The South for New Southerners

UNC Press Books
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The South often seems like a foreign country to newcomers from other parts of the United States. And for people from other countries, Southern customs and lifestyle can be even more bewildering. For anyone who has ever wondered why the style of conducting busines in the South is different or why some Southerners are still fighting the Civil War, this book will be a valuable guide. The informative and entertaining essays will help new Southerners understand and appreciate the region and its people, and they will also serve as a refresher course on the South for those who are comfortably settled in.

Each of the essays adopts a different perspective to suggest just how the South is different from other American regions. In turn, they examine the special meaning of history for Southerners, the boundaries of the South as a geographical and as an imaginary region, the rhetoric and the reality of Southern race relations, the South's change from a rural to a metropolitan culture, the myth of the Southern belle and the reality of Southern women's lives, the political metamorphosis that turned the Solid South into the Solid Republican South, and the recent transformation of the poorest region in the country into an economic wonder called the Sunbelt.

Readers will learn that when Southerners ask strangers what church they attend, the intent is not to pry but to be friendly. They will also discover that "where the kudzu grows" is one of the best ways to define where the South is located.

The essays offer the insights of both shcolarship and experience, for the contributors -- most of them originally non-Southerners -- learned about this region by living in it as well as studying it.

The contributors are Julia Kirk Blackwelder, Paul D. Escott, David R. Goldfield, Nell Irvin Painter, John Shelton Reed, and Thomas E. Terrill.

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About the author

Paul D. Escott is the author of several books including Many Excellent People: Power and Privilege in North Carolina, 1850-1900.

David R. Goldfield is the author of Black, White, and Southern: Race Relations and Southern Culture.

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Additional Information

Publisher
UNC Press Books
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Published on
Aug 1, 2016
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Pages
179
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ISBN
9781469621449
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / State & Local / South (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV)
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Although North Carolina was a "home front" state rather than a battlefield state for most of the Civil War, it was heavily involved in the Confederate war effort and experienced many conflicts as a result. North Carolinians were divided over the issue of secession, and changes in race and gender relations brought new controversy. Blacks fought for freedom, women sought greater independence, and their aspirations for change stimulated fierce resistance from more privileged groups. Republicans and Democrats fought over power during Reconstruction and for decades thereafter disagreed over the meaning of the war and Reconstruction.

With contributions by well-known historians as well as talented younger scholars, this volume offers new insights into all the key issues of the Civil War era that played out in pronounced ways in the Tar Heel State. In nine essays composed specifically for this volume, contributors address themes such as ambivalent whites, freed blacks, the political establishment, racial hopes and fears, postwar ideology, and North Carolina women. These issues of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras were so powerful that they continue to agitate North Carolinians today.

Contributors:
David Brown, Manchester University
Judkin Browning, Appalachian State University
Laura F. Edwards, Duke University
Paul D. Escott, Wake Forest University
John C. Inscoe, University of Georgia
Chandra Manning, Georgetown University
Barton A. Myers, University of Georgia
Steven E. Nash, University of Georgia
Paul Yandle, West Virginia University
Karin Zipf, East Carolina University



Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981.  Was it murder or self-defense?  For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares.  John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction.  Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.

It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight.  These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a sublime and seductive reading experience.  Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city has become a modern classic.
The Civil War forced America finally to confront the contradiction between its founding values and human slavery. At the center of this historic confrontation was Abraham Lincoln. By the time this Illinois politician had risen to the office of president, the dilemma of slavery had expanded to the question of all African Americans’ future. In this fascinating new book Paul Escott considers the evolution of the president’s thoughts on race in relation to three other, powerful--and often conflicting--voices.

Lincoln’s fellow Republicans Charles Sumner and Montgomery Blair played crucial roles in the shaping of their party. While both Sumner and Blair were opposed to slavery, their motivations reflected profoundly different approaches to the issue. Blair’s antislavery stance stemmed from a racist dedication to remove African Americans from the country altogether. Sumner, in contrast, opposed slavery as a crusader for racial equality and a passionate abolitionist. Lincoln maintained close personal relationships with both men as he wrestled with the slavery question. In addition to these antislavery voices, Escott also weaves into his narrative the other extreme, of which Lincoln was politically aware: the virulent racism and hierarchical values that motivated not only the Confederates but surprisingly many Northerners and which were embodied by the president’s eventual assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

Sumner, Blair, and violent racists like Booth each represent forces with which Lincoln had to contend as he presided over a brutal civil war and faced the issues of slavery and equality lying at its root. Other books and films have provided glimpses of the atmosphere in which the president created his Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln’s Dilemma evokes more fully and brings to life the men Lincoln worked with, and against, as he moved racial equality forward.

A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era

Arguably, no event since the American Revolution has had a greater impact on US history than the Civil War. This devastating and formative conflict occupies a permanent place in the nation's psyche and continues to shape race relations, economic development, and regional politics. Naturally, an event of such significance has attracted much attention from historians, and tens of thousands of books have been published on the subject. Despite this breadth of study, new perspectives and tools are opening up fresh avenues of inquiry into this seminal era.

In this timely and thoughtful book, Paul D. Escott surveys the current state of Civil War studies and explores the latest developments in research and interpretation. He focuses on specific issues where promising work is yet to be done, highlighting subjects such as the deep roots of the war, the role of African Americans, and environmental history, among others. He also identifies digital tools which have only recently become available and which allow researchers to take advantage of information in ways that were never before possible. Rethinking the Civil War Era is poised to guide young historians in much the way that James M. McPherson and William J. Cooper Jr.'s Writing the Civil War: The Quest to Understand did for a previous generation. Escott eloquently charts new ways forward for scholars, offering ideas, questions, and challenges. His work will not only illuminate emerging research but will also provide inspiration for future research in a field that continues to adapt and change.

Arguably, no event since the American Revolution has had a greater impact on US history than the Civil War. This devastating and formative conflict occupies a permanent place in the nation's psyche and continues to shape race relations, economic development, and regional politics. Naturally, an event of such significance has attracted much attention from historians, and tens of thousands of books have been published on the subject. Despite this breadth of study, new perspectives and tools are opening up fresh avenues of inquiry into this seminal era.

In this timely and thoughtful book, Paul D. Escott surveys the current state of Civil War studies and explores the latest developments in research and interpretation. He focuses on specific issues where promising work is yet to be done, highlighting subjects such as the deep roots of the war, the role of African Americans, and environmental history, among others. He also identifies digital tools which have only recently become available and which allow researchers to take advantage of information in ways that were never before possible. Rethinking the Civil War Era is poised to guide young historians in much the way that James M. McPherson and William J. Cooper Jr.'s Writing the Civil War: The Quest to Understand did for a previous generation. Escott eloquently charts new ways forward for scholars, offering ideas, questions, and challenges. His work will not only illuminate emerging research but will also provide inspiration for future research in a field that continues to adapt and change.

The Civil War forced America finally to confront the contradiction between its founding values and human slavery. At the center of this historic confrontation was Abraham Lincoln. By the time this Illinois politician had risen to the office of president, the dilemma of slavery had expanded to the question of all African Americans’ future. In this fascinating new book Paul Escott considers the evolution of the president’s thoughts on race in relation to three other, powerful--and often conflicting--voices.

Lincoln’s fellow Republicans Charles Sumner and Montgomery Blair played crucial roles in the shaping of their party. While both Sumner and Blair were opposed to slavery, their motivations reflected profoundly different approaches to the issue. Blair’s antislavery stance stemmed from a racist dedication to remove African Americans from the country altogether. Sumner, in contrast, opposed slavery as a crusader for racial equality and a passionate abolitionist. Lincoln maintained close personal relationships with both men as he wrestled with the slavery question. In addition to these antislavery voices, Escott also weaves into his narrative the other extreme, of which Lincoln was politically aware: the virulent racism and hierarchical values that motivated not only the Confederates but surprisingly many Northerners and which were embodied by the president’s eventual assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

Sumner, Blair, and violent racists like Booth each represent forces with which Lincoln had to contend as he presided over a brutal civil war and faced the issues of slavery and equality lying at its root. Other books and films have provided glimpses of the atmosphere in which the president created his Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln’s Dilemma evokes more fully and brings to life the men Lincoln worked with, and against, as he moved racial equality forward.

A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era

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