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Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South
Synopses & Reviews
The story of the Confederate States of America, the proslavery, antidemocratic nation created by white Southern slaveholders to protect their property, has been told many times in heroic and martial narratives. Now, however, Stephanie McCurry tells a very different tale of the Confederate experience. When the grandiosity of Southerners' national ambitions met the harsh realities of wartime crises, unintended consequences ensued. Although Southern statesmen and generals had built the most powerful slave regime in the Western world, they had excluded the majority of their own people—white women and slaves—and thereby sowed the seeds of their demise.
Wartime scarcity of food, labor, and soldiers tested the Confederate vision at every point and created domestic crises to match those found on the battlefields. Women and slaves became critical political actors as they contested government enlistment and tax and welfare policies, and struggled for their freedom. The attempt to repress a majority of its own population backfired on the Confederate States of America as the disenfranchised demanded to be counted and considered in the great struggle over slavery, emancipation, democracy, and nationhood. That Confederate struggle played out in a highly charged international arena.
The political project of the Confederacy was tried by its own people and failed. The government was forced to become accountable to women and slaves, provoking an astounding transformation of the slaveholders' state. Confederate Reckoning is the startling story of this epic political battle in which women and slaves helped to decide the fate of the Confederacy and the outcome of the Civil War.
Book News Annotation:
The story of the Confederacy during the Civil War is typically framed as a progression of bloody battles with the South losing its bid for secession in the final tally. McCurry (history, U. of Pennsylvania), however, found that the slaveholders and generals who sought to protect their pro-slavery, anti-democratic state had apparently failed to consider not only how difficult it would be to unite its citizens who were not slaveholders, but had also failed to bring white women and slaves into the equation. In their initiative to build the state they envisioned, the leaders of the Confederacy hadn't anticipated the resistance to its cause from such a large number of its own people. The book is interesting reading, and a more complete picture of the causes of the demise of the Confederacy. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The words of Abraham Lincoln have been immortalized in speeches and enshrined in policies and practices, and none of those words, spoken or written, has gone unnoticed or wanted for a response. It is this broader contextand#8212;the wider conversation about Lincolnand#8217;s wordsand#8212;that this book discusses. The final project of James A. Rawley, a preeminent historian of the Civil War era, A Lincoln Dialogue cross-examines Lincolnand#8217;s major statements, papers, and initiatives in light of the comments and criticism of his supporters and detractors.and#160;
Drawn from letters and newspapers, pamphlets and reports, these statements and responses constitute a unique documentary examination of Abraham Lincolnand#8217;s presidency. Rawleyand#8217;s careful selection and his judicious interweaving of historical analysis and background invite us into the dialogue and allow us to hear the voices of American history in the making.
In December 1863, Civil War soldiers took refuge from the dismal conditions of war and weather. They made their winter quarters in the Piedmont region of central Virginia: the Unionandrsquo;s Army of the Potomac in Culpeper County and the Confederacyandrsquo;s Army of Northern Virginia in neighboring Orange County. For the next six months the opposing soldiers eyed each other warily across the Rapidan River.
In Music Along the Rapidan James A. Davis examines the role of music in defining the social communities that emerged during this winter encampment. Music was an essential part of each soldierandrsquo;s personal identity, and Davis considers how music became a means of controlling the acoustic and social cacophony of war that surrounded every soldier nearby.
Music also became a touchstone for colliding communities during the encampmentandmdash;the communities of enlisted men and officers or Northerners and Southerners on the one hand and the shared communities occupied by both soldier and civilian on the other. The music enabled them to define their relationships and their environment, emotionally, socially, and audibly.
About the Author
Stephanie McCurryis Professor of History at <>University of Pennsylvania.
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History and Social Science » Military » Civil War » General