He powerfully and poetically captures the lasting and important meaning of the Civil War
I have encountered many times in my life individuals, community members, and students who hold onto the Lost Cause ideology—that the Civil War was not about slavery but about states’ rights and that the Civil War could have had a different outcome had it not been for the defeat of the Confederacy at Gettysburg, especially with the utter failure of Pickett’s charge. Coates puts a nail in the coffin of Lost Cause ideology, which unfortunately seems to keep coming back from the dead. He powerfully and poetically captures the lasting and important meaning of the Civil War that we still need to think about today. White-privileged historical narratives are at the center of his critical insights throughout the book, and as a historian of Indigenous Peoples of North America, I applaud that.