‘Is Civil War Tourism Fun?’

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  10.05.10 | 1:41 PM ET

This coming spring marks the 150th anniversary of the onset of the Civil War. John Swansburg, anticipating an upsurge in Civil War tourism as a result, is getting out ahead of the pack—and he’s documenting his jam-packed ten-day Civil War road trip in a series of dispatches for Slate. He begins the trip with a series of questions:

Over the next four years, scores of fathers will use the sesquicentennial celebration as an excuse to don their safari shirts and trundle forbearing wives and irritable children off to Gettysburg or Spotsylvania or Chickamauga. What will they see? Will they learn something they couldn’t have picked up from watching Ken Burns or reading Battle Cry of Freedom? Can visiting these places turn a layman into a buff? Is Civil War tourism fun?


Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.


2 Comments for ‘Is Civil War Tourism Fun?’

Grizzly Bear Mom 10.06.10 | 12:53 PM ET

Yes you will learn more by actually visiting the site because of the emotional, intellectual, physical, etc experience.  Although I had been to the tomb of the unknown in Arlington I was completely overcome by my visit to the American cemetary in Normandy.  There I saw a statues of “The Spirit of AMerican Youth” jumping into the air.  I saw the names of the mias and knew that their mothers continually pined for them.  I listened to the tune American the Beautiful tune about “of beatiful for heros proved in liberating strife who more than selves their country loved, and freedom more than life.”  I saw the 100 yard bluffs the solider climbed under Nazi machine gun fire.  And I wept big chest heaving sobs to realize that even ordinary men like my four uncles exhibited uncommon valor that day.  One doesn’t have that depth of experience sitting on the sofa.

James Chamberlain 11.12.10 | 11:12 AM ET

I have been a Civil War Reenactor for 10 years now, and visiting the battlefields have been fun, and I really enjoy them. I have been to numerous battlefields, and have seen a lot of ghost, and other strange things. I been in South Carolinia to Gettysburgs and in between.

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