Cultural memory of the American Civil War has been continually reshaped by Hollywood film over the last one hundred years. This book explores the changes in Civil War memory by looking at the history of Civil War films focusing on "Gone With the Wind" (1939) and "Cold Mountain" (2003). It concentrates on the popular needs, desires and assumptions these films confirmed respective to the time they were made in. What is the power of southern mythology and how is its imagery used in Hollywood film? How could the American Civil War ever become a national epic of unity, glory and sacrifice? "Gone With the Wind" verified a mythic memory of the Civil War like no other film before and after. Several cultural and social changes happening in the United States since then could not overthrow cultural memory's master narrative of the Civil War which essentially stays a melancholic fixation on white national tragedy. This book addresses students of American culture and history as well as everybody interested in the fascinating mechanisms of film and cultural memory.
Simone Bachofner studied North American studies and linguistics at Berlin's Free University achieving her M.A. in 2006. She currently works as a film publicist.