Book Review of The Last Battleground: The Civil War Comes to North Carolina
Book and Media Review
Review of: Gerard, P. (2021). The Last Battleground: The Civil War Comes to North Carolina. University of North Carolina Press. (ISBN: 978-1469649566)
Excerpt: Philip Gerard’s The Last Battleground: The Civil War Comes to North Carolina originated as an extensive series of articles in Our State: Celebrating North Carolina magazine commemorating the Civil War’s sesquicentennial. There is a sense of inquisitiveness that runs through the book, stemming from the fact that the author is not a trained historian. As an accomplished creative writer, Gerard tries to bring the reader along on his journey—in some cases retracing his steps—to learn about some of the lives touched by the Civil War in North Carolina. Gerard uses the present tense to immerse the reader in the tribulations and triumphs, confusion and contingency of war. He approaches the subject without “the settled perspective of an expert writing with perfect hindsight” while also “using only the knowledge of the time…when all issues remained in doubt, and they endured a true and terrible suspense” (ix). The strengths and weaknesses of The Last Battleground stem from that inherent tension: an attempt to immerse the reader in the war years without the knowledge an expert brings to the subject.[...]
Nash, Steven E., "Book Review of The Last Battleground: The Civil War Comes to North Carolina" (2020). ETSU Faculty Works. 847.