- Hardship and Hope: Missouri Women Writing about Their Lives., 1820-1920, and: Shadows on My Heart: The Civil War Diary of Lucy Rebecca Buck of Virginia (review)
- Civil War History
- The Kent State University Press
- Volume 44, Number 4, December 1998
- pp. 300-302
- View Citation
- Additional Information
300CIVIL WAR HISTORY in-depth comparison ofAfrican American and white women's work before and after the war. Other historians have studied household economies, work patterns , and the changes the war wrought; Weiner goes beyond this in examining how the ideology of domesticity shaped those patterns. She contends that the interaction of white women with female slaves created a domestic ideology unique to the South and that it was the South's peculiar adaptation of the ideology that prevented domesticity from becoming an effective philosophy identifying white women with their chattel and challenging slavery. She questions why the Southern formulation ofthe ideal prevented women of both races from viewing each other as individuals. As ambitious as Weiner's thesis is and as thorough as her examination of the evidence is, it lacks important details ofreligion's role in shaping not only Southem political ideology, but domestic ideology as well. Weiner refers to women's devotion and church attendance but never completely explains what they were devoted to or why they attended. Weiner fails to explore sources other than the North for antecedents of Southern domesticity. A subtle and inadequately supported assumption at that "transcending the boundaries of race and gender, sex with black women allowed white men to maintain their authority over all other groups in southern society" (135) underlies much of Weiner's thesis. Weiner accepts that violence or its threat undergirded not only slavery, but indeed the whole ofgender relations as well, when she asserts that "slave women may well have borne the brunt of the master's rage, thus inadvertently protecting white women from their husbands' violence" (61). Weiner's provocative assumptions deserve serious consideration by southern historians. Mistresses and Slaves will find an interested and entertained readership among students of women's history and the South. Its straightforward prose, readable footnotes, and explanations of the major themes in domesticity and women's history make it a likely candidate for course syllabi and class discussions. It provides a basic introduction to the most recent scholarship in women's history as well as the most frequently cited primary sources. Layne McDaniel Auburn, Alabama Hardship and Hope: Missouri Women Writing about Their Lives., 1820-1920. Edited by Carla Waal and Barbara Oliver Komer. (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1997, Pp. x, 315. $19.95.) Shadows on My Heart: The Civil War Diary ofLucy Rebecca Buck ofVirginia. Edited by Elizabeth R. Baer. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1997. Pp. xxxviii, 355. $50.00.) Throughout the course of history the accepted articulations about the lives of women have been primarily manifested in their civic axioms. Nonetheless, the truer and more legitimate expressions are found in their diaries, private papers, BOOK REVIEWS3OI and letters, which provide us with historically grounded social progressions that otherwise would not be visible on the surface. Superficially, the "cult of true womanhood" kept "piety, purity, submissiveness and domesticity" alive; yet, the undercurrent found in private journals provides for a more complex analysis and yields the crystalline images waiting to emerge. Shadows on My Heart: The Civil WarDiary ofLucy Rebecca Buck ofVirginia, edited by Elizabeth Baer is an updated, reinterpreted release of a segment of the diary of an aristocratic young woman, whose painful, yet ambivalent role in the societal order of her time is enacted. Interdisciplinary theatre artists, Carla Waal and Barbara Oliver Komer present Hardship And Hope: Missouri Women Writing about Their Lives, 1820-1920, a collection of Missouri women, many celebrated and others not, who have been the focus of their dramatic performances. Although their book is designed for a general audience, in it Waal and Komer provide sufficient citations pertaining to their sources for scholarly pursuit. Lucy Rebecca Buck's Civil War Diary yields a rare insight into the heart of one Southern woman whose primary pre-war purpose was to serve her societal role. "Lucy's diary provides readers with a record of her growing restiveness," while evolving gender roles no longer render clear definitions as social expectations deteriorate. At first the tragic hierarchy ofher segregated existence is so firmly prescribed that Buck cannot acknowledge the existence of her slaves, nor their importance to her life, until they flee after their emancipation. However...