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The war film is one of the oldest and most celebrated cinematic genres in history. Whether its the World War I trench war film All Quiet on the Western Front, or the psychedelic Vietnam opera Apocalypse Now, or Kathryn Bigelow's disturbing adrenaline rush The Hurt Locker, war movies continue to serve as a site for exploring how conflict rewrites the human psyche and refashions ideas about national identity. In this book, I explore how The Civil War acted as a dress rehearsal for the war film, a starting point for the intrinsic relationship between war and media. I show how the literary and artistic modes for representing the conflict (paintings, war photography, and written soldier testimonials) cemented different aesthetic formulas that contributed to the birth of war cinema at the end of the 19th century and are still used in war films in the present day.