In Down Along with That Devil's Bones, journalist Connor Towne O'Neill takes a deep dive into American history, exposing the still-raging battles over monuments dedicated to one of the most notorious Confederate generals, Nathan Bedford Forrest. Through the lens of these conflicts, O'Neill examines the legacy of white supremacy in America.
Connor Towne O’Neill, a Pennsylvania native author and journalist who teaches at Auburn University in Alabama, set out to understand American racism by visiting monuments of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general who represented all that was evil about the South ... O’Neill’s first book is a dazzling reminder that American racism is robust and virulent. He writes with a fluency of American culture that portends well for his books to come.
The narrative excels in blending personal and historical throughout, but especially in Memphis, as the author visits a church on the site of Forrest's former slave mart and delves into the general's involvement in the 1864 Fort Pillow Massacre ... O'Neill is a talented writer, and this powerful meditation on collective memory is necessary reading for knowing ourselves and our history.
This timely, engaging book examines whiteness through controversial Confederate symbols and statues that have become a focal point in the national discussion about systemic racism and white supremacy. Producer of the podcast White Lies, O’Neill focuses on several statues and a building named after Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, who looms large in Confederate lore ... O’Neill uses a literary-journalism style and gives voice to both sides of the argument ... Still, it’s clear in both O’Neill’s personal reckoning and his brief history of the monuments and their ties to white supremacy that he believes they are one of the many ways we keep 'intact the things we want to believe about our country, our past, our present, ourselves.'