The Wrath to Come review: parsing a blot on US culture

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Spend time talking with enough white American Southerners and you will soon hear that yes, slavery was regrettable, but the Civil War wasn’t really about slavery; it was about states’ rights and preserving a way of life. After all, did you know that many black troops fought for the South?

Travel through the former Confederacy and you will find restored plantation mansions – usually museums or resorts now – their magnolias, ballrooms, and white-pillared porticos conjuring up gracious women in long dresses and gallant men on horseback, peaceful stewards of a gentle, pastoral, now-vanished world. Republican politicians also speak of the old South in these terms. The former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, now a presidential or vice-presidential…

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