny Reb might have replied, “The South fought not to keep its slaves; remember that we rejected the Corwin Amendment, which was the originally proposed 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and supported by President Lincoln and which, if passed, would have rendered slavery perpetual. Instead, we fought to free ourselves from the North, its oppressive ways and crushing tariffs, and, mostly, ’cause y’all invaded us.”
I am not entirely sure that a novel is the best place for extended political argument. First, because the persuasive techniques of the novel can easily be manipulative and subversive of reason; second, because ideological agendas are the death of a good story.
Maybe so, Tom: however, as the great Richard Weaver reminds us, ideas have consequences. Without ideas or principles propelling action, there is rarely a story to tell. Clearly, without ideas, there would not have been a War Between the States or, in turn, any stories, whether good or bad, arising from that conflict.
Thanks for the comment, Wes. Actually Weaver did not ever write that “Ideas have consequences.” The title, which he detested, was forced upon him by some snuffie at the U of Chicago Press, and it became the rallying cry of anti-Christian neocons for years. My observation was not an attempt to denigrate ideas but a suggestion that ideological fiction usually fails as fiction and is in any case an improper vehicle for a political argument. Leftists like Sartre (though he did have some talent) ruin their books by preaching. Here is a parallel: The other day I posted don FB a lovely video sent by my daughter of a sort of flash mob in a grocery story that ended up as a small orchestra and chorus doing Handel’s “Zadok the Priest.” a good Catholic friend said he preferred Bach because he celebrated our risen Lord. Handel either is or is not a good composer, and his faith or lack of faith are not really relevant. There is a lot of really lousy music and fiction written by well-intentioned Christians and conservatives. It has been my contention for decades that so long as Christians and conservatives accept and promote mediocre–and worse–productions simply because they authors are on the right side, they will remain what they are now, which is, largely harmful influences on our culture. When friends of mine were blurbing bad books, they always justified it by saying the author was on our side. If I have a side, it does not include dishonest scholars and careless writers.
PS My good friend Gene Genovese came from the Communist Left and was forever putting together conservative analogues to the Stalinist popular front coalitions. When he asked me to join forces with Dinesh D’Souza and the Podhoretzes, I told him in plain English that life is too short to associate with such contemptible people. Gene retorted that I was more interested in good writing than in winning a political contest. He got that entirely right. By the way, can anyone think of a political battle the right has won in the long run of say 30 years?
I know many Catholics who are awash in poorly written saints stories and truly wretched movies about saints. Or worse . . . VeggieTales! Truly they are inculcating a perverted aesthetic in their children, but it’s okay because it’s about the saints. The idea the we should not be Cains but rather Ables and offer only our best to God and his elect (rather than make excuses for shoddy work and substandard fare) is often incomprehensible when I try to push back against this sea of mediocrity.