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BOOK REVIEWS281 Daniel Pratt as well as other master builders and carpenters leaves a curious gap; and if the reader were unaware that Flannery O'Connor was a Milledgeville native, descendant of the Clines, and resident of the town until her death in 1964, he would never know otherwise from this book. O'Connor, the most distinguished alumna of Milledgeville's Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College) is not mentioned. Finally, where over 230 pages are spent on Milledgeville's first century and a half, not even thirty are devoted to its last onehundred-plus years. Reflective, one supposes, of the old Georgia adage that all the big potatoes are in the ground, but still a strange handling of a community's recent history. The overall effect, though, is of a distinguished historian writing at the peak of his powers. Bonner is discreet, sly, humorous, and eloquent by turn, but he is always perceptive. Milledgeville is, en toto, an excellent piece of ante-bellum Southern urban history. Phinizy Spalding University of Georgia The Presidency of Andrew Johnson. By Albert Castel. (Lawrence: The Regents Press of Kansas, 1979. Pp. viii, 262. $15.00.) The above work is a part of the American Presidency Series of the Regents Press of Kansas, each volume of which, the editors say, "will be a comprehensive, synthetic work which will draw upon the best in pertinent secondary literature, yet leave room for the author's own analysis and interpretation" (p. v). In addition to this synthesizing of scholarship, Castel uses several kinds of original source materials, including diaries, memoirs, and manuscripts, though not newspapers. Castel sees his task as (1) to write about Andrew Johnson's administration without allowing the central problem of Reconstruction to crowd out all other events; (2) to deal with the enigma of Johnson's motivation; and (3) to achieve some objectivity about a President who has been extravagandy praised and roundly condemned. He accomplishes these objectives very well. For example, he treats Johnson's administration primarily as a story of Reconstruction, but nevertheless uses other events, especially foreign affairs, as a way of relieving the tension of the drama. The author's way of dealing with Johnson's motivation is also relatively successful: hethinks the Presidenthad a strongcommitment to a somewhat antiquated Jacksonian democracy, a commitment closely linked to Johnson's personal need for self justification. This interpretation provides a way to explain actions that might otherwisebe seen as the president's bent of political suicide. But Castel may well underestimate one source of Johnson's motivation: he says that the President's 282civil war history "attitudes on race did not differ substantially from that [sic.] ofJefferson, Jackson, or Lincoln" (p. 228). To be sure, all four of these men believed in the superiority of whites. But the intensity of some of the statements that have been attributed to Johnson suggests that he may have given greater priority to these attitudes than did Jefferson, Lincoln or even Jackson. In his assessment of the views of Johnson and the views of historians about Johnson, Castel is a model of fairness and balance. Yet his own views on Johnson and Reconstruction, though always kept well in the background, are nevertheless candidly acknowledged. He believes, for example, that "Johnson was correct in asserting that ultimately the blacks in the Soudi would have to come to terms with the whites and that it would be the whites who would set the terms . . ." (p. 229). Personally, I see less inevitability in the outcome of Reconstruction. The Southern whites had not been able to set all the terms of race relations even when the Confederacy still had armies in the field. It seems to me that, with some luck, the men and women who ended slavery might have carried out even greater changes in the American system of racial stratification; or, by the same token, had things gonebetter forPresident Johnson, they might have accomplished less. These speculations, however, detract nothing from Castel's book. William McKee Evans California State Polytechnic University, Pomona The Civil War Letters of General Frank "BuW Paxton, C.S.A.: A Lieutenant of Lee ir Jackson. Edited by John Gallatin Paxton...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 281-282
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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