James Dickerson should be commended for tracing the theme of American concentration camps through from the 17th to the 21st century. It is all too easy to slip into the comfortable approach of examining events in isolation, when they are in fact but one more example of how a nation has failed to learn from the mistakes of its past.
It was hardly to be expected that the sesquicentennial might come and go without the Civil War’s most preeminent historian offering his thoughts on the subject, and James McPherson has not let us down. Not that The War that Forged a Nation is in any direct sense a comment on or reaction to the sesquicentennial; it is neither.
When I was a fourth grade student in suburban Birmingham, Alabama in the 1970s, the history curriculum was devoted to a study of our state. Our teacher, Mrs. Lawson, supplemented our textbook with personal recollections of the Civil War gleaned from her own grandmother, who had been a girl in the 1860s. Mrs.