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BOOK REVIEWS29I clearly views guerrilla violence as the most significant factor in determining East Tennessee's fate, both during the war and afterwards. The partisan war split virtually every institution in East Tennessee, including the churches; only the courts remained to some degree autonomous. As Fisher notes, the violence perpetrated in East Tennessee was appalling. Yet it did not occur outside an ideological context; on the contrary, both sides realized clearly that guerrilla warfare would largely determine control of the region. After Federal forces occupied East Tennessee, Unionists were given leeway to settle old scores. This extended even into the postbellum era, which resulted in an exodus of prominent secessionists. Yet Reconstruction splintered the loyalists in East Tennessee, as some firmly embraced Republican policies while others objected to emancipation and the disfranchisement offormer foes. Fisher concludes that East Tennessee remained a region in search of an identity for years after the war, albeit one tied to Republicanism at the local level. These are both important works. If Noe and Wilson have tantalized scholars with the vast potential found in studying Civil WarAppalachia, Noel Fisher has provided a sterling benchmark for those writers to emulate. Christopher Losson St. Joseph, Missouri Frank Blair: Lincoln 's Conservative. By William E. Parrish. (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1998. Pp. xv, 318. $29.95.) William E. Parrish, the author of several books on Missouri history, continues his scholarly endeavors with an outstanding biography of Frank Blair. Parrish traces the political career of Blair from the 1840s through the 1870s. Blair became a noteworthy figure because of his oratorical abilities, which could either mesmerize or infuriate audiences. Parrish asserts that Blair's all-consuming passion for politics dominated his entire life. Although Blair tried practicing law and working as a Union Pacific railroad commissioner, his devotion to political affairs cost him time with his family. Financial troubles deepened due to bad business investments and providing for a household of eight children. He also experienced health problems because of his heavy drinking and smoking. According to Parrish, Blair's obsession with politics stems from his family background. His father, Preston, had been the editor ofthe Washington Globe, a Jacksonian newspaper. Family members were ardent supporters of the Democratic party during the 1 830s and 1840s. However, with the question of slavery expansion into the western territories, their zeal for the party began to wane. The Blairs shifted loyalties to the growing Free Soil movement because they feared a growing slavocracy in the West—a black labor force threatened white economic interests. The family believed blacks were inferior, and racist sentiments were reflected in their political ideas. Frank supported colonization efforts, 292CIVIL WAR HISTORY and his speeches and writings on the subject earned him recognition within the Republican party. Eventually, the free labor platform was adopted by the Republicans , and the Blairs supportedAbraham Lincoln's 1 860 bid for the presidency. The Civil War brought new political and military challenges for Blair. His first concern was that Missouri, as a border slave state, should remain with the Union. However, many of Blair's subsequent political actions left him with enemies. He alienated German voters and Radical Republicans over the immediate emancipation policy that John C. Fremont enacted while Missouri was under martial law. He wanted a gradual emancipation policy along with colonization , but he decided to support Lincoln's compensation plan. Blair also rejected the idea ofallowing blacks tojoin the military, but Parrish fails to explain why he later changed his mind on this policy. By 1 862 Blair was Lincoln's chief conservative spokesman in Congress and emerged as the Radicals main opponent . Moreover, Parrish believes that Blair was one of the better political generals . He proved himself to be a very capable and fearless leader atVicksburg. He also established a good rapport with General William T. Sherman during the Atlanta Campaign and, as commander of the 17th Corps during the March to the Sea, helped bring total warfare to the deep south. Blair resumed political activity in the post-war period to challenge Radical Reconstruction. Angered by Radical congressional control, he began aligning himself with the Democrats once again. He later helped form a Democratic alliance...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 291-292
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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