Some sad news – author Tony Horwitz has died. I read his Confederates in the Attic over 20 years ago, and was taken both with his humourous writing and his focus on the war’s lingering effects on America. I had actually earmarked a review of his new book the other day, with the intention of sharing it here as a post. I clicked the mention of him in the New Yorker thinking it was a review, and was startled to find an obituary.
Horwitz, who died Monday, at the age of sixty, was a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, a former New Yorker staff writer, and a distinguished American historian with a singular voice, full of compassion and delight and wry observations and self-deprecating humor—layers that covered but never obscured his deep and abiding moral seriousness about the task of the historian as the conscience of a nation.
The author of “Baghdad Without a Map,” Horwitz undertook adventure. He reported on strikes. He covered the war in Iraq. He once retraced the ocean voyage of James Cook. But, most lastingly, he wrote about the Civil War and its tortured legacy of hatred and division, battles that never ended. Those pen-and-ink soldiers, in the pages of Horwitz’s many books, came to life in their descendants, champions of the Confederacy, modern-day Klansmen, anguished, angry, and haunted.