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Extended Audio Sample Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War Audiobook, by Tony Horwitz Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.898125 out of 53.898125 out of 53.898125 out of 53.898125 out of 53.898125 out of 5 3.90 (32 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tony Horwitz Narrator: Michael Beck Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2000 ISBN: 9780553753158
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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” re-enactors 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 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • 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 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
  • A 1998 New York Times Notable Book for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 1.666666 out of 51.666666 out of 51.666666 out of 51.666666 out of 51.666666 out of 5 Garrett | 12/8/2015

    " The narrator did a great job, but there are large chunks, and even a whole chapter missing from the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Benjamin | 2/19/2014

    " One of the best reads of all time. An interesting perspective about how the South still views the "War of Northern Aggression". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan McCoig | 2/9/2014

    " Rarely does a book merit 5 stars. This one does and is just fantastic. I learned more about the American Civil War in this read than in all my years in High School and college. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 April | 1/31/2014

    " Too much emphasis on the most extreme elements in society. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 1/27/2014

    " After waking up one morning at his Virginia home to the sounds of a Civil War reenactment, Tony Horwitz launches a search to find out how the Civil War is viewed and remembered in the American South. In his quest, he spent time with a band of really hard-core Confederate reenactors who went on crash diets to get the authentic look of starved soldiers who had been on lengthy campaigns. He also attended a Ku Klux Klan rally in Kentucky, an American history class in Selma, Alabama, and traveled from Antietam to Gettyburg, to Appomattox (a Civil Wargasm) with his friend, Robert Lee Hodge. Along his year-long investigation, he examined how the Civil War is remembered among white Southerners and African-Americans in that region. A funny, moving, and heartwarmingly informative book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marialanni | 1/21/2014

    " Learning lots about the Civil War which of course is still alive and often discussed in the South. To them, the slavery issue was not as important as other issues. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Khaya | 1/16/2014

    " I never thought this topic could interest me, which says a lot for the book/author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kachina | 1/15/2014

    " This is really fascinating so far--an unconventional look at the memory of the war, particularly in rural areas. I'm not all the way finished with it, but if his other books are anything to go by, this will only get better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teresa | 12/23/2013

    " Makes the history of the Civil War totally accessible. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Megan Peck | 12/9/2013

    " Someone lent me this book and made sure I read it before moving to the south from the midwest. Very eye-opening. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 11/14/2013

    " I read this book prior to my recent trip to Charleston and really enjoyed it. It's a fascinating look at southern people who are still obsessed with the Civil War. Some parts of the book were quite funny but reading how prejudiced many still are in the rural south was a bit depressing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicola | 11/6/2013

    " I don't usually read non-fiction but I really enjoyed this book. The writing was journalistic and moved along very well and the stories were both fascinating and informative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara Newell | 10/20/2013

    " Made me move to the South! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amber | 9/23/2013

    " I thought this book was an intelligently written, witty take on the contemporary South. I laughed several times while reading the book, mostly from understanding as the author seeks to explain some of the more "peculiar" Southern ways, such as some people's unending fascination with the Civil War. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 7/15/2013

    " God, my fellow southerners can be disturbing. Nevertheless, what a fascinating glimpse into the world of the Civil War reenactor. I've never really understood it or cared much about it. But, I can sense why it's important to them. I just can't articulate it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeffrey | 3/27/2013

    " There are whites who will still say that slavery wasn't bad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew | 12/29/2012

    " Great study of the lingering memory of the Civil War, and the spooky wasteland that is the lower South. I would assign this if I ever taught a class about memory, the Civil War, or the post-war South. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen Murphy | 10/22/2012

    " I admire the investigative approach of this author. I couldn't have endured visiting all those reinactments. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Silke | 10/10/2012

    " A must read for anybody living in the South (and everybody else). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 A. Gamble | 6/22/2012

    " An engaging and interesting read about the Civil War's impressions on modern-day Southern culture. The best parts of the books involved eccentrics and break the monotomy of another book about a great American antinomy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ross | 5/10/2012

    " Bailed out half way through, not enough historical meat in this to keep me interested. Horowitz's hilarious chapter on camping with hard-core reneactors and his interview of Shelby Foote are were highlights for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tasha | 11/11/2011

    " An older book that I just finished. I enjoy creative non-fiction and this combined travel literature with interesting social commentary and some history thrown in. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ali | 11/2/2011

    " This book started out as a really fun read, however after 200 pages it became very repeative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Conrad Haas | 7/17/2011

    " It was very interesting for me because I had traveled and visited most of the places described thought my experiences were obviously different. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Clara | 5/18/2011

    " If I could rate it lower, I definitely would!!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michele | 5/9/2011

    " Great, entertaining insight into Civil War memory in the American South. As a complete Yankee, it was like visiting a foreign land. Horwitz is a gifted writer and the pace is great. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ralph | 5/2/2011

    " Just a great book. Hilarious, offensive, poignant and populated with colorful characters (some of them downright frightening), this book is as good as any history lesson on the Civil War, Southern culture, the Lost Cause and America. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 5/1/2011

    " Wonderful book. The author researches South's view of the Civil War, accompanies reinactors, and visits Civil War battlefields. Many parts of this book reminded me of my brother, who was very into the Civil War when he was a child. I definitely want to read more by this author at some point. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole | 4/30/2011

    " A terrific book! I'm really looking forward to teaching with it. And I would give just about anything to witness a meeting of the Cats of the Confederacy. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Hanna | 4/23/2011

    " this book was stupid and so boring "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tinkwelborn | 4/7/2011

    " Good sociological travelogue. Will not be of interest to many outside or have no interests in the South. Memory is kept alive. Problem: Whose memory is it?
    BTW: I don't give 5 Stars very often - if I have here, yet. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 4/1/2011

    " A very delightful book! I love travelogues, but this one is just amazing. I almost can’t even believe the events occurred the way they did. The most touching moment were his reflections on shouting at the Black Woman in Selma. How sad and true. "

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About the Author
Author Tony HorwitzTony Horwitz is the author of One for the Road and of the best-selling Baghdad Without a Map. A senior writer for The Wall Street Journal and winner of the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, he has also written for The New Yorker and Harper's, among other publications. He lives with his wife and son in Virginia.
About the Narrator

Michael Beck is an American actor and audiobook narrator. He is best known for his role in the 1979 film, The Warriors. He has narrated numerous novels by John Grisham, as well as Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz and My Life by Bill Clinton. He lives in California.