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enee to black pianists ofthe time, said, "They use die piano exacdy like a banjo." The tango, all the rage along with ragtime, led to a new "tango" banjo, based on the mandolin, which had no fifth string and was played by pick. This tenor banjo eclipsed the five-string banjo in popularity, as it was more suited to the fast chording demanded by die new music oftheJazz Age, and Gura and Bollman leave off their story as the five-string banjo's rise to popularity ends. In the Appalachians, diough, the five-string remained central to that population's social music, but it didn't attain national prominence again until the 1940s saw the introduction of bluegrass music. "It has been the banjo's long journey from the southern plantation to the Victorian parlor that has remained shrouded," Gura and Bollman conclude, "in part because ofthe scarcity ofsource materials through which such a history could be assembled . . ." The sheer volume and incredible condition of the authors' source material brings one back to this very fine book again and again, for in these images we can see into the nineteenth century, and with the informative text we are given not only the rich history of the banjo but also a remarkable study of the American marketplace. A Consuming Fire The Fall ofthe Confederacy in the Mind of the White Christian South By Eugene Genovese University of Georgia Press, 1999 169 pp. Cloth $24.95 Reviewed by Annette Laing, assistant professor of colonial and revolutionary American history at Georgia Southern University, whose recent work includes a book about the relationship between Anglican missionaries and popular religious culture in British America. Poor God. He must find it thoroughly tiresome to be constandy called upon to endorse all sorts ofpeculiar causes. Surely, few causes for which His blessing has ever been solicited (and assumed to be granted) were more peculiar than the "Peculiar Institution" itself, slavery in the antebellum South. After all of the Biblical justifications presented on its behalf, not to mention the supposed patronage of the Almighty, it is easy to imagine how devastating the South's defeat in the Civil 84 southern cultures, Fall2000 : Reviews War was for many of slavery's defenders. Yet not everyone was unprepared for this disaster. Southern Christian intellectuals had already sounded jeremiads in which they warned that the South was doomed unless it reformed slavery in accordance with Christian ideas. Eugene Genovese examines the antebellum Christian call to reform slavery— and the consequences of its failure—in A Consuming Fire, the published version of his Lamar Memorial Lectures given at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. Although the subtide promises that the book deals with "The Fall of the Confederacy in the Mind ofthe White Christian South," its scope extends beyond this promise. It emerges as a broad assessment ofthe efforts ofsouthern intellectuals to reconcile first slavery, and dien postwar racial segregation, with Christianity. A Consuming Fire focuses on the southern theorists who argued that God had indeed entrusted white southerners with slavery, but that he also required them to render it humane. Genovese discusses the reformers' arguments and assesses whether slaveowners were plagued by guilt over slavery. His conclusion, implied in the subtide, is that slaveowners and reformists shared a single view, and that dierefore slaveowners agreed with die theorists: They felt no guilt about slavery perse or about the exploitation oflabor that it involved, since God had apparendy approved the arrangement. They were, however, troubled by its concomitant impact on families. The question ofslaveowners' views is an intriguing one, and itis commendable diat Genovese regards slaveowners as real people who were products of their time, rather than as Legree-esque devils incarnate. However, this little volume raises more questions than it answers for those who wish to understand some of the conflicted personalities behind the facade of the plantation legend. Perhaps this is a result of the inevitable constraints of a volume of this sort, and most especially die limitations of the lecture format. For whatever reason, most slaveowners remain shadowy figures in this book. The majority ofthe voices we hearin support ofreform are those ofthe clergy, for the intellectuals whom Genovese cites...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 84-87
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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