'Ifs' Defeated the Confederates at Shiloh

I'm listening to this panel discussion of the Civil War which took place 1999. It's amazing how many of the questions are basically looking for paths to victory for the Confederates. "If Lee had done XXXX at Gettysburg, could he have won?" It's interesting enough, but it's the kind of question that--as a black person--I don't have access to. 


Perhaps, I have it wrong but I always detect a bit of longing whenever that question is posed. To me it's like asking, "What could that drunk-driver have done to kill not, just your parents, but you and your kids also?" I guess that's hyper-emotional. Perhaps it's like the Russian contemplating how Hitler could have succeeded. I don't know. I make no pretense of objectivity. It's just how it feels.

That said, James Roark and William Cooper really deftly handled a question about what scholars could do to restore "respect for the Confederate flag." Roark made a great riposte by contrasting the waving of the Confederate Flag with claims  of Southern hospitality.

EDIT: Yeesh. The lectures are great, but skip ahead to the questions. Last question--"Did white Southerners get a bad rap for slavery?" Drew Faust crushed that one, though.
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

The Man Who Owns 40,000 Video Games

A short documentary about an Austrian gamer with an uncommon obsession

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in National

From This Author

Just In