Remembering the Civil War

Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation

By Caroline E. Janney

464 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 21 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2989-6
    Published: August 2016
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-0707-8
    Published: June 2013
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8259-2
    Published: June 2013

Littlefield History of the Civil War Era

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Awards & distinctions

2013 Jefferson Davis Award, Museum of the Confederacy

Honorable Mention, 2014 Avery O. Craven Award, Organization of American Historians

2014 Charles S. Sydnor Award, Southern Historical Association

As early as 1865, survivors of the Civil War were acutely aware that people were purposefully shaping what would be remembered about the war and what would be omitted from the historical record. In Remembering the Civil War, Caroline E. Janney examines how the war generation--men and women, black and white, Unionists and Confederates--crafted and protected their memories of the nation's greatest conflict. Janney maintains that the participants never fully embraced the reconciliation so famously represented in handshakes across stone walls. Instead, both Union and Confederate veterans, and most especially their respective women's organizations, clung tenaciously to their own causes well into the twentieth century.

Janney explores the subtle yet important differences between reunion and reconciliation and argues that the Unionist and Emancipationist memories of the war never completely gave way to the story Confederates told. She challenges the idea that white northerners and southerners salved their war wounds through shared ideas about race and shows that debates about slavery often proved to be among the most powerful obstacles to reconciliation.

About the Author

Caroline E. Janney is the John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War and Director of the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History at the University of Virginia, and author of Burying the Dead but Not the Past: Ladies' Memorial Associations and the Lost Cause.
For more information about Caroline E. Janney, visit the Author Page.


"Splendidly written. . . . Recommended. All levels/libraries." β€”Choice

β€œA book that will be useful to scholars and casual readers for many years to come.”—Civil War Book Review

"Remembering the Civil War offers important insights and demonstrates without a doubt that memory studies are far from exhausted. Whether a readership beyond the academy that continues to embrace reconciliation β€”Β as evidenced by the ongoing Civil War 150th commemoration β€” has yet to be seen."β€”Virginia Magazine

β€œIt deserves its place as a leading work in the historiography on war and memory.”—North Carolina Historical Review

β€œ[This] revisionist study argues that the Lost Cause mythology and rush to reconciliation was much less pervasive than previously thought.”-β€”Civil War Times

β€œThis perceptive study should caution those who have embraced the reconciliationist interpretation to proceed with discernment.”—Civil War Monitor