Book Club Kits
Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War
by Horwitz, Tony
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1. Tony Horwitz's premise for Confederates in the Attic is that Americans are fascinated with the Civil War: much more so than any other war in history and regardless if their personal family was connected to the war. Do you agree with this premise? How do you describe your personal level of interest in the Civil War? Why do you think the Civil War has retained so much interest?
2. Throughout the book, Horwitz seems undecided on whether Confederate loyalty is synonymous with unequal civil rights. What is your opinion? Can the Confederate flag be considered an icon of Southern history rather than of oppression? Should the flag be flown freely in public areas?
3. Some of Horwitz's discoveries suggest that many contemporary Southerners consider themselves stigmatized by attitudes that still linger from the loss of the Civil War. In what ways have you seen this actualized in your experiences?
4. Rob, or Robert Lee Hodge, the hardcore re-enactor is frequently mention. What is your reaction to him? Do you think his strive for authenticity is admirable or ridiculous?
5. Have you witnessed a Civil War reenactment? How interested are you in watching one?
6. Horwitz detoured slightly from the Civil War with his exploration of Michael Westerman's death. How do you connect the murder story with the Civil War?
7. Prior to reading Confederates in the Attic did you know of Shelby Foote? Did you see him in Ken Burn's Civil War documentary or read any of his books? Are you interested in learning more about him?
8. Confederates in the Attic is written in an unusual format, a cross between a sociological study and a travelogue. Does Horwitz provide an impartial report? In what ways does he celebrate or criticize the Southern culture?
9. Horwitz relates many anecdotes from his travels through the South. Which ones stand out for you?
10. Movies about the Civil War seem to be perennially popular and are one of the ways the Civil War stays fresh in peoples' minds. Has reading this book changed your opinion of any movies you've seen? Are you any more of less interested in watching a Civil War themed film?