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362CIVIL WAR HISTORY denies the usefulness of historical analysis. It is no wonder that the conclusions presented are less than distinct. Gerald Sorin State University of New York New Paltz Travel on Southern Railroads, 1828-1860. By Eugene Alvarez. (University, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 1974. Pp. 221. $6.75.) Traveling through the South by railroad was a levelling experience which "reflected the country's spirit of primitive democracy in an age when rubbing shoulders with all classes was a uniquely American phenomenon." By utilizing those comments of foreigners who traveled on southern railroads Alvarez presents some interesting perceptions of the conditions of travel in the early nineteenth century . All passengers, regardless of social class, underwent the same experiences, whether exhilarating, uncomfortable, inconvenient, or dangerous. Engines belching forth choking smoke and sparks sped at twenty miles per hour down unsafe, crooked single tracks, over unsteady bridges and poorly designed grades. As a result, accidents occurred frequently, particularly during the 1850's when a rapid expansion caught the railroads without adequate provisions for safety. The American innovation of the center aisle passenger car, filled with tobacco chewers, noisy children, and uncomfortable accommodations , was a conspicuous example of the American concept of an egalitarian society. With the exceptions of blacks and women, who were accorded separate cars or places on the train, all mingled together and equally shared the wonders and uncertainties of the railroad. Where railroad stations existed all men suffered the same inconveniences and mingled freely. The coming of the railroad contributed greatly to the economic prosperity and sectional pride of the South. The enthusiasm of southerners for building, shipping and traveling on railroads was unbounded. Although Alvarez states that "The rail car was one of America's greatest economic and social levellers," the impact of railroading on southern morals and customs is not the topic of this volume. More generally he presents the impact of southern morals and customs on railroading. This volume is well written and interesting. The observations made by foreign travelers are organized sufficiently well to provide a flavor of conditions on the railroads as well as some insights into slavery, safety, the character of the people who rode and worked book reviews363 on trains, as well as the nature of the countryside through which they passed. However, little new information about railroading is provided. These travelers elucidated rather than investigated. Charles H. Clark Harrisburg Area Community College Antebellum Pensacela and the Military Presence. By Ernest F. Dibble. (Pensacola: Mayes Printing Company, 1974. Pp. 143.) In recent years, many historical studies have been published which attempt to trace the development of cities, towns and villages so that the urban problems of today can better be understood. Although it is unlikely that Professor Dibble prepared his book to be such a study, it could easily serve that purpose. Antebellum Pensacola is one of the few communities in the United States, if not the only one, which was almost totally dependent on the military, both Navy and Army, for its existence. The military planned part of the town, employed most of the inhabitants, and purchased a large amount of the local products. Regrettably, this subject is discussed all too briefly in the book. A short book, it is a combination narrative and documentary presentation of six aspects of antebellum Pensacola history. Some of the subjects, especially the use of slave labor by the military and the Army career of William H. Chase, are quite interesting but are not treated in enough detail to be worthwhile. The documentary sections of the book include transcripts of letters, reports, memoranda, tracts and excerpts from formerly published works. These documents are meant to better illustrate the subjects discussed in the narrative portions of the book. Some are of value but one can not help wondering"if this work would not have been better had it been a totally narrative history using only the significant passages from the documents where necessary. Dibble's strongpoints are his "Chronology of Antebellum Pensacola " and the "Essay on Sources." Unfortunately, many deficiencies are recognizable, including the lack of an index, numerous typographical errors and poor quality reproductions of the illustrations . Regardless of the criticisms given, the book...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 362-363
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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