I know I am ahead of the schedule, but I just finished Through the Heart of Dixie, so wanted to provide my thoughts now.
I enjoyed the book, this is probably not something I would have picked up but when I saw it on the list for the book club I decided to check it out. Despite having read various books that include information about the Atlanta campaign and the March to the Sea I never took a step back to look at how much the the march has impacted society and memory. Generally my focus leans more toward impact on the war or the individuals involved in the action.
Even being a sports fan I had no idea of the connection of the Calgary Flames name to the march. Of the items I found interesting were:
-The attempts by future writers to compare actions in war to the march as a justification, with this going on into both World Wars.
-The overall lack of addressing the emancipation of slaves in the various narratives, monuments and markers, films, novels, and other works.
-The severe differences in narratives of the conduct of the Federal soldiers. Some presenting the activities as only that which was necessary, with some exceptions, while other narratives made it sound as though the entire south was burned to the ground.
-The differences in treatment of the populations of Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. James Connolly mentioning at one point about their acts, "not under orders, but in spite of orders." The men "had it in" for South Carolina and took it out in their own way." Sherman then later writing Slocum "a little moderation may be of political consequence to us in North Carolina."
-The number of mentions of Masonic connections in having properties saved was not something I had considered previously.
-The concept of emancipation potentially being a double-edged sword for slaves with emancipation possibly leading to hunger, destruction and mistreatment. All of this leading to some slaves simply choosing to stay put, such a horrible position to envision someone being in.
-How soldier narratives turned light hearted and nostalgic in the period after the war. Slocum referring to the March at one point as "one great picnic from beginning to end".
-The mention of how memory can be linked to the eventual outcome of the conflict or agreement with the cause was a good point and not something I had specifically considered.
-The descriptions of how the recovery of Atlanta and Columbia were occurring at different rates and progressing in different ways. Having been to both cities I am aware of the differences and mindset of those areas now, but had not considered quite how the two cities handled their rebuilding in the early years after the war.
-I had no idea of the volume of poems, songs, and various written works that included the March, with these popping up even before the war was over.
-While not really funny I was amused by the joke referenced that Sherman "lit a Georgia mansion every night to tell his wife he would be home for Yom Kippur."
Looking forward to what others think when they read the book as well.