Why is a nice Jewish boy of Russian heritage like Tony Horwitz sleeping in
trenches soaked to the bone while "spooning" with a guy he doesn't even know.
The answer is simple. Curiositythat innate trait of all good writers who want to
find out about the world around them.
And like many other writers, Horwitz's idea for this funny, offbeat, sort-of-travel
book comes from within his own family, from his great-grandfather, Poppa Isaac., who
treasured a book of Civil War sketches. From this book grew Horwitz's fascination with the
Civil War, which eventually takes him to the South to join re-enacting groups fighting the
battles all over again.
But this isn't just a well-told story of his Civil War re-enacting experience. This is
Horwitz's personal quest to relive the Civil War on his own terms in the towns and
villages and on the battlefields , up to his ears in mud and cold.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tony Horwitz traveled the length and breadth of Dixie
looking for answers to why so many people have turned to Civil War re-enactments as a
means of fulfilling their interests. He takes his readers on a 10-state adventure, from
Fort Sumter to Shiloh, from Vicksburg to Gettysburg, from Confederate graveyards and the
Confederate Museum in Charleston to a Tennessee tavern where the war is replayed nearly
every day. Probing the history of the Civil War as it's revered in the present, Horwitz
has crafted a face-paced travelogue that shows his readers how the Civil War still
resonates in memory and rituals of the South.
Horwitz searches out the offbeat people and places in America's South who are still
fighting the War in their own ways. He attends a birthday party for Robert E. Lee and
Stonewall Jackson in Charleston, South Carolina and observes the initiation of children
into the Children of the Confederacy Society in which they learn about the Confederacy. he
engages conversation with Manning Williamsartist, professor, re-enactor and
Charleston's leading secessionist. He relates the tale of how the statue of a Yankee
soldier ended up in Kingston, South Carolina, while a Rebel soldier's statue stands watch
over a New England town.
In a typical tongue-in-cheek attitude, Horwitz uncovered one of the most bizarre Civil
War legends in Vicksburg. It seems that during the battle of Raymond, Mississippi in 1863,
a miniť ball reportedly passed through the reproduction organs of a young Rebel soldier
and a few seconds later penetrated a young lady standing on a nearby porch. Needless to
say, she got pregnant. A truly immaculate conceptionmaybe so.
He and a hardcore re-enactor embark on a Wargasm, a fusion of a weird brew of road
culture, rancid pork, and the quest for the elusive "period rush," a phrase
hardcore re-enactors used to describe the drug-like high of traveling through time.
This book brings the Civil War back to life for those who have long forgotten its
horrors and sustains those for whom the War will never be over.