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Publisher's Summary

When prize-winning war correspondent Tony Horwitz leaves the battlefields of Bosnia and the Middle East for a peaceful corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he thinks he's put war zones behind him. But awakened one morning by the crackle of musket fire, Horwitz starts filing front-line dispatches again this time from a war close to home, and to his own heart.

Propelled by his boyhood passion for the Civil War, Horwitz embarks on a search for places and people still held in thrall by America's greatest conflict. The result is an adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where the ghosts of the Lost Cause are resurrected through ritual and remembrance.

In Virginia, Horwitz joins a band of 'hardcore' reenactors who crash-diet to achieve the hollow-eyed look of starved Confederates; in Kentucky, he witnesses Klan rallies and calls for race war sparked by the killing of a white man who brandishes a rebel flag; at Andersonville, he finds that the prison's commander, executed as a war criminal, is now exalted as a martyr and hero; and in the book's climax, Horwitz takes a marathon trek from Antietam to Gettysburg to Appomattox in the company of Robert Lee Hodge, an eccentric pilgrim who dubs their odyssey the 'Civil Wargasm.'

Written with Horwitz's signature blend of humor, history, and hard-nosed journalism, Confederates in the Attic brings alive old battlefields and new ones 'classrooms, courts, country bars' where the past and the present collide, often in explosive ways. Poignant and picaresque, haunting and hilarious, it speaks to anyone who has ever felt drawn to the mythic South and to the dark romance of the Civil War.

©1998 Tony Horowitz (P)2013 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"The freshest book about divisiveness in America that I have read in some time. This splendid commemoration of the war and its legacy...is an eyes-open, humorously no-nonsense survey of complicated Americans." (Roy Blount Jr., New York Times Book Review)"In this sparkling book Horwitz explores some of our culture's myths with the irreverent glee of a small boy hurling snowballs at a beaver hat. . . . An important contribution to understanding how echoes of the Civil War have never stopped."--USA TodayHorwitz's chronicle of his odyssey through the nether and ethereal worlds of Confederatemania is by turns amusing, chilling, poignant, and always fascinating. He has found the Lost Cause and lived to tell the tale a wonderfully piquant tale of hard-core reenactors, Scarlett O'Hara look-alikes, and people who reshape Civil War history to suit the way they wish it had come out. If you want to know why the war isn't over yet in the South, read Confederates in the Attic to find out. --James McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom
"In this sparkling book Horwitz explores some of our culture's myths with the irreverent glee of a small boy hurling snowballs at a beaver hat.... An important contribution to understanding how echoes of the Civil War have never stopped." ( USA Today)Horwitz's chronicle of his odyssey through the nether and ethereal worlds of Confederatemania is by turns amusing, chilling, poignant, and always fascinating. He has found the Lost Cause and lived to tell the tale a wonderfully piquant tale of hard-core reenactors, Scarlett O'Hara look-alikes, and people who reshape Civil War history to suit the way they wish it had come out. If you want to know why the war isn't over yet in the South, read Confederates in the Attic to find out. --James McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom
"Horwitz's chronicle of his odyssey through the nether and ethereal worlds of Confederatemania is by turns amusing, chilling, poignant, and always fascinating. He has found the Lost Cause and lived to tell the tale a wonderfully piquant tale of hard-core reenactors, Scarlett O'Hara look-alikes, and people who reshape Civil War history to suit the way they wish it had come out. If you want to know why the war isn't over yet in the South, read Confederates in the Attic to find out. (James McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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Good book

Very interesting read. A different take on then and now with lots of unique information.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rita
  • California, USA
  • 04-13-18

Great book to listen to

What made the experience of listening to Confederates in the Attic the most enjoyable?

This is a very funny, laugh out loud narration of the author's trip through states affected by the Civil War. It was originally published in the 1990s, but feels very timely when discussing the Civil War monuments and efforts to remove them. The author describes participating in the Civil War re-enactments and specifically the die hard participants.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, his voice is easy to listen to, and went well with the subject matter (a trip through the Southern states of the US).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Must read.

You cannot understand Civil War and Confederate memory in the South without reading this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great book, interesting journey down south

The story was engaging and fascinating. I highly recommend the story to anyone interested in the long term implications of the civil war and how we're still living it today.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good story

Enjoyed the story and folks in the book. but the narrator was very monotone and dry. but overall liked the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Must Read for Civil War Buffs!

Would you listen to Confederates in the Attic again? Why?

Yes! It is an engaging book for anyone interested in the Civil War as well as the aftermath. I originally read the book when it was first published, and love the works of Tony Horwitz. He has a dry sense of humor that translated well in the recorded version.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Confederates in the Attic?

There are so many, but one of my favorites was the tour he did with his hard core reinactor friend, when they went on a ten day road trip through Virginia. I know 99% of the places mentioned in that chapter and it was interesting to listen to them from a vantage point of almost 20 years since the publication of the book. For instance, the public meeting in Richmond on the Arthur Ashe statue was particularly interesting.

What about Arthur Addison’s performance did you like?

Excellent performance! Delivery is everything sometimes and Addison hit the perfect tone, particularly in dealing with the Shelby Foote chapter, but also the very humorous passages as well. He was able to do subtle accents without going over the edge..

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The chapter set in Kentucky -- the murder of the young man shot by former classmates for displaying the battle flag of Northern Virginia on his pickup. It is something that is still going on in 2014 in the south -- the conflict between those who see it as a racist issue and those who see it as a heritage issue.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Humeroous but deadly serious account of the American schism

Compare this to some of the books published after Trump’s election such as JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy. Horowitz is a much more gifted writer who foretells the fracture that was exhibited in Trump’s Presidency. Perhaps Faulkner was correct about history never having receded. Entertaining and poignant. Well worth the read.

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  • Elizabeth
  • Bellevue, WA, United States
  • 11-13-17

Good for Civil War buffs

Interesting book that I generally enjoyed as Horwitz explored his own passion for the Civil War, started when he was a child, the (extreme) passion of others and the continuing impact of the Civil War in many communities in our country. Those with an interest in the Civil War (War Between the States, War of Northern Aggression, War of Southern Rebellion...) would enjoy this.
Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry

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thought provoking

listening to his travels, admiring his Outlook, you get a sense of what a lot of people may think about while researching the Civil War. Not quite taking it to the extent of becoming a hardcore, but still viewing things through the lens that he saw things through. A great thought-provoking read.

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Interesting Story

Interesting story about the obsession over the civil war. Unusual perspective. Great insight. Very educational.