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Reviews411 accent, a tone, and these do. Manley captures the feel as well as the appearance of southern cabins in clearings, of the old homeplace beyond the well, of saplings taking over the garden soil. He condenses the loneliness and familiarity of bone-colored planks and a porch seen across the soybean field, of windows staring out at the sky and a woman stooped as if under the weight of shadow from the packhouse. I recognize these bams and rusting signs and hounds. I feel that they are mine, part of me. They contain a way of life, a world. Shelby Stephenson's prose also has this accent—this inflection of a time and a place both achingly real and a bit exotic, now that the satellite dishes mar the field horizons while the Interstates tunnel through. Stephenson gets the down-home inflection exactly right and uses this recognizable subset of English to convey the idiosyncrasies and crustiness of country people, their hunts and boozings and days in the field. He knows the how-to of farming so well he takes it for granted. 1 could have wished for a little more account of those consistencies that held the mule-powered tobacco culture together, made it so instantly recognizable for one once dipped into one of those tar-brown eastern rivers. I guess that I've come full circle. I'm arguing, in effect, a different version of what Knick alleges about Native Americans. Those of us born and raised in eastern North Carolina "know what it meant" to be southern. We tasted and sweated and yearned our way into something that we now recognize at the first sip of the sweet tea, the first blue whiff of the barbecue smoke. As I reread and mull over these two fine volumes, I say to myself, and to their authors, "how do we know what it means to be southern?" And I think, without having a handy answer, "what does it mean, that this identity means so much? How can it feel this solid and whole when made out of so many different things, by so many peoples?" That these two volumes raise such questions, and illustrate them with rich particulars , makes them highly valuable. I would not expect that the riddle of southern identity or identities, of culture or cultures, be solved—only that it be addressed more explicitly and consistently. Living Monuments: Confederate Soldiers' Homes in the New South. By R. B. Rosenburg . University of North Carolina Press, 1993. 240 pp. Cloth, $34.95. Reviewed by Karen L. Cox, a doctoral candidate in United States history at the University of Southern Mississippi. She is writing a dissertation about women ofthe Lost Cause. Interest in the South's Lost Cause celebration is currently enjoying a revival. While Charles R. Wilson's Baptized in Blood (1980) and Gaines M. Foster's Ghosts ofthe Confederacy (1987) still remain the standard works on the subject, there are a number of graduate students whose research on southern women's organizations, including the United Daughters of the Confederacy, promises to fill in the gaps of the existing scholarship. More recently in Living Monuments, R. B. Rosenburg has added yet another dimension to studies of the Lost Cause in his examination of Confederate soldiers' homes. Between 1880 and 1920 Confederate soldiers' homes were built throughout the South to house the region's aging and indigent veterans. The homes, according to Rosenburg , served as shrines to preserve the memory of Johnny Reb—the loyal common foot soldier of the Confederate army. To supporters of the soldiers' home movement, it was 412Southern Cultures considered a sacred duty to care for veterans who had become indigent since the war. Rather than place their heroes in poor houses, white southerners raised money and eventually garnered state support for institutions that signified the special place Confederate veterans held in southern society. These homes, contemporaries claimed, would become "living monuments" to the heroism and sacrifices made by Johnny Reb. While the homes were intended to provide veterans with a place to live out their last days with dignity, what Rosenburg found were institutions that imposed strict discipline on residents, required them to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 411-413
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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