The Gray Book, compiled by the Sons of Confederate Veterans in 1920, registers a number of objections with the South's portrayal during the American Civil War and afterwards, in the Reconstruction period.
This book offers a frank and upfront alternate viewpoint on both the causes and ramifications of the American Civil War, beginning with a clarification of the Emancipation Proclamation. Aspects of what the authors view as Unionist propaganda and falsehoods are also tackled; for instance, many veterans speak of a sense of shame at having to face false claims of prisoner mistreatment and other inhumane behaviors.
In the view of the authors, the South fought for independence and self-determination, rather than for the right to maintain the system of slavery. In support of this claim, the author notes how slavery was introduced and ingrained by European colonists, and how the incremental banning of slavery in the northerly states drove and intensified the practice in the southern states; such circumstances were not apparently favored by most residents of the South.
The final section offers a comparison between the South after reconstruction, and Germany following the Treaty of Versailles. Published soon after the Versailles treaty was ratified, the author notes how popular commentators immediately began to make direct comparisons between the two: the New York Times in particular is noted for vociferous reports which also mentioned slavery. The author concludes that the cause of Germany and of the South have barely a thing in common, save for the two being on the losing side of war.
This new edition reproduces the original text afresh, and is published complete with the notes and lists of contributing officers.