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356CIVIL WAR HISTORY the Archives staff, including Memory F. Mitchell and Terrell Armistead Crow. Paul D. Escott The University of North Carolina at Charlotte Henry Ward Beecher: Spokesman for a Middle-Chss America. By Clifford E. Clark, Jr. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1979. Pp. 288. $12.95.) This book recounts the career of one of mid-nineteenth century America's most illustrious clergymen. His life's pattern is well known. Son of the New England preacher and ecclesiastical statesman Lyman Beecher, Henry Ward—like his five brothers—entered the clergy as a matter of course. In 1847, after inauspicious western beginnings, he was called to the newly established Plymouth church in Brooklyn. There he remained until his death forty years later, his pronouncements on all sorts of matters securing ever-growing public attention and his renown increasing. As the author makes clear, Beecher never was satisfied with routine pastoral duties. He sought fame and personal recognition and self-consciously set about to attain them by means of exceptional, sometimes flamboyant, pulpit performance and prodigious literary and journalistic production. Mr. Clark recounts this American success story in clear and engaging style. He employs admirable economy of detail and nicely balances fact with interpretation. On most counts the book is convincing as well as successful. Its most striking shortcoming arises from the author's neglect to delineate the contours of the American middle class for which Beecher is said to have been spokesman, and clearly to explicate its values. The claim is made tiiat Beecher's fame and influence arose from his articulation of attitudes and values held by a new urban middle class: individualism, democracy, self-help, progress; but the degree to which these values differed from those of other "classes" at that time remains to be demonstrated. Beecher almost always enunciated conventional ideas, however florid the style in which they were couched. Seldom was he speculative or controversial. Perhaps the least intellectually able of all the Beecher clan, he never set forth theological views that were in any way innovative. Indeed it is doubtful that theology interested him at all. Neither did he evidence moral courage. It is hard to imagine him on any occasion following a course like that of his brother Edward, who risked position and reputation if not personal safety during the riots at Alton in which Elijah P. Lovejoy died. Henry Ward espoused a number of reform courses (he is here, counted among forerunners of the Social Gospel) but seldom prior to the moment when they were on the verge of becoming popular. Practically the only timehe ventured opinions conspicuously at variance with developing consensus was in the first years of Reconstruc- BOOK REVIEWS357 tion when for a time he put himself on the outs with Republican leaders by defending Andrew Johnson's policies. Whether he was guilty of dalliance with theneurotic Elizabeth Tilton, as her husband charged, matters little, for after his sensational trial for adultery, he found his popularity heightened rather than diminished. The explanation for this Victorian anomaly is not hard to find: the middle class for whom he allegedly spoke always had judged him accurately to be a performer rather than prophet, moral leader, intellectual, or teacher. Merton L. Ddxon Ohio State University City and Hinterhnd: A Case Study of Urban Growth and Regional Development. By Roberta Balstad Miller. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979. Pp. xiv, 179. $17.50.) Scholarship in economic history in the 1960's was much preoccupied with the processes of growth and development in American history. The work of Douglass North, Simon Kuznets, Moses Abramowitz, and George Rogers Taylor placed in sharp focus the problem of determining both the timing and the pattern of growth, especially in the ante-bellum period; and the quantitative studies of Robert Gallman and others established a firmer picture of structural change, relative sectoral growth rates, and periodization. All this work, mainly by economists, provided valuable context for historians' studies of regional or local economies. But all too often, such "context," consisting of aggregative national data (on commodity output, on GNP, on sectoral distribution of production), remained seemingly immune to modification by the findings of historians working on particular regions. Any informed...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 356-357
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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