– Martin Pengelly
Yesterday, today and tomorrow, the Guardian is joining in the national commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the pivotal event of the American Civil War. Because I use Ken Burns to survive the red-eye, have read Shelby Foote from start to finish and appreciate a truly splendid moustache, I’ve tried to help out here.
I also studied history at college and, thanks to this bloke, took a close interest in the English Civil War. I therefore think myself eminently qualified to tell you that your Civil War is better than our Civil War, because:
a) Slavery, the thing your Civil War got rid of, stayed got rid of – give or take another 100 years of appalling inequality, violence and oppression, but never mind for now.
b) Royalty, the thing our Civil War got rid of, didn’t stay got rid of – and we even asked for it back, for Christ’s sake.
c) Your Civil War films are better – you get Lincoln and Glory and the great Jeff Daniels saving the day. We get Tim Roth with stick-on warts and 70s stuff which casts the terminally boring Levellers and Diggers as proto-hippies.
d) Your re-enactors are… just as tragic as ours. I’ll stop there.
Advantage: US. Firmly.