What are some details regarding Horwitz’s conversation with Manning Williams in Confederates in the Attic?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I tend to think that the most relevant details regarding Horwitz's conversation with Manning Williams centers on the idea that there is a nostalgic romanticism that a section of the Southern population has towards the Confederates.  Certainly, Horwitz makes it clear that it is acceptable to be fascinated with the Civil War.  He is living proof of that.  Yet, his account of his conversation with Williams reveals that fascination and a desire for reinvigorating the non- democratic elements of the Confederacy still exist in the South.  To this end, Manning Williams proves to be a scary force with which there is to be reckoning.  The fact that the details or recollections that Horwitz has of his conversation with Williams can be as a type of "slick" diversion from the historical record and rather one that focuses on "The Southern Way of Life" raises some level or alarm and worry.  Williams offers no apologies for slavery or for the Southern approach to defending it.  Horwitz makes this clear with Williams' embrace of the title "leading secessionist."  Horwitz's details of his conversation with Manning Williams brings out the idea that for some in the South, the desire to "reenact" the Civil War can bring with it the idea of seeking to restore the values that brought the nation to conflict in the first place, potential values that were not democratic and violated the Constitutional sensibilities of a nation that might still very well struggle with the idea of living "half- slave" and "half- free."

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