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BOOK REVIEWS263 regarding whether Coulter and Barclay belonged to any militia company prior to the organization of the Westmoreland Guards. Peskin supplements the text with maps reprinted from K. Jack Bauer's The Mexican War (1974), photographs of Coulter and Barclay, and a roster of the Westmoreland Guards that provides data regarding rank, age, height, birthplace, occupation, and service record. Students of the Mexican War will be in Peskin's debt for making available these informative, engrossing diaries. Robert E. May Purdue University Science and Medicine in the Old South. Edited by Ronald L. Numbers and Todd L. Savitt. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989. Pp. 408. $37.50.) This volume contains fifteen essays, six on science in the antebellum South and nine on medicine, most of which were originally presented at two symposia organized by the University of Mississippi Center for the Study of Southern Culture in 1982 and 1983. Editors Ronald Numbers and Todd Savitt have provided brief (too brief) introductions to the two sections of the book, only about five and one-half pages on science and four and one-half pages on medicine. The great diversity of material and approaches need more help from the editors to focus the collection. Most contributors deal with the period 1830-60, and most make a conscious effort to use a "comparative perspective," judging the South relative to other sections of the country. While slavery did not necessarily kill "every germ of creative thought" in the Old South (9), as historian Samuel Eliot Morison once declared, the rural agricultural economy with its relative lack of cities made it hard for "the South" to keep up with the Northeast in scientific activity. Ronald Numbers and Janet Numbers in their "reappraisal" find that the South held its own in comparison with other nonurban regions (as measured by societies, libraries, publication in journals, leadership in national organization), and they conclude that "the antebellum southern mind was only relatively—not essentially—unscientific" (13). Charles Dew describes the way in which the employment of slave labor in the iron industry proved a clear hindrance to technological innovation. Other papers discuss scientific societies , the introduction of the sciences to the college curriculum, experimental efforts of planter-scientists, and the absence of hostility to science in the thought of "gentlemen theologians" (as long as science supported "natural theology"). All these studies suggest that the Southern way of science was not as "distinctive" (or lacking) as sometimes portrayed. 264CIVIL WAR HISTORY The studies of Southern medical topics reveal somewhat more regional distinctiveness, but even there it is a matter of degree and emphasis. John Harley Warner points out that the argument for Southern medical distinctiveness was consistent with the medical theory of the times; climate and other local conditions as well as racial and other group and individual variations were believed to influence disease manifestations and called for regional differences in diagnosis and treatment. In a subtle and complex analysis, Warner insists it was the intensity (not the substance ) of the argument by southern physician-intellectuals, prompted by their professional as well as political insecurities, that made it distinctive (to some extent). K. David Patterson provides the best case for distinctiveness in describing the South as an underdeveloped region, epidemiologically distinctive because of three African diseases (yellow fever, falciparum malaria, and hookworm) brought in with slavery and long prevailing wherever climate, appropriate insect vectors, and demographic and economic influences sustained them. He also notes, however , the several different disease environments or "subrogions" within the South itself. Other historians who contribute to this collection give attention to public health, medical education, ecology, domestic medicine , slave health, black folk beliefs, and mental health care. Some essays emphasize difference; others similarity. (Is the glass half full or half empty?) Some offer interpretations slightly at odds with others. Several of the papers have already been published elsewhere in somewhat different form. And as always some are more thoughtprovoking , more original than others. The "comparative perspective" is useful but problematic. Which parts or elements of "the South" can represent the whole; how is the South to be defined (the contributors do not all include the same set of states as "the South...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 263-264
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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