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The War of the South

Adam Smith travels to Richmond, Virginia, the heart of the Southern Confederacy, to uncover the dramatic contradictions at the South's heart and the war it waged.

Dr Adam Smith travels to Richmond, the heart of the Southern Confederacy, to uncover the dramatic contradictions at the South's heart and the war it waged.

The Civil War destroyed much of the South, claimed one in five of all men of fighting age, ended slavery and saw the North confirmed as the defining force in American life. Yet in the decades that followed it seemed to many that the South had somehow won the peace, found honour rather than shame in the treachery of secession and the ruins of terrible defeat- creating a new world for itself centred around the myth of the Lost Cause. Many would even declare that the issue of slavery was not the root cause of the South's desire to leave the Union in their defence of States' Rights.

Contemporary historians see a very different picture amidst the carnage of a war that claimed more lives in one battle (Gettysburg) than in all previous wars. A war whose casualty rate would be the equivalent of six million American lives today. With the help of leading historians including David Blight, Liz Varon, James McPherson, Eric Fone and Gary Gallagher, Dr Adam Smith reveals the minds and worlds of the South as it set its path towards secession and disunity and in doing so reaped a terrible price. It's a story of contradictions, ironies and stark human drama that leads Smith to Richmond, Virginia capital of the Confederate States of America following secession from the Union in 1861.

Expert in American history Dr Adam Smith explores the heartland of post war South and the shifting fault lines of memory.

Producer: Mark Burman.

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45 minutes

Last on

Tue 24 Jul 2012 21:15

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