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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 by the individuals who were most responsible for die Daughters' success. Motíier Mary Hyacinth Le Conniat , leader of die mission, wrote a majority of die missives; Bishop August Martin and Fatìier Yves-Marie Le Conniat, Mother Hyacinth's brother, authored most of die rest. The letters provide much worthwhile information on social customs and economic conditions in northern and central Louisiana during die Civil War and Reconstruction period. They also shed as much light upon die characters of diese dedicated, but very human, French missionaries as tìiey do upon die society to which they ministered. Motìier Hyacinth apparently never quite overcame a certain disdain for Americans, whom she thought guilty of the grossest materialism . "These people have no religion," she wrote: "They are baptized, married, and buried, that is all. Life is used for enjoying gold, pleasure and honors!" She also deplored American tastes in dress and food. And die work habits of Louisianians did not impress her favorably; she tìiought it deplorable diat only die blacks did physical labor. White 270civil war history Americans, she concluded, were more handsome than the French, "but they are effeminate and lazy." Mother Hyacinth and her band of missionaries nevertheless adjusted to American ways and learned to tolerate them. In this connection historians will find Mother Hyacinth's changing views on Negroes interesting . On first encountering the slave market in New Orleans she was horrified , and she indignantly rejected a suggestion by the Bishop that she purchase a slave for use at the Daughters' convent. Within a few months, however, she had overcome her repugnance enough to buy a bondsman. And when the slave escaped, in 1863, she revealed the extent to which she had embraced Southern attitudes when she wrote: "Our ugly Simon, tired of being happy [has escaped], taking with him one of our horses. That's what a slave is!!!" Mother Hyacinth was not much interested in politics, but when the war began she, like most other southern Catholics, unquestioningly supported the southern cause. Her general views of the war were naive and simplistic, but her first-hand observations of Banks's operations provide interesting information on the Red River Campaign. Sister McCants has done a competent job of editing. Her translation is fluent and she has selected letters carefully with an eye for continuity and interest. She is particularly good at identifying church figures mentioned in the correspondence and in explaining historical developments affecting the Daughters of the Cross...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 269-270
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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