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268CIVIL WAR HISTORY work with important new perspectives. Thomas is certainly convincing in his major thesis that at least between 1861 and 1865 radical changes were championed by die conservative South. Wayne Flynt Samford University The White Savage: Racial Fantasies in the Postbellum South. By Lawrence J. Friedman. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970. Pp. vii, 184. $6.95.) Students of southern history have generally assumed that lower class "rednecks" and their demagogic spokesmen were primarily responsible for the region's drift to extreme racism after the Civil War. Such men as William G. Brownlow, "Marse Henry" Watterson, George W. Cable, and the pre-1900 Thomas E. Watson have been commonly portrayed as genuine dissenters and their various racial ideologies interpreted as "forgotten alternatives" to the rabid negrophobia that eventually engulfed the South, alternatives that offered Negroes an honest measure of freedom and human dignity. This interpretation has been convincingly challenged by Lawrence J. Friedman's The White Savage, a study of prominent southern racial theorists from Brownlow to Woodrow Wilson. According to Friedman, white southerners after Appomattox were confused over the future of race relations and divided between rebuilding the antebellum ties between master and slave or excluding the Negro altogether. First formulated by Brownlow and later adopted by Watterson, Thomas Nelson Page, Watson, Cable, and Wilson, southern thinkers reconciled the two contradictory themes into a strategy of "differential segregation," whereby humble Negroes who "knew their place" would be rewarded by contact with the master race and the dangerous "uppity niggers" would be controlled by ostracism and repression. This dual standard could help explain how Watterson could laud "industrious and happy" ficldhands, yet bemoan "barbarians" from "the wilds of Africa," how Page could reveal such nostalgic affection for an old servant woman, yet write such patently vicious literature, how Watson could defend a black lieutenant from a lynch mob, yet boast openly of "shooting" Negroes away from the polls. The research behind The White Savage is impressive by any standards . Friedman has not only examined a tremendous number of relevant secondary sources, he has sifted through an enormous quantity of newspapers, speeches, correspondence, novels, short stories, and official records to document his arguments. With this evidence and the gift of hindsight, he has convincingly cast doubt upon a number of accepted assumptions—Watterson's kindly paternalism, Watson's economic cgalitarianism , even Cable's heretical liberalism. Hc has added to our awareness of the narrow bigotry of Wilson's "New Freedom." His develop- BOOK REVIEWS269 ment of "differential segregation" has demonstrated the need to apply new perspectives to the post-bellum period. The White Savage, however, is not without serious flaws. In his eagerness to make his case, Friedman has embraced some psychoanalytic judgments that simply cannot be corroborated by factual criteria. Thus white southerners alarmed by black soldiers "may have seen a phallic implication in the Negro's gun." Among Watterson's motives for desiring conservative control of southern society was "the element of ego gratification." If Watson wanted black participation in the Populist movement, "it was only to dominate them the more." If he later exploited racial distinctions, it was "to avoid recognizing the crudity and duplicity of his own conduct." In short, Friedman has indulged in some rather arrogant "overkill" to support a thesis strong enough to stand without it. Despite these shortcomings, The White Savage does much to revise traditional interpretations of many important southern theorists. Friedman 's study merits the consideration of all serious scholars attempting to come to grips with the complex, often contradictory tenets of racial ideology in the postbellum South. Roger A. Fischer Southwest Missouri State College They Came to Louisiana: Letters of a Catholic Mission, 1854-1882. Edited by Sister Dorothea Olga McCants. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1970. Pp. xxiii, 263. $8.50.) The Daughters of the Cross contributed much to the cause of Catholic education in central and notìiern Louisiana. Beginning with a small, struggling school in Avoyelles Parish in 1855, the determined missionaries overcame penury, disease, civil war, and the indifference of a predominantly Protestant population to develop a thriving educational enterprise which today includes six parochial schools. This book consists of letters written...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 268-269
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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