". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Upon Observance of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War Day

Wise words arrive from the hearts, the minds and the keyboards of two of the contemporary writers of history I most admire, Edward Ball and Adam Goodheart, in the Opinion section of the NY Times. Today there are at least five columns up, reflecting on the Civil War and its aftermath. However, I particularly recommend Edward Ball's "An American Tragedy" (author of the brilliant Slaves in the Family), and Adam Goodheart's "The Defenders" (author of 1861: The Civil War's Awakening and the person responsible for granting us the Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship -- so I can and do testify at first hand to his many-headed varieties of brilliance).

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