Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic, performed a great deal of research and travel to write the book. During his travels, he visited noted historian and author Shelby Foote, who spoke with him at length about the Civil War, prejudice, racism, and the troubled and misunderstood past of the American South:
Foote's views on the Confederate battle flag were equally nuanced. In his view, those who saw the banner as synonymous with slavery had their history wrong. "It stood for law, honor, love of country," Foote said, and the banner was revered as such by the veterans who had fought under it.
At the same time, Foote recognized that the flag had become "a banner of shame and disgrace and hate." But he pinned the blame for this on educated Southerners who allowed white supremacists to misuse the flag during the civil rights struggle.
(Horwitz, Confederates in the Attic, Google Books)
Foote's commentary forms the most informational parts of the book, because he refuses to pigeonhole his viewpoint to fit one ideology or view of history. In Foote's opinion, the only way to understand history is to dig into every facet and understand every viewpoint, no matter how distasteful. Shelby Foote died in 2005.