According to Confederates in the Attic, what were the motives & outlooks of the descendants of Civil War soldiers and the other people Horwitz met at Shiloh?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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For Horwitz, the people he encounters in Shiloh represent the very essence of historiography coming to life.  These individuals are motivated and animated by their commitment to the historical detail of the Battle of Shiloh.  Horwitz talks about how these are the same folks who wake up before dawn on the anniversary of the battle and walk the field before sunrise to get a good feel of what the start of the battle must have been like.  These individuals are also convinced that the retelling of it represents Northern Bias.  They claim that the focal point of the historical retelling has the Battle of Shiloh going in the North's favor resides in a misreading of the South's actions at the location of the sunken patch of land nicknamed "Hornet's Nest."  For the descendants of Shiloh discussed in the book, to depict Southern actions in this way offers a misreading of the South's tactical efficiency in a battle that literally could have gone either way.  The Northern depiction of a strong win is simply not the case.  This commitment to historical realism is part of the motive of the individuals seen at Shiloh.  It also feeds into their outlook that the Civil War historical representation, especially in terms of depiction of the South, must be honored and upheld at all costs, helping to enhance the nostalgia and sense of romanticism that White Southerners have about the battle and the war, in general. 

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