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BOOK REVIEWS339 bellum Southern society, organized around the perennial question of Southern distinctiveness; LaWanda Cox's examination of Reconstruction policy and Southern blacks; and Harold D. Woodman's discussion of change versus continuity in the postbellum economic order. This book offers broad thematic coverage, paying careful attention to race and gender, politics and economics, class structure, religion, and urban history. Chronological balance, however, is less evident. Only one essay , by George C. Rogers, Jr., focuses on Colonial and Revolutionary-era Southern history, a time span of almost two centuries that has received a great deal of historical attention in recent years. By contrast, four essays deal specifically with the South since the 1890s. Focus on very recent Southern history seems especially problematical, despite the existence of some important work, for much ofthe literature lacks a thorough grounding in historical perspective, analysis, and sources, and ofnecessityassumes a "current events"character. As Hugh Davis Graham, Jr., points out in his essay on post-World War II Southern politics, "recent American political history . . . has been dominated by political journalists and political scientists" (404). Overall, however, Interpreting Southern History provides students and scholars with an excellent guide to recent historical literature on the South. This book also demonstrates the current vitality ofSouthern history, which has shed whateverparochialism it mayonce have possessed and entered the mainstream of American history. Indeed, as the essays in this volume reveal , much of the most exciting work in American history is now being done on the South. Peter Kolchin University of Delaware The Private Civil War: Popular Thought During the Sectional Conflict. By Randall C. Jimerson. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1988 Pp. xiv, 270. $24.95.) Randall C. Jimerson, university archivist at the University of Connecticut, has produced an excellent study of popular attitudes in both North and South during the Civil War. In the tradition of Bell I. Wiley (whose influence the author readily acknowledges), Jimerson draws on an impressive array of letters and diaries, both published and unpublished, to provide a coherent and readable account ofthe perspectives from which people from all social classes and military ranks in both sections viewed the major issues ofthe war period. Jimerson concentrates on four themes: the reasons cited by both Northern and Southern citizens for their support of the war, the effects of the war on racial attitudes, each side's perception of the enemy, and internal divisions in each section. 340CIVIL WAR HISTORY Jimerson's selection ofsources clearly illustrates the wide-spread ambivalence with which many viewed the momentous events that were occurring. His handling ofthe changing attitudes in the North toward blacks, particularly black soldiers, is both interesting and suggestive. In like manner, Jimerson 's sources demonstrate dramatically Southern alarm about the loosening of the control of slavery as the war progressed. In dealing with both social and sectional divisions in the South (and to a lesser extent in the North), the author's sources speak eloquently and convincingly. Ina departure from the format used in most of the book, Jimerson, when analyzing the perceptions each side had ofthe enemy, selects six participants to illustrate attitudes in both North and South. These six examples are well chosen, and this device proves to be quite effective. The book goes beyond merely providing an account of the views of various participants, however. Jimerson demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the current scholarship in the areas covered by his study, and the reader thus has excellent summaries of prevailing historical interpretations buttressed by relevant examples of primary sources. While not particularly blazing any new trails, the book is nonetheless extremely effective in reinforcing existing scholarship. Jimerson has thus succeeded in reducing several larger concepts of the period to their human common denominator. The documentation of both primary and secondary sources is impressive, and it is, incidentally, a pleasure to have footnotes instead of endnotes. Well focused, highly readable, and grounded authoritatively in current scholarship, Jimerson's monograph will prove to be a useful, indeed invaluable , addition to Civil War historiography. William A. Baughin University of Cincinnati The Saga ofthe Confederate Ram Arkansas. By Tom Z. Parrish. (Hillsboro , Texas: Hill College Press, 1987. Pp. xvii, 237, $15.00.) In the midst...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 339-340
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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