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2Oi o Book Reviews53g The final two essays by Alexander Mendoza and Julie Holcomb reveal the increasingly important issue ofthe Civil War and cultural memory. Mendoza's piece evaluates the influence of George Washington Littlefield, a Confederate veteran, and his support for statues at the University ofTexas at Austin memorializing die failed Southern cause. On a larger level, though, Mendoza examines the different ways in which generations of Texans have chosen to identify with the state's Confederate past and have "altered the meanings of the Civil War in various eras to fit their contemporary convictions" (xx). Holcomb provides an equally unique perspective by demonstrating how the role of public history has largely formed the manner in which the Texas public remembers and interprets the Civil War. She thus convincingly calls on public historians to engage in "a more inclusive and interpretive strategy," especially in regard to race relations, simply because a large portion of the general public informs its historical awareness at public sites, museums, and landmarks. This review, unfortunately, cannot capture the profound level of research and information presented in this volume. These eleven historians have done a remarkable job in providing new and groundbreaking areas of research that contribute to an even deeper understanding of the Lone Star State's experience in the Civil War. The Fate ofTexas reveals, though, that there is still more work to be done. This is far from a criticism, however. Grear acknowledges in the introduction that the field would benefit from studies on Téjanos in the Civil War, the role of religion, and the Texas Cotton Bureau, to name a few. Nevertheless, historians will gready benefit from this latest round of original research on both Texas's wartime and postwar role. Rice UniversityAndrew F. Lang Moss Bluff Rebel: A Texas Pioneer in the Civil War. By Philip Caudill. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2009. Pp. 230. Illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 9781603440899, $29.95 cloth.) Considering that much of Texas's history is based on romantic stories and mythic images of iconic figures, lesser-known aspects of the state's historical saga are sometimes left untold. Philip Caudill, in Moss BluffRebel, resurrects the tale of one such obscure individual, William Berry Duncan. Using Duncan's rich and untapped diaries and letters as principal sources, Caudill traces the life of this seemingly typical mid-nineteenth-century cattle wrangler, businessman, local politician, slave owner, soldier, and family-man through his settlement in Texas, the depths of the Civil War, and the trials ofReconstruction. Caudill's biographical narrative follows a chronological approach and distinguishes itselfin its successful depiction of the ways in which an unglamorous and ordinary pioneer coped with turbulent events and life-altering experiences. As a resident of Liberty County, Duncan profited from his astute business skills and earned most ofhis money through trading catde. When the winds ofsecession blew across the state, Duncan, sensing a threat to his prosperous profession and generally indifferent to national politics, ever-so relucíantlyjoined the Confederate 540Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril cause. He largely ignored the first year of the war, choosing instead to focus on his business interests. In 1862, however, he grudginglyjoined Spaight's Eleventh Battalion, which later became the 21st Texas Infantry. Duncan, a natural leader and widely respected among the men in his unit, was eventually elected an officer. The vast majority of the book covers Duncan's Civil War years and highlights many important themes central to Civil War history: the uncertainty of enlistment and service, morale, national identification, defeat, and life after the conflict. The lengthy depiction of Duncan's Civil War experience presents a refreshing departure from the many narratives that tend to emphasize glory won on large batdefields, grand campaigns, and larger-than-life leaders. Rather, the reader is offered a glimpse into the war's often-forgotten underside: messy camps, miserable garrison duty, monotonous drills, and general distaste for war. More importandy, though, Duncan's service along the Texas Gulf Coast and in southwestern Louisiana reflects the book's central theme. He endured severe bouts of low morale and thus wavered constandy in his dedication to the Confederate cause. The lack ofmilitary activity, in addition to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 539-540
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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