Williamsburg Civil War Roundtable

The purpose of this organization shall be to promote discussion and study of the Civil War and to further stimulate interest in all aspects and phases of the Civil War period.

Meeting Dates

The organization meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month September through May. Meetings are held in the Williamsburg Regional Library Theatre located at 515 Scotland St in Williamsburg, VA, unless otherwise posted. The meetings begin at 7 PM. Membership is open to the  general public.

NOTE: December's Meeting is changed to the third Tuesday of December

This Month's Speaker

Join us for the next meeting of the Williamsburg Civil War Roundtable at the Williamsburg Public Library Theatre at 7 PM on Tuesday, December 19, 2017.

On December 19, 2017, Brian Steel Wills will present “Gone with the glory: The Civil War in Cinema”.

History comes at us in many fashions. Cinema has offered its own version of the Civil War, often reflecting the times in which films appear and the expectations that audiences of those periods bring with them. Reality is less well served, but the characters and stories that emerge are nevertheless indelible parts of our collective culture and experience. When it comes to popular presentations of the American Civil War, few phrases evoke images of that conflict as powerful as Gone with the Wind, although that epic motion picture had more to do with the adventures of a young Southern woman than depictions of war-related themes. This difficulty in melding stories with facts has been the dilemma of film regarding historical subjects, with Hollywood frequently turning its focus first to entertainment values and then to the historical foundation or framework. Nevertheless, from the silent era to the present day, motion pictures have provided one means by which people have connected with their past.  In the process a rich mosaic of figures has emerged for movie audiences that, in some instances, have become iconic, and the sweep and grandeur of the subject matter has proven particularly well-suited to the big screen of the cinema. In more recent years, subjects have broadened to include other aspects, such as the famed 54th Massachusetts in Glory, the smaller-scale drama in backcountry Kentucky of Pharoah’s Army, or the struggle for passage of the 13th Amendment in Lincoln. But, in each instance, the Civil War in cinema has provided at least the introductory platform for learning more about the era’s issues, events and personalities.

Brian Steel Wills is the Director of the Center for the Study of the Civil War Era and Professor of History at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga.  He is the author of numerous works relating to the American Civil War.  His most recent publications are The River was Dyed with Blood: Nathan Bedford Forrest and Fort Pillow (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014), Confederate General William Dorsey Pender: The Hope of Glory (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2013) and George Henry Thomas: As True as Steel (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012), which was the recipient of the 2013 Richard Barksdale Harwell Award for the best book on a Civil War topic for the year 2012 presented by the Civil War Round Table of Atlanta.  His latest work is Inglorious Passages: Noncombat Deaths in the American Civil War (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2017), just out.

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