A new contribution to Southern literature from one or both of the Kennedy brothers, authors of the classic The South Was Right! and other good books, is always a cause for celebration. The latest, Uncle Seth Fought the Yankees by James Ronald Kennedy, does not disappoint. Uncle Seth, a Confederate veteran, in about 100 easy lessons, gently educates the young people of his kin and neighbourhood about the War for Southern Independence. By facts and realistic experiences he corrects the false ideas that post-bellum young people may have picked up from the bad textbooks and clueless teachers that have crept into the South. This book ought to become a text for homeschooling and for any parents wanting to educate today’s young. And themselves as well. (Pelican)
The new book category includes another classic Southern writer —Michael Grissom, author of Southern By the Grace of God and other fine works. It could not be more timely: American Terrorists: Lincoln’s Armies in the South. Grissom has put together the most hard-hitting collection of documentation of the U.S. government’s murderous war against the women and children of the South that I have ever encountered. We can never have too much of this, because it is a truth that the American national consciousness still refuses to face.
On the same subject, Paul C. Graham has edited When The Yankees Come: Former South Carolina Slaves Remember Sherman’s Invasion. This is the fifth and most recent production of newly-founded Shotwell Publishing. The black folk of South Carolina speak for themselves about their real encounters with the “liberators” in blue, another part of history erased from the national memory. In most cases the encounter was far from pleasant. Quite often it was brutal and exploitive. Similar collections for other States will follow.
The literature of Southern defense and celebration is really quite vast. It is not as well known to most Southerners and not made use of nearly as often as it should be. A great under-used resource is the extensive annotated bibliography established by the Society of Independent Southern Historians. Howard Ray White, author of Bloodstains and co-founder of the society, has made available a large and wonderful series of discussions and interviews called “True American History”.