Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War (The Politically Incorrect Guides)A Review
By: Jonathan Harris

The PIG series (Politically Incorrect Guides) has quickly become the hallmark of my bookshelf. I remember a couple years ago when I first read the PIG to the South. After finishing I quickly scooped up the PIG to Capitalism and the PIG to Islam etc. I've probably read or listened to about six of them now, and still enjoy picking up a new one. In other words, they have not let me down. They're simple, accurate (for the most part), and usually written by experts in the field. The last installment in the series that has made the bookshelf is called The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War. As a result of my reading I would have to maintain that this book should be the introduction for every student of "Civil War" history, especially those who don't particularly care for history. H.W. Crocker III does a great job in his first two chapters, "A Country of Their Own" and "The Gunpowder Trail," of busting the myths most often associated with the "Lost Cause." Was it really about slavery?

Crocker points out a few notable things that seem to throw a wrench in the system of the Yankee establishment. When South Carolina seceded she pointed right back to the Declaration of Independence to justify her cause. Was she not seizing the same principle for which our forefather's fought in the American War for Independence? It is no coincidence that nation which heralded George Washington on their official seal claimed as its supporters the grandsons of the Jefferson, Washington, and Francis Scott Key. Were these patriotic symbols dying to promote a cause against which their own grandfathers fought so nobly? Needless to say, Crocker goes into more detail concerning the legal and philosophical arguments for secession. The objective reader will naturally conclude that not only was secession lawful, but it was also profitable.

When it comes to slavery Crocker is quick to point out the Northern hypocrisy that so often gets overlooked in our own day. Before Nat Turner's rebellion there were three times as many anti-slavery organizations in the South as there were in the North, but with the rise of a secular abolitionism, the debate became framed in a different light. Lincoln, who removed General Fremont from command when he attempted to free slaves in Maryland, and claimed that his goal was to preserve the union, not free slaves, also assigned the superior position of racial equality to the white man; as did General George B. McClellan who couldn't stand the stench of "billy goats or niggers." Contrast these sentiments with those of Jefferson Davis who freed and educated his slaves, Robert E. Lee who freed his slaves and believed in progressive emancipation, and Stonewall Jackson who illegally taught a negro Sunday School. It wasn't a simple "for or against" position on slavery that was the issue, it was more "what view of slavery do you hold to?" The Republican politicians and businessmen held to a form of civil slavery (state capitalism) for all men while retaining their racism for the black race. The Northern abolitionists also believed in a form of civil slavery (socialism) for all men while retaining their bigotry (i.e. encouraging raids and insurrections) against those who owned slaves (even if they did so out of a humanitarian motive to rescue and educate non-Christians from Africa).

In addition to the first two chapters, Crocker fills his book with two other sections on battles and famous generals. They read like a biographical story and have the same literally appeal. Thus, even for those who aren't a fan of the Southern viewpoint will find good historical information concerning battles and generals in this work.

The last chapter tackles the question, "What would have happened if the South did win?" Crocker destroys the Nazi-Confederate connection that is so often made in our modern media, instead placing the connection where it should have been all along: at the feet of Abraham Lincoln. All in all, this book is a great read, and a great gift to give those who want an introduction to the "Civil War." Order your copy by clicking the link below.

In addition to this soft-copy version being available for purchase, there is an audiobook available for free for all those who own an amazon.com account. Simply go to Amazon.com for more details.