Publication Date

March 2020




Johns Hopkins University Press


Cody Marrs’ newest book is a remarkably concise and modern introduction to Civil War memory. Although studies of memory inevitably overlap with historiography, you will find no dry discussions of the Dunning School or Eugene Genovese in Not Even Past: The Stories We Keep Telling About the Civil War. Instead, just four elegant chapters each tackle a major interpretation of the American Civil War. It is hard to imagine a better introduction to the topic for an undergraduate or an interested member of the public. Academic historians will learn nothing radically new in Marrs’ book—but will nevertheless enjoy his readable prose, updated perspectives, and novel evidence. For example, it considers the modern white supremacist movement, its Lost Cause rhetoric, and Donald Trump’s halfhearted condemnation of it. Still, the majority of the book is grounded in nineteenth-century sources and voices. Cody Marrs is a Professor of English at the University of Georgia, and he brings his unique skills to bear on a historical subject. For this reason too, academic historians will appreciate the book, loaded with more literary and cultural analysis than competing titles. Marrs is an expert in this sub-field, having already published Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Long Civil War, a thematic companion to Not Even Past...