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BOOK REVIEWS365 understandably villainous light. In contrast, such caustic editors as John M. Daniel and Robert Barnwell Rhett, Jr., emerge as shining knights crusading gallantly for the truth. Of possibly greater interest to many readers is the wealth of information Andrews amassed on heretofore obscure reporters in the field. Indeed , in many respects the main actors in this drama of the Confederate press were such correspondents as George W. Bagby, William T. Thompson , Samuel C. Reid, Jr., Felix de Fontaine, Henry Timrod, Peter W. Alexander and William G. Shepardson. For example, Andrews reveals the previously unknown fact that Shepardson was the anonymous "Bohemian " of the Richmond Dispatch as well as the "Evelyn" of the Mobile Register. Included with the heavily documented text is a glossary of illustrations , an appendix on the identity of the correspondent "Shadow," a roster of ninety-five southern reporters, and a thirty-four-page bibliography that stands as a testimonial to excellent scholarship. Dr. Andrews' conclusion ably summarizes not only his own feelings but the achievements of his subject as well. The southern press, he states, "did its best to provide full news coverage of the military and political events of the war. ... It portrayed the heroism of a small band of patriots battling as their Revolutionary forefathers had done against overwhelming odds and performing knighdy deeds of the kind of which Robert E. Lee and Jeb Stuart were authentic symbols. Although it reflected the fluctuating moods of Southern men and women, it flayed incompetent leadership, castigated defeatism and disloyalty, and struggled to survive in the face of straggering difficulties." James I. Robertson, Jr. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University The Freedmens Bureau in Louisiana. By Howard Ashley White. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1970. Pp. 227. $7.50.) Howard Ashley White's study of the Freedmen's Bureau in Louisiana fulfills all the demands of such a work. That is, it covers every aspect of the Bureau's efforts in considerable detail, giving the reader a complete and authoritative account which will undoubtedly remain the definitive work for years to come. White has used the major manuscript sources, especially the voluminous Freedmen's Bureau records in the National Archives, as well as many collections relevant to Louisiana Reconstruction history. This is the second of recent state studies of the Freedmen's Bureau, the first one being Martin Abbott's The Freedmens Bureau in South Carolina, 1865-1872. Professor White's work takes a more critical view of the Bureau, somewhat along the lines of George Bentley's definitive history of the Bureau published in 1955. The reason for this may be that 366CIVIL WAR HISTORY White apparently did the research for his book and wrote it at about the same time as Bentley and in the climate that prevailed in the mid1950s . In updating his work, White has paid deference to current interpretations of Reconstruction history which, superimposed on his older, original assessment, makes for some inevitable inconsistencies. He made his revisions, however, before the appearance of William S. McFeeley's highly critical Yankee Stepfather: General O. O. Howard and the Freedmen, published in 1968. McFeeley and White agree on several points but with a different end in view. So, for instance, both mention that Bureau agents tended to be partial to the white planters when it came to disputes over crop distribution. White's purpose is to downgrade the overall effectiveness of the Bureau; McFeeley's, to emphasize the racist attitudes of most of the Bureau agents. While conceding that the Bureau performed useful and generally successful work in the areas of relief, medical care, and provision for orphans , White asserts the overall failure of the Bureau in its land program , labor, and civil rights policies, and even education. White's treatment of the subject of Negro education in Louisiana is an example of his inconsistency. The bulk of his material leads to the conclusion that the educational effort of the Bureau was its "most significant and outstanding failure." Yet in the very next paragraph he asserts that even the very modest accomplishment of the Bureau in its educational program "was a magnificant achievement." Granted that the author has qualified these contradictory conclusions...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 365-367
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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