"The Atlantic" publishes commemorative Civil War issue to mark 150th anniversary

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Special Issue Features an Introduction by President Barack Obama, Plus Classic Stories by Mark Twain, Henry James, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Among Others

The Issue Also Includes Iconic Images From the National Portrait Gallery

Washington, D.C. (December 6, 2011)—To mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, The Atlantic will publish a special commemorative edition, available on newsstands December 6. The collection, spanning the pre-war, war, and post-war periods, is culled from the magazine’s rich archives of memorable reportage, essays, memoir, poetry, and fiction. Founded as an abolitionist magazine in November 1857, The Atlantic chronicled this transformative period in American history firsthand—from the country’s deepening divisions in the years leading up to the conflict, to the horrors of the battlefield, to the reshaping of society after the war’s conclusion.
With an introduction by President Barack Obama, this special issue features memorable contributions from some of the magazine’s most iconic writers, including Louisa May Alcott, Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Walt Whitman.
“When The Atlantic originally published many of these pieces, the most-consequential questions the country has faced were wide open: Would the Union survive? Would slavery? What did it mean to be an American? And so The Atlantic’s writers not only bore witness but argued toward the answers. The result is a conversation about the American idea that, 150 years later, will strike readers as complex, provocative, and surprisingly resonant with our times,” said James Bennet, editor of The Atlantic.
The issue also includes contemporary essays by The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jeffrey Goldberg and is illustrated with images from the National Portrait Gallery’s archives.
Selected historical works in the collection include:

  • “A True Story, Word for Word As I Heard It,” by Mark Twain. In his first story for The Atlantic, the author tells of a mother’s surprise reunion with her son, a former slave;
  • “Paul Revere’s Ride,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Though the legendary poem is considered a quintessential Revolutionary War story, Longfellow was actually writing about the looming crisis between the states;
  • “Recollections of Lincoln,” by Henry Villard. The journalist, who covered the Lincoln-Douglas debates, recalls the future president’s bawdy appeal;
  • “The Election in November,” by James Russell Lowell. In 1860, The Atlantic’s first editor threw the magazine’s weight behind Abraham Lincoln, endorsing him for president;
  • “Chiefly About War Matters, by a Peaceable Man,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In reflecting on the war after an 1862 visit to Washington, the writer’s ambivalence about slavery put him at odds with the rest of The Atlantic’s editors and writers;
  • “The President’s Proclamation,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Seven months after he called on the president to free the slaves, Emerson hails the Emancipation Proclamation;
  • “Women, Unite Against Slavery,” by Harriet Beecher Stowe. The author urges women, specifically those in England, to help the North achieve its anti-slavery goal;
  • “The Story of a Year,” by Henry James. The author’s first story for The Atlantic chronicles the fate of a newly engaged couple just before the young man heads off to fight in Virginia;
  • “A Rebel’s Recollections,” by George Cary Eggleston. A Confederate soldier from a plantation family, Eggleston provides a rare Southern perspective;
  • “The Awakening of the Negro,” by Booker T. Washington. In this controversial piece, the educator contends that blacks should advance by making themselves useful to whites.

The Atlantic’s commemorative Civil War issue is on newsstands today, December 6, 2011, and available for purchase online. An electronic version is available on iPads and Nook and Kindle devices.
Read entire article at Press Release

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