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book reviews91 This is an excellent volume on Sheridan's professional career, and very readable, but the author gives little of the general's personal life. Chapter 6, which describes the post-Civil War army, fully justifies the second half of the book's title. One questions the author's statement that "Sheridan's name is not identified widi the West at all." The author generally stands aloof; he leaves the reader to make his own moral judgments. This volume is well researched. An impressive array of notes covers sixty-two pages, and the bibliography takes twenty-five more. Phil Sheridan is central throughout, but when Congress voted him a Fourth Star it was in recognition ofhis Civil War fame, not as a reward for his Indian fighting. Palmer H. Boeger East Central University William W. Holden: North Carolina's Political Enigma. By Horace W. Raper. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985. Pp. xvi, 376. $29.95.) As the subtitle of this volume aptly suggests, William W. Holden was nothing ifnot enigmatic in the central role heplayed in North Carolina's history during the era ofthe Civil War and Reconstruction. Perhaps the most charitable thing to say about this biography of Holden by Horace W. Raper, a professor at Tennessee Technological University, is that the puzzle is yet to be solved. Too intent upon defending and justifying his subject, Raper ends up repeatedly asserting that Holden identifiedwith and spoke for"the people" and was a lifelong foe of"the aristocrats." Yet such a flimsy analysis is so unsatisfactory that it forces one to wonder ifHolden truly was merely a petty, self-serving opportunist, as his many bitter enemies charged during his lifetime. Surely one key to the puzzle of Holden's career, as Raper himself admits, is that die illegitimate and skimpily educated Tar Heel spent much ofhis life craving political office, particularly the governorship, as a means of vindicating and justifying himself and his family. Though appointed as provisional governor by President Johnson in 1865, Holden was defeated in die election later that year. Finally reaching his goal ofthe governorship in 1868, he was impeached and ousted from the office two years later. An energetic and able journalist, Holden left die Whig party in 1843 to assume the editorship ofthe Democratic party's newspaper in Raleigh, the Standard. He and his newspaper quickly became a powerful force in the state's political life. Yet the Democratic party denied him the gubernatorial nomination in 1858 because, according to Raper, upper-class party leaders scorned his humble origins and feared his influence with the masses. This, Raper suggests, ultimately "caused him to leave the party and cost the state and Democratic party his valuable leadership" (32). Holden's militant secessionism in the 1850s and his switch to moderation during the actual secession crisis of 1860-61 are well-known to historians . Raper accounts for the development by noting Holden's growing 92CIVIL WAR history dissatisfaction with the "slaveholding aristocracy" and his deep love for the nation. At first an ally of Zebulon Vance in the successful struggle during the war against die Confederate party in North Carolina, Holden broke widi the popular governor to become die leader of perhaps die most powerful peace movement within the Confederacy. One of the recurring themes that Holden emphasized in his clamor for a negotiated peace was that die continuation ofdie war would mean the end ofslavery and thus die ruin of die South's social structure. It is but one of die many ironies in Holden's convoluted career that by the time he had become a Republican in 1867, he, like other Southern white Republicans and even more Northern ones, had become reconciled to the enfranchisement of the blacks. Yet he broke with the Republican party in 1881 after President Garfield refused to reappoint him to die Raleigh postmastership, one ofthe reasons mentioned by Raper is diat Holden had grown disenchanted with the Republican advocacy of "black social equality" (237). Maybe someday some historian can make sense out ofHolden and his career. Roberte Durden Duke University A Good Southerner: The Life ofHenry A. Wise ofVirginia. By Craig M. Simpson. (Chapel Hill...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 91-92
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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