American History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley

The American Civil War

Series 1 - Episode 2 The American Civil War

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Review

Of course Lucy Worsley can’t resist the temptation to dress up like Gone with the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara. So here she is in a gigantic hooped skirt and pink frou-frou frock on the veranda of a Southern villa. “You look darlin’, darlin’,” says the cheerful tour guide who straps Worsley into a corset and sends her on her way.

But there is a serious purpose behind this, as Worsley examines the myths surrounding the American Civil War and the role of Abraham Lincoln. Was he more a pragmatist than a great campaigner against slavery?

Racial tensions still burn in the Deep South and she visits Charlottesville, Virginia where a 2017 demonstration, organised by the Unite the Right group against the removal of a statue commemorating Confederate hero Robert E Lee from a public park, exploded into violence. A white supremacist drove his car into counter-protestors, killing Heather Heyer and injuring scores more.

Summary

Lucy Worsley debunks the myths behind the American Civil War, revealing how its history has been retold over the years to promote freedom and equality but also hatred and division. She reveals how Abraham Lincoln's personal views, and the behaviour of his troops towards African Americans, were not as noble as they appeared. She also learns how history was rewritten in a bid to downplay the evils of slavery, and how a 1905 blockbuster film about the Civil War relaunched the Ku Klux Klan with terrifying results.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Lucy Worsley
Executive Producer Chris Granlund
History