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182CIVIL WAR HISTORY with views of the Indian enemy in the West, while the next two turn to weapons and their inventors in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries . The rest of the book retraces those periods, from the SpanishAmerican War through Teddy Roosevelt and World War I through the writings of many different authors. Professor Leonard's conclusion is the basis for the book's title; because Civil War veterans placed themselves "above the battle," Americans in subsequent years were left to find their own way out of the dilemmas of modern war. By the 1920s they had done so. Professor Leonard is a professional historian, schooled at the Universities of Michigan and California, and he currently teaches journalism at the latter. His skills in history and communications combine in a book that is both soundly researched and smoothly written. Perhaps more important , these talents combine to provide one of the best available surveys of the writings on war of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Not only in the text and footnotes, but also in his concluding bibliographical essay the author gives a useful critique of that literature. This adds another valuable dimension to a book that helps to explain the Civil War as a key event in American history. Thomas W. Collier University of Michigan North Carolina Planters and Their Children, 1800-1860. By Jane Turner Censer. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1984. Pp. xxv, 191. $20.00.) Jane Turner Censer's study of family life among North Carolina's antebellum planter elite merits careful, critical consideration from scholars. Skillfully combining the techniques of quantitative analysis with the more traditional, narrative approach to history, Censer has produced an extremely well-crafted book. Her purpose in examining the planters' family relations is twofold. Building upon the work of Daniel Blake Smith, Censer is also critical of modernization theory as it has been applied to the study of the family . Her view of the genteel Southern family places her at odds with those historians who stress the role of patriarchy in the organization of family life on the plantation. Censer portrays her subjects as warm, affectionate, kind, sentimental, child-centered people. Their marital relations were based upon the concept ofcompanionship and their child-rearing methods reflected a commitment to egalitarian principles. Thus, her findings provide additional evidence that the "modern" child-centered family was not necessarily shaped by the forces of urbanization and industrialization. Censer's focus on domestic arrangements and cultural values provides the framework for her second (and more controversial) point: the question of "southern distinctiveness" as a cause of the Civil War. Here Censer sides with those historians who emphasize the common cultural values BOOK REVIEWS183 shared by the Northern and Southern elite. Censer's picture of the great planters' private world does not resemble the one drawn by Eugene Genovese . The values of leisure, conspicuous consumption, and a "disdain for work" (p. 152) had no place in the planters' society according to Censer. Instead, planters socialized their children to "the importance of education , hard work, thrift, self-control, and achievement" (p. 152). Questioning the thesis that "deep culture cleavages existed between the sections" (p. 150), Censer looks elsewhere for the cause of the Civil War. She locates it in the South's commitment to the peculiar institution which she attempts to divorce (with little explanation) from Southern culture. Just as "slavery bifurcated planters' lives," she concludes, "it similarly drove a wedge between sections which otherwise shared many values" (p. 154). Despite the smoothness of its presentation, Censer's book is troubling to read. One cannot help but feel that Censer approaches her subjects with an uncritical eye; she views her great planters through rose-colored lenses. Censer depicts a society based on mutual admiration, one where conflict and dissension have no place. Parents provide strong role models and lovingly encourage their children to achieve. Children cheerfully and willingly accept and internalize their parents' values. Parents seldom (if ever) resort to pulling rank or the purse strings in order to make their children toe the mark. Here though, by her own admission, Censer is on somewhat shaky ground. For example, the practice of "advancing" land to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 182-184
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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