It seems to have started with Roy Kinnard's The Blue and the Gray on the Silver Screen: More Than Eighty Years of Civil War Movies, a kind of guide issued in 1996.
Things picked up in 2002 with Bruce Chadwick's The Reel Civil War, a critical work with a pop culture flavor very concerned about the effects of Southern romanticism on ACW war movies. This was also the year of Robert B. Toplin's analysis of the history bits in war movies, Reel History: In Defense of Hollywood.
That's where things lay until 2006, when we saw Gone with the Glory: The Civil War in Cinema by Brian S. Wills: this tome had an historiographic dimension.
In late 2007 we had two new additions to the subgenre. In July there was Memory and Myth: The Civil War in Fiction and Film from Uncle Tom's Cabin to Cold Mountain by Sachsman, Rushing, and Morris. Just before the new year Russell William published Civil War Films for Teachers and Historians. (This last seems more of a pedagogical exercise than historiography or filmography.)
Yesterday, Gary "Stop the Madness" Gallagher himself chipped in with Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know about the Civil War. The publisher's promotion begins,
"More than 60,000 books have been published on the Civil War. Most Americans, though, get their ideas about the war—why it was fought, what was won, what was lost—not from books but from movies, television, and other popular media."Here is the opening paragraph from the publisher's promotion for Chadwick's book in 2002:
"More movies have been produced about the Civil War than about any other aspect of American history. From 1903 (Uncle Tom’s Cabin) to the present, film studios have released more than eight hundred silent and sound pictures about the nation’s most cataclysmic event. In this wonderfully comprehensive study, Bruce Chadwick first shows us how historians, journalists, playwrights, poets and novelists of the late nineteenth century—partly as an effort to reconcile former antagonists—rewrote the war’s history to create enduring legends, most of which had no basis in reality."My my. And reconcile antagonists? Here's Gallagher's publisher again (emphasis added):
Gallagher argues that popular understandings of the war have been shaped by four traditions that arose in the nineteenth century and continue to the present: the Lost Cause, in which Confederates are seen as having waged an admirable struggle against hopeless odds; the Union Cause, which frames the war as an effort to maintain a viable republic in the face of secessionist actions; the Emancipation Cause, in which the war is viewed as a struggle to liberate 4 million slaves and eliminate a cancerous influence on American society; and the Reconciliation Cause, which represents attempts by northern and southern whites to extol "American" virtues and mute the role of African Americans.A cause for everyone.
As I have said here before, the "Lost Cause" as handled by Gallagher and Nolan is an underdeveloped historiographic schema more closely resembling a Usenet meme suitable for trolling newsgroups. Having failed to make an adequate case for the strawman he calls "Lost Cause" history, Gallagher expands the franchise to include three new products.
Now I haven't read the book. If he treats, for instance, "the Reconciliation Cause" as a notion and not as a "tradition" he will be on sounder ground than he was with his "Lost Cause" stuff. But if he ranks the three new "causes" as bona fide "traditions" this will be madness indeed.