|Book Reviews, Book Notes and Periodical Literature|
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN: THE STORY OF THE PEOPLE AND PLACES WHERE THE OIL INDUSTRY BEGAN, WEST VIRGINIA AND SOUTHEASTERN OHIO. By David L. McKain and Bernard L. Allen (Parkersburg: privately published, 1994. Pp. 225, appendices. $35.00.)
Students of West Virginia's industrial history have often felt that the role of the petroleum industry has been seriously underrated. Historians of the industry have traditionally enshrined Pennsylvania as the birthplace of oil, and West Virginia historians note its existence only as a brief sidelight to that most pervasive of the state's extractive industries, coal. In many areas of northwestern West Virginia, oil was the only industry. Where It All Began: The Story of the People and Places Where the Oil Industry Began is an ambitious effort by Parkersburg historians David McKain and Bernard Allen to correct these errors and omissions.
Where It All Began is a voluminous, copiously illustrated book, very similar in presentation to a number of recent county histories, and contains a wealth of information not available elsewhere. Chronologically arranged, it leads the reader through development of the regional industry, from the colonists' discovery of natural gas springs in the Kanawha Valley through the oil booms that established Parkersburg as the service center of West Virginia "oildom." The first boom, cut short by the Civil War, followed the discovery of oil at Burning Springs in Wirt County in 1860 and led to a concentrated refining industry at Parkersburg. Quickly suborned by industrialist J. N. Camden and the Standard Oil trust, the refineries processed a dwindling supply of oil through the 1870s and 1880s. The oil industry languished until the sustained boom following the Sistersville strike in the early 1890s. Oil production in the region continues today, and many productive wells are more than one hundred years old.
Of particular interest is a discussion of the statehood movement from the perspective of protection of interests in the enormously profitable new oilfields. Given the oil investments of many of West Virginia's early statesmen, it seems unusual that this view has not been given wider circulation. The authors also cover in great detail the early lubricating oil development at Volcano in Wood and Ritchie counties, where both marketing and technology were truly significant in the national industry. Excerpts from drillers' diaries add considerable color and insight to the era.
The book, however, suffers from a confusion of goals. On the one hand, it presents a regionally focused perspective that should play well to a local popular audience. As the subtitle suggests, the authors feature many of the local personalities and families who built the industry, an important sales consideration for a local history. The other target audience -- scholars of the petroleum industry -- will be a harder sell.
Avowed revisionists, McKain and Allen seek to correct what they perceive to be inaccuracies and malicious disinformation by earlier Pennsylvania-oriented petroleum historians. However, in doing so they perpetuate some of the cherished myths of West Virginia petroleum history. One such example is their assertion that geologist I. C. White was "first to use geology to find oil" in 1889, a feat performed much earlier by driller Cyrus Angell in 1871. Another, and the authors' central proposition, is that the first industrial oil well was drilled in western Virginia, not Pennsylvania, and the oil business was well underway in Ritchie before Drake's well drew attention to northwestern Pennsylvania.
These provocative assertions, though eminently debatable, are unfortunately supported by neither scholarly documentation nor accepted historical methods. For instance, in dismissing a source contradicting their thesis, the authors note: "It is quite obvious that the editor of [the book] heavily edited this biography. .. . In true Pennsylvania style, the editor revised the words stating it as a claim, rather than accepting it as a fact. A very interesting case of historic sidestepping!"(12) This strident, defensive tone may well prevent this work from transcending its local significance. For this reader, West Virginia begs to be placed in the context of the national petroleum industry to understand the cycles of depression and overproduction that plagued it and to understand why the vitality of West Virginia's industry ebbed for twenty years before it revived.
The Sistersville boom signaled a momentous shift in capital and labor from Pennsylvania to West Virginia in the 1890s. Although it moved again to Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana after the turn of the century, this traveling boom left the lasting benefits of settled production and new industries in the areas that it touched. Its legacy is a rich social history, characterized by a unique brand of democratic prosperity not shared by the state's other extractive industries. If Where It All Began stimulates the kind of careful scholarly inquiry that the subject deserves, the authors will be justified in reaching beyond the boundaries of local history.
U.S. Forest Service
CEMENT MILLS ALONG THE POTOMAC RIVER. By Thomas F. Hahn and Emory L. Kemp (Morgantown: Institute for the History of Technology and Industrial Archaeology, Monograph Series Vol. II, 1994. Pp. 90. $12.00.)
With few exceptions, industrial history has yet to receive serious study in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Cement Mills Along the Potomac River by Thomas F. Hahn and Emory L. Kemp makes a significant contribution in that field, enabling scholars to view local production of natural cement in the context of nineteenth-century public works projects.
Natural cement has the ability to harden under water. Thus it was sought out for use in the construction of canals, aqueducts, dams, and bridges. It was first discovered and manufactured in the United States for use in the Erie Canal in New York, and most of the early cement mills were constructed specifically to meet the needs of canal builders. Several deposits of natural cement were identified near the Potomac River early in the nineteenth century. Construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, starting in 1828, encouraged the owners of this resource to meet the needs of a steadily increasing market.
Natural cement is made from naturally occurring limestone that contains silica and magnesium oxide in the proper proportions. The stone is calcined in a kiln similar to those used for producing lime, or even iron, and then ground to a fine powder. Since cement rock varied in composition and quality from one location to another, canal builders were continually balancing their need for a good product against the cost of production and availability. The Shepherdstown Cement Mill, located on the Potomac River about one mile east of the town, was one of the sites that produced high quality natural cement from 1828 until it closed permanently in 1901.
The authors provide a good foundation for their study of local industry by examining the canal-building era in the United States, the composition and development of natural cement products in Europe, Britain, and America, and the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. From the dozen cement mills scattered along the Potomac River in Maryland and West Virginia, they chose the Shepherdstown Cement Mill as a case study. Detailed site drawings, as well as numerous photographs and illustrations of natural cement mills throughout the region, round out this scholarly effort.
The history of the Shepherdstown Cement Mill illustrates the close relationship that existed between this industry and the C&O Canal, which served not only as a customer for the product but also as a means of transporting it to other markets. Like the canal itself, the Shepherdstown Cement Mill was at the mercy of the Potomac River. Closed during the winter months because of the weather, left without water power when the rivr was low, susceptible to floods, severely damaged during the Civil War, the Shepherdstown Cement Mill was regularly rebuilt and reopened throughout the nineteenth century. In the end, the mill closed because its owners failed to meet the challenges posed by the river, the railroad, and the growing Portland cement industry.
Cement Mills Along the Potomac River is an important contribution to the study of the limestone industry in eastern West Virginia and should be read by all serious students of the field.
William D. Theriault
JUST GOOD POLITICS: THE LIFE OF RAYMOND CHAFIN, APPALACHIAN BOSS. By Raymond Chafin and Topper Sherwood (Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1994. Pp. xv, 197. $24.95.)
Political bosses have confounded most reformers and academics who often were so busy lecturing on the evils of machine politics that they overlooked the attractions. Theodore Roosevelt, a reformer who railed against the bosses but accepted their support, provided some insight when he observed that "any boss who acts only for himself would probably last but a short time in any community."
It is not surprising that Roosevelt's observation is quoted in the preface to Just Good Politics: The Life of Raymond Chafin, Appalachian Boss, an autobiographical account written with the aid of Charleston journalist Topper Sherwood. Chafin claims he looked after the interests of his community and did so for a long time. His involvement in Logan County politics began in 1936 and continued into 1988, when he became the first Democratic county chairman to endorse future governor Gaston Caperton. In the intervening years, he fought many battles, including backing John Kennedy in the 1960 primary. The performance helped earn the man from Cow Creek an invitation in 1961 to Kennedy's Oval Office to discuss the Food Stamp Program.
The 1960 contest plays a prominent role in the book, taking up forty of the monograph's two hundred pages. Confirming Tip O'Neill's clich‚ that all politics are local, Chafin relates that he cared little about the presidential candidates that year. Then the growing support for Kennedy engendered the election of Chafin's slate of local candidates, all of whom opposed Kennedy either because of his religion, which they disdained, or his chances, which they dismissed. Chafin candidly recounts how he ended up endorsing the Massachusetts senator after initially accepting money from the Hubert Humphrey organization. The route he took involved returning Humphrey's earlier donation, switching sides, and ultimately collecting thirty-five thousand dollars from the Kennedy organization, a misunderstanding since he requested thirty-five hundred. Sherwood points out that a fictionalized account of this legendary mistake is found in Denise Giardina's Unquiet Earth.
Chafin's account of Logan politics reveals the high degree of competition among factions in one-party counties and the low priority placed on ideology. Chafin admits to supporting some poor candidates, many of whom later double-crossed him. Even party loyalty was not a constant, as Chafin supported Republican candidates for sheriff in 1954 and for governor in 1976 in order to punish disloyal or unappreciative Democrats.
Chafin's code of loyalty reflects the maxim that "there's no crime so mean as ingratitude in politics." He spends much passion and many pages recounting his efforts to exact revenge on those who double-crossed or slighted him. For a boss like Chafin, however, electoral revenge was reserved for intra-party feuds. When Republican Arch Moore fired him from his highway job in 1969, Chafin's response was philosophical: "Arch knew I'd been against him, so he fired me. Hell, that's politics." In fact, Chafin would support Moore in the 1984 election.
When Democratic Governor Matthew M. Neely fired him in 1944, however, Chafin sought retribution and worked in the next election to "beat tar out" of the governor's supporters. Thirty years later, he reacted in a similar manner when Jay Rockefeller bcked Chafin's rival. "In an effort to show Charleston that I could put anyone I wanted in there," Chafin took control of the county executive committee. Reconciliation soon followed as Chafin secured Rockefeller's respect and offered to support him in the next election.
Chafin reminds one of New York City Tammany Hall boss George Plunkitt whose frank autobiography at the turn of the century provided an antidote to academic treatises on political leadership. Like Plunkitt, Chafin openly views politics in material terms involving trust of the voters and delivery of services by the politicians. For Chafin, infrastructure is a key political currency in Logan County and he continually cites his efforts to get new roads and bridges in his county.
Unlike Plunkitt, however, Chafin apparently did not succumb either to the temptation or open corruption of public office. Chafin speaks with pride that he was not "a money man," noting that he did not spend money on himself or his house and that politics was never his full-time job. Chafin apparently learned the lesson, understood by Alexander Hamilton, that influence is more important than cash. It was a lesson not well understood by former Governor Arch Moore and other recent politicians in the Mountain State who served time in prison.
Chafin has lived to see the political ground shift beneath him and an old era pass. Electoral laws have restricted the role of precinct captains and new groups such as women's organizations have altered the political landscape. Although all readers will benefit from his first-hand view on the operation of politics in a rural environment, persons unfamiliar with the geography or politics of West Virginia will be handicapped in understanding the background of Chafin's stories.
One wishes that this reminiscence on county machine politics had been longer and more candid. Just Good Politics is not a biography but an autobiography and, as such, reflects the syndrome of self-censorship. If Chafin could have delivered more, he nevertheless has provided much as he recalled his half-century in politics. The book is a resource to political scientists and to all Americans wrestling with proper relationships between candidate and voter. In an age of consultants and sound bytes, the book provides an interesting perspective on the politics of the past.
West Virginia Wesleyan College
APPALACHIA'S PATH TO DEPENDENCY: RETHINKING A REGION'S ECONOMIC HISTORY, 1730-1940. By Paul Salstrom (Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1994. Pp. 232. $30.00.)
In this study of Appalachia, Paul Salstrom traces the history of economic dependency in the region. He pinpoints numerous causes of this dependency, without making sweeping judgements as to the advantages and disadvantages of outside economic control. The concise nature of the study lends to this approach, since it addresses almost exclusively the economic factors leading to dependency, thus excluding the psychological and cultural dependency of Appalachians. This narrow parameter frees Salstrom from having to tackle an unmanageable topic, and thus provides the reader with a more focused analysis.
Though the time frame of the book is designated from 1730 to 1940, the reader discovers that Salstrom places the study in a more contemporary context when it is germane to his thesis. Another useful aspect is the comparison of Appalachian dependency with the more economically independent economies of Taiwan and Japan. Interestingly, Salstrom views the agricultural viability of these nations as instrumental in their resistance to dependency. Consequently, Appalachia's dependency owes much to the demise of subsistence farming and the barter economy, an economic system in which Salstrom finds much merit.
It is important to note, however, that Salstrom refrains from drawing an analogy between the economy of Appalachia and those of the Third World. Appalachia in this sense is not a colony but rather a peripheral appendage of the greater American economy. It is much more dependent upon the U.S. economy, but nottotally, as in Central American nations. There, the practices of multinational corporations have been rightly accused of arrogating the sovereignty of those countries. Furthermore, scholars of Appalachian dependency, including Salstrom, fail to note that the welfare of Appalachians is partially subsidized by the low wages paid by U.S. firms in the Third World. This does not negate the fact that Appalachians lack the political and economic input to decide the type of development which is suitable for the region.
Salstrom meticulously details the demise of the subsistence economy. This turn of events forms the cornerstone of his thesis. It also constitutes Salstrom's bias toward a traditional Appalachian economy. This bias, however, is not as pronounced as that of Ron Eller, who is perhaps the foremost champion of subsistence farming and barter economy in the field of Appalachian studies.
Salstrom cautions that these two complimentary economic systems are not necessarily less productive than a cash economy, which slowly intruded into Appalachia. Salstrom writes that the drought and near famine conditions in Appalachia in the early 1930s would not have been as severe had not the subsistence economy of the region been undermined by the wider national economy. Here he borrows from Eller when he states the standard of living had been steadily falling in Appalachia since 1880.
Salstrom suggests that Appalachians contributed more to the national economy as a whole when they were supplementing their livelihood with subsistence farming than when wholly dependent on a wage economy. Moreover, subsistence farming permitted wages lower than the national scale for Appalachian miners and allowed for greater capital accumulation and growth of the national economy.
Throughout, Salstrom makes a difficult subject manageable for the non-specialist. While this study is critical of big business, it is equally critical of the big government approach of the New Deal. Among the sins of the New Deal, Salstrom includes the Coal Code which favored oil over Appalachian coal. He attributes the nation's later reliance on foreign oil and the National Recovery Act's role in prolonging the Depression on this policy decision.
Salstrom's detailed criticism of the damaging effects of the New Deal on Appalachia is perhaps his greatest contribution. Too often scholars overlook these contradictions, focusing instead on the sins of the timber and coal industries or upon the flawed character of the Appalachian people. Overall, Appalachia's Path to Dependency is a concise and useful study of the early economic history of the region.
West Virginia University
GOSPEL OF DISUNION: RELIGION AND SEPARATISM IN THE ANTEBELLUM SOUTH. By Mitchell Snay (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993. Pp. xi, 265. $49.95.)
Mitchell Snay, associate professor of history at Denison University, makes a significant contribution to the comprehension of factors that led to the Civil War in Gospel of Disunion. The strength of Snay's work lies in his tremendous research, including both northern and southern newspapers, periodicals, and many denominational records. He identifies and scrutinizes the conventional religious creeds and practices of both the antebellum South and North with conscientious and extensive analysis. While many scholars have balked at the idea of religion's important role in the American Civil War, Snay presents an argument which is difficult to deny. Southerners used religion, which was central to the culture of the Old South, to justify slavery and as a key ingredient in forging the antebellum southern ideas of separatism.
Earlier studies of southern separatism, which Snay does not totally reject, present the underlying causes of the Civil War as sectional, reflecting the basic differences of the economic and social orders of the northern and southern states during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Previous works maintain that during the nineteenth century, sectionalism increasingly became more concentrate. The South remained almost completely agricultural, with its pioneer planter aristocracy based on slave labor and the plantation system. The North was more industrial and commercially advanced. These systems produced two different points of view on many social, political, and economic issues. Hostilities between the North and South increased perceptibly after the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which was intended to solve the question of the extension of slavery in the western territories.
Snay also skillfully analyzes and describes national issues such as the Missouri controversy and other factors which were hotly debated. He contends that the difference between North and South cannot be dismissed as plain factionalism and that the term "sectionalism" is vague because it does not recognize religion's role in promoting a southern nation. Snay argues that the South was not a monolithic culture but a diverse society with different concerns, and in the three decades before the Civil War, religion was the key ingredient in forming a distinct sectional identity. It strengthened significant components in southern political culture, caused sectional politics to take on an increased religious significance, and advanced a moral concordance that made secession possible, convincing southerners to believe that slavery and their civilization was best maintained as a separate nation.
In the North moral resentment towards slavery, which was also highly religious in tone, increased during the 1830s with the rise of abolitionist propaganda. Snay begins his work with the abolitionist postal campaign of 1835 which marked the shift in American antislavery reform from modest action to an instantaneous approach. However, the abolitionists met major resistance from the slaveholding states. Southerners burned antislavery pamphlets and combatted abolitionist literature by other means. Abolitionists hoped to convert the South through the churches but schism occurred in the Presbyterian church in 1837-38 and among the Methodists in 1844 and the Baptists in 1845. The split in the churches was an important factor in the separation between North and South and the moral chasm between the two sections intensified with the actions of these divided churches. From the pulpits in the South biblical sanctions of slavery were readily accepted by congregations. After the abolitionist attacks, open opposition to slavery in the South disappeared. Slavery had become a sacred institution, as well as a foundation for a flawless society.
Southerners believed their right to exist was threatened with the abolitionist attacks. They surmised the termination of slavery would mean the disruption of the entire southern economic system. After northern demands to end slavery increased, southerners looked more towards secession. Since the Missouri controversy, the South had increasingly promoted "states rights," embracing the constitutional right to secede, feeling that the states should be free to decide the logic of national laws and be allowed to continue the peculiar institutions of slavery. Snay closes the work after the formation of the Confederacy in 1861 with southern preachers justifying secession.
Snay has served his subject well. He must be respected for his shrewd analysis and expertise in investigating and simplifying multifarious problems. The reader will be pleased with Snay's presentation of evidence. The style is never boring or dry. Gospel of Disunion is a towering contribution to the historical literature on abolition, religion, and separatism. It has all the qualities of a prize-winning and enduring book.
David L. Kimbrough
SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA'S RAILROAD: MODERNIZATION AND THE SECTIONAL CRISIS. By Kenneth Noe (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1994. Pp. ix, 221. $27.95.)
The division and dismemberment of Virginia wrought by the Civil War has traditionally been explained as a function of the cultural and economic differences between East and West. Kenneth Noe offers an alternative analysis in a perceptive, delightfully writte work on antebellum southwest Virginia. Using modernization theory as his analytical construct, Noe examines the political and economic backdrop and consequences of the building of the Virginia and Tennessee (V&T), "Southwest Virginia's Railroad."
Noe deftly treats the political and economic history of southwest Virginia prior to 1850 when East-West sectionalism created severe stress and tension. The rapprochement between the two sections achieved in the constitutional reform of 1850 opened the political way for the building of the V&T, linking southwest Virginia to the tobacco-cotton South and isolating northwest Virginia in opposition to planter political culture.
The modernizing effects of the railroad are examined in three chapters: commercialization of agriculture; towns, tourism, and industries; and the expansion of slavery. Noe argues convincingly that the railroad hastened development of a capitalistic, slave-based, cash-crop agriculture in southwest Virginia prior to the Civil War. Accompanying this economic phenomenon came land tenantry and agricultural day labor, since yeoman farmers comprised only about one-half of the population in the sample counties analyzed, Washington, Floyd, and Raleigh. The rails also accelerated the growth of towns and tourism. Towns grew quickly if they could serve as depots to ship agricultural products across the rails, and tourism accelerated as the avenue opened for people to go to the fabulous healing springs of western Virginia. Industries also advanced, notably salt, lead, iron, and the fledgling coal mining efforts. With this argument Noe challenges the interpretations of Charles Ambler, Ronald Eller, and others regarding the timing of industrialization in western Virginia.
In a tightly knit argument Noe views the modernization of the transportation network as a vehicle for the spread of the "unmodern" institution of slavery. His statistics sustain his slavery growth argument, but as one moves away from the counties through which the rails passed, the argument becomes less compelling. This may be a function of regional economic analysis, that is, the major modernizing trends related to the development of a new transport network have less economic impact in areas of analysis more distant from the central route and the major centers along the route. Fayette and Raleigh counties, for example, were less affected by the V&T than by the Kanawha River steamboat. Still we are indebted to Noe for his fine analysis of the expansion of slavery along the railway, including the actual building of the railroad by hired slaves. This adaptation of slavery to the modernization process raises fascinating questions about the movement of cultures and the use of dichotomous analytical models.
The latter three major chapters examine secession and the Civil War in the region. County voting patterns for the 1860 election are dissected and charted to indicate the shift in the southwest to secession. Growing hostility to abolitionism, the concept of a politics of "honor," and a growing loyalty to slavery led the region's people to overwhelm extant Union sentiment. Nine counties that were to become a part of the state of West Virginia are encompassed in this political-economic analysis.
Noe views the Civil War in the region as developing in three phases: the fighting phase of 1861-62; the spread of defeatism and guerrilla warfare from 1862-64; and the collapse of slavery and the Confederacy during the last year. The V&T serves as a crucial military objective during each phase. A fine discussion of the first year is offered, replete with insights into the inept leadership of Confederate generals Wise, Floyd, and Loring. The hesitancy of military leadership on both sides is depicted. As the Union gained dominance in the area and hardships increased, the exuberance of pro-secessionists sharply declined, and both sides resorted to guerrilla warfare. The Union used draconian measures in the Big Sandy Valley and in Fayette, Greenbrier, Monroe, and Raleigh counties. The brutal realities of modern warfare eclipsed notions of honor and glory as terroristic violence by both sides savaged the defenseless in the population.
As defeat and deprivation became ever more real, class conflict re-emerged. Conscription, impressment, and Confederate attempts to control the region's resources brought forth fierce hostility from the population. The cry of the "rich man's war and poor man's fight" escalated opposition to state and Confederate regulations and provided impetus for a weak but potentially threatening resistance organization, the Heroes of America, a group which Noe adroitly analyzes. The collapse of slavery and the Confederacy left southwest Virginia with nine fewer counties now part of West Virginia, bereft of much of its resource base through wartime destruction, and deprived of a significant segment of its population, many of whom would have been among the postwar leaders.
Yet the V&T remained to become a basic trunk line on the Norfolk and Western. It continued transforming the political economy of the region during the next seventy-five years. Noe concludes in an epilogue that little occurred in the postwar years that did not have its roots in prewar precedents. Even the notion of Appalachia as an exploited region had become an image attached to the area as early as the 1850s.
To issue one caveat, Noe might have been more convincing in his argument that the Civil War became a "rich man's war" if he had provided the statistics and percentages of men from the region's income groups who fought and died for the Confederacy. The charge that the Civil War was a "rich man's war and poor man's fight" has been leveled at North and South alike, and a regional study should have examined the question in greater detail.
This caveat, however, does not detract from the significance of this innovative, challenging work. It is based upon a huge amount of research. Precise definitions of the regions, sustained by maps, draw the reader into the book. Statistics are presented in understandable charts, and a very careful review of the theory of modernization and its weaknesses is offered along with a detailed review of the statistical sampling used to decipher the census materials. Census numbers are brought to life with penetrating anecdotal material drawn from twelve major archival depositories. Thirty-eight pages of accurate notes and a nineteen-page bibliography expand the significance of the concise one-hundred-forty-three pages of text. This is a work that should be read by everyone with interest in the history of Virginia, West Virginia, Appalachia, the Civil War, and theories of modernization and cultural conflict.
Franklin and Marshall College
THE SOUTH AND THE NEW DEAL. By Roger Biles (Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1994. Pp. x, 205. $23.00.)
This concise account of the New Deal era focuses on the eleven states of the former Confederacy plus Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and Oklahoma. In recent years many studies of the period have been published, and Biles provides a reliable synthesis of the literature on the southern states. He concludes, as have historians of other regions and states, that local custom and tradition often blunted New Deal reform efforts. Biles further argues, however, that the New Deal prepared the way for profound and beneficial transformations in the South during World War II and afterward.
Despite urban growth and technological changes during the 1920s, the South remained largely poor and backward, with high rates of crime and disease, a dysfunctional legal system, the Jim Crow system of racial segregation, and one-party politics. When the Depression came, it exacted a heavy toll, particularly on farmers who had not shared in the prosperity of the 1920s.
The New Deal's greatest impact on the South, Biles suggests, was in helping to bring about an agricultural enclosure movement. Larger farmers benefitted most from policies which promoted land consolidation, mechanization, greater crop diversification, and the reduction of the rural work force, a painful process which Biles says was necessary for the long-term improvement of southern agriculture. New Deal relief agencies provided incidental hel to the displaced, and the Resettlement Administration and its successors sought ways to provide more direct help. Although its efforts were generally laudable, the New Deal "gave short shrift to poor farmers and many caught in the advance of progress."(57)
Despite New Deal pressure on the states to assist in the relief burden, some southern governors resisted seeking relief appropriations from their legislatures. Federal agencies such as the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civilian Conservation Crops, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Works Progress Administration provided both employment and critical public improvements. By 1936, the New Deal sought to return care of all unemployables to the states with some federal help through Social Security. Left on their own, southern states maintained their welfare agencies but with miserly appropriations. Biles also argues that for all its moderation on the race issue, the New Deal was progressive for its time and made modest inroads toward ending what amounted to a southern system of apartheid.
Biles concludes that the New Deal prepared the South for the sweeping changes of World War II and afterwards that brought the region closer to the mainstream of American culture. The New Deal challenged a distinctive way of life that was in many ways socially and economically backward. New Deal policies helped dismantle the plantation system and modernize agriculture, promoted healthier labor-management relations, and, by narrowing regional wage differentials, helped raise southern industrial wages. The New Deal also helped pave the way for the rapid growth of the urban South after the war.
Biles does not include West Virginia in his definition of the South, but readers of West Virginia History might note comparisons of West Virginia's experiences with Biles's South. Instead of plantation agriculture and textile mills of the typical southern state, pre-Depression West Virginia relied upon subsistence agriculture and coal mines. Race relations in West Virginia, while far from perfect, were substantially better than in the South. Moreover, instead of the rule of the baroque courthouse Democratic regimes of the South, West Virginia had more of a two-party system, although the Republicans dominated from 1897 to 1933. If middle-class white southerners feared "outsiders" who might question Jim Crow or reliance on low-wage industry, middle-class West Virginians, both Republicans and Democrats, feared a "conspiracy" of the United Mine Workers and Pennsylvania coal operators to drive up miners' wages in West Virginia, a theory as self-defeating as the South's racist fear of outsiders.
When the Depression came, West Virginia, because of the initiative of Republican Governor William G. Conley, moved more quickly than most southern states to set up a welfare agency and to seek federal and state aid for the relief of the unemployed. Conley's Democratic successors Herman Guy Kump and Homer Holt shared the views of conservative southern Democratic governors. While giving lip service to the New Deal, they had little enthusiasm for either state or federal aid for the unemployed. These statehouse Democrats and federal Democrats led by Senator Matthew M. Neely fought bitterly throughout the New Deal, largely over state and federal patronage.
West Virginia's small farmers benefitted less from New Deal agricultural policies than large-scale southern farmers, and if the New Deal's moderation of regional wage differentials laid the basis for southern industrial growth and diversification, it cannot be said that similar results ensued in West Virginia. New Deal policies opened the door to the organization and stabilization of the coal industry with moderate improvement in coal production, but just as New Deal policies accepted the necessity of reducing the southern rural labor force, they also concluded that the health of the coal industry required fewer miners. Biles sees the southern "enclosure" movement as ultimately beneficial because displaced rural workers would find jobs in new southern industries; however, West Virginia's displaced small farmers and coal miners had to leave the state to find work, causingchronic economic difficulties.
Covering much in brief compass, Biles necessarily ignores or gives slight attention to some topics such as the distinctions among the different southern regions, the role of rural county governments in administering New Deal policies, the development of the social welfare profession in the South as a consequence of the Depression, and the impact of the Depression on the role of southern women. But on the whole he provides a readable synthesis and interpretation that, while not definitive, will be useful to students of both the South and the New Deal.
Jerry B. Thomas
QUIET REVOLUTION IN THE SOUTH: THE IMPACT OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT, 1965-1990. Ed. by Chandler Davidson and Bernard Grofman (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1994. Pp. 512. $24.95.)
Shortly before the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, C. Vann Woodward raised the question of whether the Second Reconstruction beginning with Brown v. Board of Education would suffer a failure similar to the Reconstruction efforts after the Civil War. Woodward observed in early 1965 that the South since 1954 was more deeply alienated and defiant than it had been at any time since 1877. The question Woodward asked was in large part answered by the Voting Rights Act. In this volume, Chandler Davidson and Bernard Grofman, plus a number of other contributors, make a convincing case that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is correctly regarded as the most effective civil rights legislation of the century. They amass a tremendous amount of evidence to show how the act has been used to assist racial and ethnic minorities.
The book recounts the efforts to secure political participation and voting rights in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia from the Civil War to the 1980s. The focus, however, is on the period since 1965 and the evolution of voting rights legislation through subsequent amendments and court decisions. Contributors for each of the state chapters follow a common format to show how the 1965 law led to increased black registration and officeholding. They cite particular court cases and the impact of the cases on voting rights. A set of tables, again in a common format, gives detailed summaries of the specific effects on the Voting Rights Act on minority involvement in the political process.
Initially, the Voting Rights Act was used to bring the force of federal government to bear on what the authors term first-generation problems, white southerners' efforts to prevent blacks from registering and voting. By 1969, however, attention began to turn to second-generation problems such as vote dilution, which encompassed a variety of stratagems to keep blacks from holding political office. For many years southern political leaders had been ingenious in finding ways to bar blacks from the political process with practices such as the poll tax, grandfather clauses, and other measures designed to impose disfranchisement. More nefarious, though, were twentieth-century devices designed to achieve vote dilution. In vote dilution the goal was to diminish the effect of minority voting and to restrict severely or deny officeholding to minorities. Some of the dilution techniques were the gerrymander, majority-runoff elections, the single-shot device, and the at-large election plan. The latter, widely attempted plan was a form of multimember districting. Having all candidates run at-large restricted the opportunities of black or other minority voters in single districts to elect one of their own. The Voting Rights Act, bolstered by crucial court decisions, gave the executive branch of government extraordinary monitoring and enforcement powers necessary to diminish vote dilution.
Davidson and Grofman point out that when they began their research they assumed it would show the success of the Voting Rights Act in changing minority representation in the South and that increased black officeholding would have occurred in jurisdictions with large black populations. Those assumptions wee supported by the research, but on closer analysis, they found that results were not uniform. The greatest success was in the larger municipalities. In many smaller southern towns there was little evidence that vote dilution had been reduced and the more rural areas remained the greatest challenge to minority participation in the political process.
The research and the presentation of materials in this volume are impressive. The collected data effectively make the case that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has brought about "the Quiet Revolution" and assured the Second Reconstruction significantly more positive results than the first. The number of black state legislators and U.S. representatives increased from two in 1964 to 160 in 1990. The increase in black officeholders is certainly not the sole standard for measuring success, but it is, nevertheless, a striking achievement. The authors correctly conclude that problems associated with minority voting rights are pervasive in the nation's history and will not soon disappear. They see the 1965 statute as a dynamic measure for which there will be a continuing need in the future.
Bruce C. Flack
State College and University Systems of West Virginia
HOLDING THE LINE: THE THIRD TENNESSEE INFANTRY, 1861-1864. Ed. by Robert H. Ferrell (Kent: Kent State Univ. Press, 1994. Pp. 296. $28.00.)
Fortunately for those interested in the Civil War, a profusion of hitherto unpublished Confederate diaries have been edited and made available in book form in the past decade. The majority of those dealt with the war in the upper South, usually Virginia, and it is gratifying to see a work published which offers eyewitness testimony on the war from Kentucky to Louisiana.
At the onset of war Flavel C. Barber was a thirty-one-year-old newlywed Tennessee schoolteacher. Barber helped raise a company of what became the Third Tennessee Infantry and during his service kept a series of diaries which form the basis of Holding the Line. In 1987, Indiana University's Lilly Library acquired Barber's diaries and history professor Robert H. Ferrell has done a splendid job of compiling and editing these.
Involved in minor skirmishes and maneuvers in Kentucky in 1861, Captain, later Major, Barber and his Third Tennessee Infantry felt the weight of the "real war" at Fort Donelson in February 1862 while under the overall command of General Gideon Johnson Pillow. Unfortunately for Confederate hopes in the region, Pillow, like his subordinate at Fort Donelson John B. Floyd, epitomized the nineteenth-century politician turned soldier. He was able to rally public opinion but was totally inept as a field commander.
At Fort Donelson Pillow's command initially carried the contest but the fighting continued nearly four days and the opportunity for victory gradually ebbed. With surrender at hand General Pillow made good his personal escape, leaving the majority of his officers and men to the mercy of the Yankees. Barber's description of the fighting at Fort Donelson and subsequent mass surrender is excellent. Equally impressive and valuable is Barber's detailed, lucid account of his imprisonment first at Camp Chase and finally on Johnson's Island, Ohio. Exchanged after seven months, Barber was sent to Vicksburg and became active in a number of campaigns including Chickasaw Bayou, Port Hudson, Jackson, and Yazoo City.
By late 1863, numerous Confederate defeats severely dampened the faith that had kept Barber's motivation intact. His diary entry of July 30 reveals the sad truth: "We have met with disaster everywhere . . . Port Gibson, Raymond Baker's Creek, Vicksburg, Port Hudson, Jackson . . . Gettysburg . . . all disastrous." The following day, he noted: "Last year at this time the doors of our prison were opened widely . . . our spirits were elated . . . but now all is changed . . . the elastic step of hope has been exchanged for the slow tread of doubt and despondency." On May 14, 1864, Major Barber was mortally wounded in action at Resaca, Georgia, fightin in a prelude to William T. Sherman's Atlanta campaign. He died the next day and achieved in death that which he so hoped to achieve in life, a return to his beloved Tennessee.
In an epilogue the editor offers a fine summation of Barber's service and notes that the Third Tennessee Infantry entered the war 885 men strong and by December 1864 mustered only seventeen. Included in an appendix is a roster of the Third Tennessee, a rarity among Confederate units, that was maintained by Major Barber until his death.
Holding the Line is profusely noted, contains many helpful maps and photographs, a thorough bibliography, and index. It is a highly recommended model for similar works to emulate.
LETTERS FROM A SHARPSHOOTER: THE CIVIL WAR LETTERS OF PRIVATE WILLIAM B. GREENE, CO. G 2ND UNITED STATES SHARPSHOOTERS (BERDAN'S) ARMY OF THE POTOMAC 1861-1865. Transcribed by William H. Hastings (Belleville [Paoli], WI: Historic Publications, 1993. Pp. 329. $24.95.)
Like many other teenagers, William B. Greene joined the army during the Civil War. Leaving behind his widowed mother and younger brother in New Hampshire, he qualified as a marksman to join the Sharpshooters unit being raised by Hiram Berdan, considered the best marksman of the day. Writing home from the training camp at Washington, he describes some of the training, life in the camp and in the city, and how he became an orderly for the company captain. Greene also describes some of the action seen by the Sharpshooters but many of the letters to him from home and by him focus on the activities of friends and relatives back in New Hampshire, his continuing requests for money from his mother, and his efforts to be discharged on a medical disability and sent home.
By the beginning of 1863, he had deserted his unit and went west to Wisconsin, where he was arrested in October. Somehow he managed to avoid formal charges because he had been granted a medical leave of absence and never reported to the hospital. Greene rejoined the Sharpshooters but lost back pay, the opportunity to advance in rank, and gained additional time to serve. His later letters, interspersed with entries from his memoranda book, give better details of the war and his role. By late 1864, he again sought a medical furlough and spent the remaining months of the war assigned to a hospital in Washington. After the war, he tried a career as a shoemaker before moving to Kansas. Unsuccessful at ranching, he ended up as a store clerk and died in 1879 at age thirty-five from injuries received in a buggy accident.
Greene's letters document the attempts of a young man to keep in touch with civilian activities at home while he plots and schemes for a discharge. His memoranda extracts from 1864 provide more details about the war without being cluttered with names of friends and comrades and unimportant incidents. Without a context for this information, the reader is often confused. The compiler of these letters used many photographs of the original letters and guns, as well as sketches of battlefield scenes and other images associated with the Sharpshooters, which make a positive contribution to the overall work.
The book provides some insight into a young man who realized early in his enlistment what a mistake he had made, but it does not provide a view of the Sharpshooters' life. Other diary entries exist for Greene but were not used because they were incorporated in an earlier history of the regiment. The compiler provides no citation for the current location of Greene's collection. The attempt to meet the standards of the memoirs of Elisha Hunt Rhodes falls short.
West Virginia State Archives
THE THIRD DAY AT GETTYSBURG AND BEYOND: MILITARY CAMPAIGNS OF THE CIVIL WAR. Ed. by Gary W. Gallagher (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1994. Pp. x, 217. $24.95.)
Civil War battles disclose far more than examples of tactics and strategy. The Third Day at Gettysburg and Beyond, the initial volume in the University of North Carolina Press's series Military Campaigns of the Civil War, ably advances this thesis by placing leadership and battlefield events in the broadest possible context. As a group the six essays herein challenge a distorting, and often employed, method of writing Civil War history. Instead of treating Gettysburg in virtual isolation from the political and social world, with perfunctory asides to supposedly non-military developments, the authors explore the intimate interconnections of military and civilian realms. They show how everything in the battle had a cultural dimension. Consequently, the twin realities of war's seemingly different communities, soldiers at war and civilians at home, coalesce in one overarching entity. By including the long prelude and lingering resonances of battle, the work demonstrates that even much-plowed ground like Gettysburg can yield a deeper understanding.
Editor Gary W. Gallagher sets the stage for extended analysis of the relation between the field of action and the perceptions of non-participants. In the post-Gettysburg summer of 1863, soldiers in Lee's Army of Northern Virginia generally viewed the fight as a costly setback, not a catastrophe. Confederate civilians were similarly ambivalent, admitting that the horrendous casualty tolls and tactical reverses were indeed disturbing. But they did not place the battle in the category of unmitigated disaster, as they did the fall of Vicksburg. Gallagher also establishes that a few frequently quoted jeremiads have unduly colored historians' accounts. His sample of letters, diaries, and newspapers indicates contemporary evaluations varied widely from the stereotypical view.
The origin of the third day's most famous failed infantry assault likewise diverges from conventional historical wisdom. William Garrett Piston, biographer of Lee's "tarnished" lieutenant James Longstreet, discusses the planning and communications difficulties preceding the two-division (reinforced), frontal attack led by Longstreet subordinate George E. Pickett. Although a complete record of Confederate battle plans is not available, Piston contends neither Lee nor Longstreet originally intended to launch such a perilous maneuver. Faulty coordination and impeded mobility ruined both Lee and Longstreet's initial designs. "Marse" Robert apparently intended a three-division thrust conducted simultaneously with another rebel onslaught elsewhere. Foiled as well was Longstreet's idea for a move around the Union flank. Selecting a Longstreet blunder usually overlooked by writers, Piston criticized the general's "shocking mishandling"(46) of Pickett's division in the hours preceding the critical strike. Before mid-morning on July 3, Longstreet failed to position the unit to support either of the original plans. Bereft of options and prudence, the Confederate commanders ordered The Charge. Moreover, Piston shows how this tactical misstep spawned a theme in postwar recriminations.
The evolution of Pickett's Charge as a hybrid of myth and history is the subject of Carol Reardon's essay. State loyalty, personal feuds, and selective memory erased the line between historical inquiry and fantasy. For decades after Gettysburg, veterans from Virginia and North Carolina argued over whose troops marched farther, retreated later, and bled more. By the battle's fiftieth anniversary, the Virginia version had lodged in the public memory, and as symptoms of popular culture like the movie Gettysburg and the pageants of reenactors attest, there it remains. Another kind of cultural context is described in the unusual biographical sketch by Robert K. Krick. He traces the personal and institutional lives of two brigadiers who died in Pickett's celebrated failure. Lewis Addison Armistead and Richard Brooke Garnett both began life in 1817, entered West Point through the connections of their prominent Virginia families, spent long but undistinguished years in the U.S. Sixth Infantry, and served, before Gettysburg, obscurely in gray. Krick's meticulou research underscores the similarities of the two lives and the dreary but dedicated life of the Old Army.
Focus on the individual and his culture is the foundation of Robert L. Bee's study of Sergeant Benjamin Hurst of the Fourteenth Connecticut, who was near the brunt of Pickett's Charge. The "constructed reality"(132) of Hurst's battle memoirs reveal values and expectations of his comrades and hometown. Similarly, civilian hopes and requirements for Union pursuit after the battle dominated both Yankee commander George Meade and historical judgements. A. Wilson Greene's analysis reveals the general was "cautious, competent, and committed to combat."(193) Wartime critics and subsequent historians found derelictions where none existed.
Overall, The Third Day at Gettysburg and Beyond is a rare collection. Remarkably consistent in focus and high quality, its articles offer fresh research and a coherent, innovative perspective on the history of the most studied Civil War engagement.
James Russell Harris
Kentucky Historical Society
THE BATTLE OF THE WILDERNESS, MAY 5-6, 1864. By Gordon C. Rhea (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1994. Pp. xviii, 512. $34.95.)
Listed by noted Civil War scholar Gary Gallagher as one of the one hundred best Civil War books ever written [Civil War: The Magazine of the Civil War Society, (February 1995): 44], The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-6, 1864 is an insightful new study about the horrendous battle that marked the beginning of Ulysses S Grant's "Overland Campaign" against Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The Battle of the Wilderness was remembered by the soldiers who fought it as a hellish nightmare in a tangled, burning forest that offered little advantage to either attacker or defender. The Wilderness, however, has not received the attention and study of other Civil War battles, perhaps because it has been as confusing to historians as it was to the soldiers and commanders who were there. Gordon Rhea has brought order to this confusion with a wonderfully detailed work of scholarship.
The geographical area where the battle was fought lies fifteen miles to the west of Fredericksburg and a few miles south of the Rapidan River. The Wilderness got its name from the dense pine and scrub-oak forest which blanketed the area, as well as the fact that it was sparsely populated in 1864. With few clearings, artillery would play only a small part in this battle, making it primarily the infantryman's domain. The opposing forces had fought in the same vicinity twelve months earlier during the Battle of Chancellorsville, and relics and skeletons still covered the ground. Rhea describes a group of Union soldiers huddled around a campfire on the eve of the Wilderness battle, amidst the shallow graves of the dead from the previous spring. In this macabre setting, one member of the group flipped a skull out of a grave with his bayonet. Rolling the skull across the ground the veteran remarked, "this is what you are all coming to, and some of you will start toward it tomorrow."(78) He was correct in his assessment: by the time this two-day battle had ended, there were nearly eighteen thousand Union and about eleven thousand Confederate casualties.
Unlike earlier historians who have written about this battle, most notably Edward Steere, The Wilderness Campaign (New York: Bonanza Books, 1960) and Robert Scott, Into the Wilderness With the Army of the Potomac (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1985), Rhea used a variety of sources beyond the standard regimental histories and the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion. The author dug deep into university and historical society manuscript collections to glean diaries, letters, journals, and reminiscences of common soldiers and high-ranking officers alike, providing us with the perspectives of a myriad of the battle's participants. From these sources Rhea found that the soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia "considered the battle a success."(441)
But the losses sustained by the Confederates in this bloody encounter could not be replaced as easily as the Union casualties, and Lee had lost the initiative. In fact, Rhea clearly demonstrates that poor decisions and lapses of judgement by Lee were instrumental in the Union leadership's ability to avert disaster, contrary to what some southerners came to believe in the decades following the war. According to Rhea, "Lee . . . was a gambler. As he often expressed it, the outcome would be decided by providence. When the odds were stacked against success, Lee seemed to abandon logical thought. The result was severe casualties when the South could least afford them."(444) Rhea's assessment of Lee as commander is in keeping with other Lee revisionists, such as Gallagher and Alan Nolan.
This battle also marked Grant's first encounter with the Army of Northern Virginia. Brought east by President Lincoln to manage the overall war strategy, Grant chose to lead from the field, not from Washington. But by setting up his headquarters with the Army of Potomac, Grant placed that army's commander, Major General George G. Meade, in an awkward position. At first Grant and Meade appeared to work well together, but by the end of the Battle of the Wilderness, Rhea contends that Meade did not live up to the task at hand: "Grant was no longer satisfied with merely articulating general objectives and then quietly leaving details to Meade. The previous two days [May 5 and 6] had painfully demonstrated Mead's inability to concentrate his forces with decision. Henceforth, Grant was telling Meade precisely which units to move and where to move them. Grant intended to assume an active role in the Army of the Potomac's affairs."(439)
Rhea also points out that Grant's failure to place Major General Ambrose Burnside and the Ninth Army Corps under Meade's command contributed to the lack of Union success in the Wilderness. Burnside and the Ninth Corps only recently had returned from the western theater after a year's absence from the East. Burnside, however, was the former commander of the Army of the Potomac and senior in rank to Meade. Concerned that Meade and Burnside would not cooperate, "Grant's answer was to treat Burnside's corps as a separate army, free from Meade's control, and to coordinate the two forces himself."(48) The resulting confusion "was a textbook example of the pitfalls of a divided command."(432) Nevertheless, the Battle of the Wilderness demonstrated to the soldiers of both armies that Grant's persistence and determination would change the nature of warfare in the Virginia theater.
Although The Battle of the Wilderness is extremely well written, the detailed descriptions of battle action and troop movements make the book tedious to read. But the maps are useful, numerous, and well drawn, and they assist the reader in wading through the almost overwhelming tactical detail. Rhea's research is impressive, his analysis thorough, and his conclusions sound. The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-6, 1864 can rightfully take its place on the bookshelf alongside such other Civil War battle classics as Edwin Coddington's The Gettysburg Campaign and Stephen Sears's The Landscape Turned Red.
Mark A. Snell
Center for the Study of the Civil War
THE CONFEDERATE REPUBLIC: A REVOLUTION AGAINST POLITICS. By George C. Rable (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1994. Pp. x, 416. $34.95.)
George C. Rable has written a comprehensive synthesis of Confederate politics. He emphasizes the complex relations between the state and Confederate "national" government and its ideological underpinnings, which often conflicted with the military realities of the South's war for independence. This well-organized volume traces its subject from its prewar origins, through the formulation of a Confederate government, and the practical affairs of conducting a war. The author has researched thoroughly the subject and placed his emphasis clearly on Confedrate politics.
Before the Civil War, southern radicals, such as William Lowndes Yancey, turned to the past for inspiration and longed for the early days of the American republic, which they envisioned as "a golden age of political purity and unity."(6) Yet beyond this simplistic view, little agreement existed on what southern "nationalism" meant. The portrayal of a bucolic southern agrarian civilization, which embodied the classical virtues, according to Rable, has "misled historians into exaggerating southern cultural distinctiveness, while neglecting the sometimes narrowly political nature of southern nationalism."(8) Despite the fact southerners railed against politics, they fully participated in the democratization of the political process in the first half of the nineteenth century. The author defines southern republicanism as "an obsessive concern with liberty, a fear of political power, and a passion for individual, state and even sectional independence."(15) Politicians were "viewed axiomatically as demagogues shamefully trimming their sails with each shifting breeze of public sentiment, ever ready to surrender Southern interests to self interests."(16) Rable points out that "not only would a Confederate government have to be constructed from the ground up, but the states would also have to wrestle with the constitutional implications of disunion."(38) However, "politicians were ill-prepared for the task, often having only the haziest notion about the South's political future."(38) The author emphasizes that politicians better understood the "sort of government they wished to avoid than the sort they hoped to create,"(38) and "Secessionists, Cooperationists, Democrats, Whigs: all contributed to the effort but had not buried old political rivalries."(62) Rable describes the constitutional revisions made at Montgomery as "both progressive and reactionary, designed to reform politics and to restore a mythical past."(63) Obviously, this "persistent paradox of a conservative revolution would trouble the Confederacy throughout its short life."(63) The writer critically assesses Jefferson Davis as one who was self-righteous and could not admit to error, and because he "failed to learn from mistakes, Davis lacked the capacity to grow in office."(71)
The author believes that the Confederate voter "is the forgotten man of Civil War history,"(88) and even though unity was a main goal of the political process, "fluidity generally characterized wartime politics."(101) He writes, "the antipolitician rhetoric of the secession threatened to cause a more general loss of faith in government."(112) Ultimately, "in the power struggles between legislatures, governors and state conventions, the politics of unity gave way to a politics of liberty, all sides claiming to defend the people's rights against would-be despots."(115) Rable believes President Davis's inauguration symbolized the control of the Southern leadership class which embraced Washington on horseback as the embodiment of the Southern cause and an eighteenth-century type of revolution. The author is convinced that from birth the Confederate government was incapable of solving its political dilemma of creating and sustaining "a firm political and cultural identity in the midst of bloody civil war while at the same time showing enough flexibility to meet unanticipated demands on resources and will."(124)
This failure caused the politicians to revert to the vicious and personal politics of the 1790s. The debate over the draft and patriotic enthusiasm created an intolerance for dissent which led to the suspension of habeas corpus in areas under threat of invasion. Despite the antiparty nature of the Confederacy, Zebulon B. Vance's election as North Carolina governor showed that vigorous democratic politics had survived. Ironically, the author views Vance, who was critical of the administration in Richmond, as a moderate. Despite antipolitical retoric, President Davis maintained a certain degree of partisanship in his appointment of old military cronies to key positions. Ultimately, both Davis and his opponents failed to establish political organizations because they did not want to appear unpatriotic or political. With mounting battlefield failures, Southerners looked for scapegoats among the wealthy and even Jewish merchants. Rable concludes the politics of the Confederacy did not destroy it. "[I]f anything the political culture of national unity, with its patriotic appeals and symbols, was a source of strength,"(300) and the political values of the Confederacy affected southern politics long after the Civil War.
This solid work has great value for students of the Civil War and sheds light on the political traditions which have influenced the politics of the South well into the twentieth century.
Robert F. Maddox
ANDERSONVILLE: THE LAST DEPOT. By William Marvel (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1994. Pp. xi, 337. $29.95.)
This well-reasoned, meticulously researched monograph is an engrossing story of the notorious Confederate prison compound at Andersonville, Georgia, during the last months of the Civil War. The author, also the biographer of Union General Ambrose Burnside, has probed deeply into diaries and other first-hand reports to build his narrative around the experiences of individual Yankees who spent time in the stockade, as well as the Southerners who guarded them. "The best account of the tragedy of Andersonville that we are likely to have," reads a jacket blurb by James M. McPherson, the noted Civil War historian. "Not afraid to address controversial issues, [Marvel] analyzes the reasons for the suffering and dying impartially and makes clear that Henry Wirz was a victim of passions that played a larger role than evidence in the postwar trial that convicted him of war crimes." Despite the book's obvious assets, this reviewer found an annoying drawback. It is simply overwritten. The author is indeed neutral in his assessment of events and is fair to the overtaxed Confederates who were required to handle the multitudes of Union prisoners on a day-to-day basis, but his often flamboyant language describing the horrors of crowded prison life might have been toned down.
The prison at Andersonville had been established in a remote part of the South due to packed conditions at Richmond's Libby Prison and other facilities in more accessible locations. The crowding was caused in large measure by the federal policy of not entering into any prisoner exchanges that did not include black soldiers, and the Confederacy would not render up men they regarded as runaway slaves. As the overcrowding and accompanying misery increased, thousands of prisoners openly damned Abraham Lincoln for failure to obtain their paroles because of the "Negro question." Some even threatened to escape the hell hole at Andersonville by enlisting in the Confederate army.
From the prison's opening, Confederate manpower and resources were insufficient to cope with the masses of captured Union prisoners dispatched to the hastily constructed stockade. The author does a good job of describing the influx of captured men after specific battles. Living conditions in "shebangs" and even burrows was nothing short of horrendous. "Raiders" regularly stripped newcomers too weak to defend themselves of every valuable including their clothing, although Henry Wirz, the prison commandant, helped the prisoners end the practice. Wirz, the Dutch Captain, a onetime "homeopathic physician" and Swiss by birth, took over in March 1864, shortly after the first Union soldiers arrived on February 24, and he remained until his arrest fifteen months later. He was a sickly overseer who struggled to maintain order in the cramped and filthy conditions at Andersonville. His famous "dead line" circling the prison prompted many survivors to blame him personally for their plight. The author, however, demonstrates that Confederates were shot at higher rate for violating similar lines in Northern prisons than was the case in Georgia. Understandably, William Tecumseh Sherman's capture of Atlanta and his subsequent "march to the sea" led Confederate authorities to transfer thousands of prisoners to safer locations during late 1864 and early 1865.
Andersonville, once the fifth largest city in the Confederacy, simply ceased to exist through attrition during the last days of the Southern experiment in self-government. During its sixteen-month existence, more than forty-two thousand Union prisoners had entered its tight confines and an estimated thirteen thousand remained in prison cemeteries when the end came on May 4, 1865, one month after Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox. "Of the Confederate staff, Henry Wirz alone remained: he noted the next morning [May 5] that five Yankees still lay in the hospital and seventeen in the stockade though almost certainly those seventeen enjoyed the freedom of the camp." Two days afterward Wirz was arrested by Union troops dispatched to Andersonville from Macon. Before he was placed on trial the country was bombarded by press stories about camp horrors and well-chosen comments from prison survivors. "The trial finally began before a military tribunal in a small, stuffy room in the bowels of the U.S. Capitol and Wirz was a dead man from the start." His lawyers mounted a spirited defense to no avail and he was sentenced to the gallows on October 24. The hanging took place on November 10, but "the officers in charge even denied Mrs. Wirz the final comfort of taking his body."
Wirz, in the author's view, was "offered up to appease the public hysteria" engendered by discovery of the prison. Surprisingly, despite Marvel's in-depth account of the camp, no mention is made of Wirz and his relationship to this country's participation in the Nazi war crimes trials at the end of World War II: his execution was used as legal precedent for bringing German officers to account for carrying out the orders of their superiors. In the Confederacy of 1864-65, as the Southern nation was crumbling on the battlefield, it could supply its citizenry only with the greatest difficulty. Ulysses S Grant had to feed Lee's army following the surrender of April 1865, which helps to explain the dearth of provisions at a prison stockade in faraway Georgia. As the end came, a few days before the superintendent's arrest, the author relates: "The few remaining soldiers at the post joined the local inhabitants in a raid on the commissary and quartermaster buildings. By the light of flaming pine knots they carried off the last stores of cornmeal, beef, pork, and blankets without the intervention of a single person while others broke into the corrals and led away a few lean mules."
The ordeal of Andersonville was over and William Marvel tells the story with careful attention to the sufferings of the Confederate troops who ran the place as well as the thousands of unfortunate Yankees who struggled to maintain a daily existence without sufficient medical attention, housing, food, or sanitation facilities.
FROM SLAVERY TO SALVATION: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF REV. THOMAS W. HENRY OF THE A.M.E. CHURCH. Ed., with historical essay, by Jean Libby (Jackson: Univ. Press of Mississippi, 1994. Pp. xxxi, 139. $25.00.)
Accounts of African-American ministers of the gospel prior to the Civil War are few. This slender autobiography, written by Reverend Thomas W. Henry, has been out of print for 122 years. The new edition includes a foreword, introduction, chronology, historical essay, photographs, maps, and an index and will undoubtedly prove more useful to historians and general readers than the original. Henry's autobiography is, in many ways, a remarkable document.
Thomas W. Henry was born into slavery in St. Mary's County, Maryland, in 1794. Ten years later, he was granted his freedom by provisions of his master's will. Apparently because of his youth, Henry was not actually freed until 1821; in the meantime, he served as an apprentice blacksmith. he young apprentice soon experienced Christian conversion, becoming increasingly involved in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Henry spent most of his life in western Maryland, where there was an active community of freed slaves. Seven years after winning his freedom, he was licensed an "exhorter," delivering funeral sermons in isolated areas and preaching to slaves. Later he won more regular appointments to Methodist Episcopal churches, but in 1835, Henry cast his lot with the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) church. For the next forty-two years, Reverend Henry faithfully served this denomination. At times, he attracted listeners from all over western Maryland and from as far away as Harpers Ferry. On such occasions his preaching won numerous converts; as described by Henry, it seemed like "a heaven on earth had begun."(32)
The autobiography provides a nice window through which the reader may view African-American religion of the antebellum years. Here are racially mixed meetings of the Methodist Episcopal church, with both whites and blacks voting on church business. Here is a white minister arrested for preaching an antislavery sermon on the text "wickedness is a reproach to any people."(32) Henry recounts the story of a sort of rebellion by slaves who were skilled iron workers at the Antietam Iron Works. These slaves were highly regarded by their master, who attempted to treat them well; the slaves had free wives and free children. The rebellion of 1835 or 1836 occurred when the owner of the works was away and white overseers attempted to whip one of the black slaves. A slave struck back and the rest of the slaves fled to the woods to await their owner's return. Upon his return, it was the overseers who were reprimanded.
For West Virginia readers, the most interesting passage may be on John Brown's insurrection at Harpers Ferry. When he was captured, Brown had in his pocket a letter to a compatriot, urging that a new ally be located in Hagerstown, Maryland, because "Mr. Thomas Henrie has gone from there."(101) For his part, Thomas Henry denied knowing Brown or having anything to do with the abortive slave rebellion. Henry gathered some letters of reference from respected white people, but one white man in Hagerstown wrote the governor of Virginia, reporting that "the finger of suspicion has been almost universally pointed" at Henry for continuously aiding slaves in making their escapes.(111) Henry finally fled north, and spent the next seven years serving churches in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
After the Civil War, Henry returned to western Maryland, where he served churches and supplemented his income by selling liniments. When he grew too old for the rigors of the ministry, Reverend Henry discovered how unreliable the pensions provided A.M.E. retired clergy were. Henry died in 1877; his funeral was attended by two bishops. One recalled that Henry was of the old school and had always refused to administer the Lord's Supper to those who wore flowers in their bonnets or rings on their fingers. After Henry's death the A.M.E. leadership increasingly was in the hands of a new generation of men and women who never had known slavery.
In her historical essay that follows the autobiography, editor Jean Libby retells the story of Reverend Henry's life, supplementing the story with material from newspapers, land records, church archives, and other autobiographies. Libby explores the question of Henry's alleged involvement in helping slaves escape but reaches no firm conclusions. Libby describes Henry's autobiography as an "Afrocentric" work because the minister mentions whites only as they cross his path. Certainly this autobiography merits praise for providing a rare glimpse into the largely self-sufficient community of free blacks living in the border states prior to the Civil War.
West Virginia Wesleyan College
THE MELUNGEONS: THE RESURRECTION OF A PROUD PEOPLE. By N. Brent Kennedy and Robyn Vaughan Kennedy (Macon, GA: Mercer Univ. Press, 1994. Pp. xviii, 156. $20.00.)
This book is about a little-understood people whose forbearers were among the earliest non-native settlers in Appalachia. Known as Melungeons in North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, there are also apparently related groups which include the Brass Ankles of South Carolina, the Carmel Indians of Ohio, the Guineas of West Virginia, the Cubans of North Carolina, the Lumbee/Croatan Indians of the Carolinas, the Pamunkey/Powhatan Indians of Virginia, and the geographically distributed Redbones.
Outsiders have described these groups as derived from various mixtures of Native American, European, and African peoples. According to Kennedy, who is himself of Melungeon descent, the oral tradition of these groups suggests a Portuguese ancestry. Kennedy develops a hypothesis, based largely on circumstantial evidence, that the Melungeons may, in fact, be descended from Portuguese-derived settlers and soldiers who were part of the Spanish settlement at St. Elena and the four or five forts established by Juan Pardo in the hinterland of what was to become the southeastern United States. A possible related origin is Sir Francis Drake's deposit of several hundred Moorish, Portuguese, African, and Native American peoples from South America at Roanoke Colony in North Carolina.
According to Kennedy, the word generally used in Portuguese society to categorize incompletely assimilated peoples, often dark-skinned and possibly not Christian, was "mulango" which, with its sixteenth-century Portuguese pronunciation, could easily have been transliterated into English as "Melungeon." Historians have frequently cited the French "melange" or "mixture" as the source of the word based on the reported encounters of French explorers in the Ohio Valley region with non-native peoples, an origin which the author vigorously denies. Kennedy cites various events in Ibero-Moorish history and culture to support this hypothesis. He also examines linguistic evidence, particularly proper names, and some recent genetic studies illustrating a link between the Melungeon and Mediterranean peoples. Kennedy argues that the Melungeons are in fact a mixture of Mediterranean, Native American, and possibly sub-Saharan African peoples.
He broadly concludes there could be many origins for these people, which is probably correct. Although the Juan Pardo connection for the origin of the Melungeons can be derived from the evidence Kennedy presents, it is also possible to conclude that mixed-race peoples who had been excluded from the growing colonial white/free black/slave mentality, many of whom passed themselves off as Portuguese to explain physical differences, were the source of this tradition. Certainly, if religion was so important a factor as Kennedy suggests in the arrival of the Melungeons in the southeastern United States, there should be some sort of religious tradition or practice providing further enlightenment. The same could be true of other cultural practices which were not examined.
This book is useful as both a secondary and a primary source. Kennedy's interpretation of the arrival of the Melungeons is creative and has potential for explaining the origin of this little-understood people. However, a great deal more research along the lines he has initiated is required. Although he introduces linguistic evidence and oral tradition, both need to be explored more thoroughly. Some of the methodology employed by historians of African culture may be particularly appropriate for providing further evidence. Kennedy has provided multiple genealogies of family lines, some covering several centuries. In addition, there are numerous pictures of individuals which add to its usefulness. Of particular significance are the lists of family surnames in the various geographical areas inhabited by Melungeons and related peoples.
By his own admission Kennedy is not a historian, so perhaps we can overlook statements such as the one claiming the term "Guinea" is not of West African origin but derives from the name of an English coin. In fact, the coin was named for the West African empire of Ghana. The same is true of statements concerning the "gracious toleration" of Christians and Jews by devout Muslims and that"no attempt was made to interfere in their worship."(100) In addition, Kennedy's attribution of the word "mulango" to a coastal East African origin lacks confirmation in Swahili or Somali.
Kennedy deserves accolades for undertaking this research and sharing his findings in published form. In his discussion of the Guineas of Barbour and Taylor counties, he maintains they are part of the Melungeon-derived people whose ancestors settled originally in Greenbrier County, which is misspelled Greenbriar. This settlement split, with one branch going north to Barbour and one south into western Virginia.
This book is a beginning to understanding a part of our historical origins which has been bypassed by those writing the history of the Appalachian region. Much remains to be done and the recently created Melungeon Research Center at the University of Tennessee, which Kennedy mentions, should be a major step forward, inviting further research into the region's diverse ethnicity.
I. D. Talbott
Glenville State College
NEW WOMEN OF THE NEW SOUTH: THE LEADERS OF THE WOMAN SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT IN THE SOUTHERN STATES. By Marjorie Spruill Wheeler (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1993. Pp. xxii, 280. $45.00.)
Marjorie Spruill Wheeler has written a long-needed account of the southern suffrage movement. Earlier historians, who focused on the women's rights movement in the northeast, failed to investigate regional variations. Even southern historians neglected the suffrage movement probably because it was unsuccessful. For years, A. Elizabeth Taylor toiled alone in the field with her many monographs on the suffrage movements in the individual southern states. Wheeler's comprehensive study of the southern experience is part of a growing body of new work on suffrage and southern women in general.
Wheeler has chosen a biographical approach, analyzing the ideas and actions of eleven white leaders of the suffrage drive. She discusses these women not only as suffrage leaders, but also as reformers, feminists, and political strategists. Wheeler selects women from seven states: from Kentucky, Laura Clay and Madeline McDowell Breckinridge; from Louisiana, sisters Kate and Jean Gordon; from Virginia, Mary Johnston and Lila Mead Valentine; from Mississippi, Bele Kearney and Nellie Nugent Somerville; from Alabama, Pattie Ruffner Jacobs; from Georgia, Rebecca Latimer Felton; and from Tennessee, Sue Shelton White.
"Respectable radicals," as Wheeler says, these well-educated, upper-class women desired to protect the interest of women and children in the tradition of noblesse oblige. They sought many changes in women's role in addition to suffrage by supporting a wide variety of reforms. They were critical of the male leadership of the New South which opposed most reforms of the Progressive period. They were indignant that southern men so often denied women the right to vote in the guise of protecting them. Wheeler establishes the suffrage movement as a full-fledged women's rights movement seeking absolute equality with men. Southern suffragists were self-consciously "New Women" who believed the traditional roles and duties of the sexes needed to be re-examined in the New South.
However, this re-examination situates suffrage within the social and political climate of the period. The author relates suffrage to the issues of race and states' rights, constant themes of southern history. During the 1890s, when white supremacy was uncertain, suffrage leaders argued that if women were allowed to vote, they could help guarantee white dominance. Indeed, Wheeler argues that the suffrage movement emerged at this time because suffragists from both North and South believed that the South's "negro problem" could be the key to victory. However, by 1910, southern politicians had for all practical purposes disfranchised the African Americans and had no need for the votes of women.
After 1910, the issue of states' rights was the major point in the debate over suffrage. Southern suffrage leaders tried to sidestep this divisive argument by woking for state suffrage amendments, but as support for the federal amendment grew, the leaders had to take a position on the issue. By 1915, differences of opinion over states' rights divided the southern movement. The Gordon sisters created the Southern States Woman Suffrage Conference to work for state amendments while the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Woman's Party were pushing the federal amendment. States' rights suffragists failed in their attempt to unify southern women. In the end, both Laura Clay and the Gordon sisters worked against the Nineteenth Amendment.
Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 is described by Wheeler as "bitter fruit." States' rights suffragists were displeased that their enfranchisement had been achieved at the expense of state sovereignty. Even southern suffrage leaders who supported the federal amendment greeted the victory with mixed feelings. They were pleased that they now had the right to vote, but they were disappointed at the failure of southern states to ratify. They wanted their states to contribute to the victory and to acknowledge formally woman's equality. To them enfranchisement through federal "coercion" was an incomplete victory.
Instead of viewing the states' rights argument as simply another way of opposing suffrage, Wheeler makes it clear that southern women actually took states' rights seriously and desired that men acknowledge the equality of the sexes by adopting amendments to the state constitutions. Such amendments would signify the voluntary emancipation of southern women by southern men. Wheeler concludes that the elite, white leaders of the suffrage movement offered no thorough indictment of their society, but they did advocate important changes in the relations between the sexes.
The author has made wise use of rich primary sources; the leaders' personal papers, correspondence, diaries, and speeches provided insight into their goals and methods. She weaves in relevant secondary sources to describe the motivation and accomplishments of the suffrage leaders. Her notes are thoroughly annotated and her bibliography is extensive. The author concludes with an epilogue providing a summary of the later lives of the eleven women. This thoughtful and analytical book offers the general reader as well as the scholar the first comprehensive history of an important period in the history of southern women.
Mary Martha Thomas
VISIBLE WOMEN: NEW ESSAYS ON AMERICAN ACTIVISM. Ed. by Nancy Hewitt and Suzanne Lebsock (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1993. Pp. 415. $18.95.)
In Visible Women, editors Hewitt and Lebsock have compiled an impressive collection of new essays on women's activism. One of the motivating factors for this publication was to recognize and celebrate noted scholar Anne Firor Scott's contribution to the pursuit of women's history. A pioneer in this field, Scott tried to compel the academic community to acknowledge the importance of women and, indeed, to make "invisible women visible." Increasing the number of "visible women," this book directs attention to women's activism during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The editors divided these essays into four sections, each focusing on a specific theme of women's role in the political sphere: formal political ideology and strategy, mobilization for economic justice, reform politics, and the exemplary lives of Scott and Alice Mary Baldwin.
In part one, Ellen Carol DuBois, LeeAnn Whites, Suzanne Lebsock, William H. Chafe, and Sara Evans examine racial, class, and gender tensions that existed among women who struggled for political rights. The articles focus on women's demands for voting rights during the late nineteenth century, the career of Georgia political activist Rebecca Latimer Felton, and the conflict of race and gender in the Virginia suffrage campaign. Lebsock challenges existing notions that suffragists infused their campaigns with racist rhetoric. She argues that it was the antiuffragists who were responsible for the racist arguments in the suffrage debate. Chafe highlights women's involvement in the Progressive Era, which broadens our understanding of the complexities of American life during that contradictory period. The politics of domesticity compelled women to reach into the public arena to improve people's lives. With Chafe's analysis of voluntarism as a springboard, Evans argues that voluntary associations were schools of democracy wherein women made the correlation between private needs and public resources.
In part two, Mary Jo Buhle, Jacquelyn Hall, Nancy Hewitt, and Darlene Clark Hine analyze the battle for economic justice by looking at women's lives through the lenses of occupation, region, race, class, and gender. Buhle studies the needlewoman of the nineteenth century, who in fact was more common than the "factory girl." Using Ola Delight Smith as her example, Hall evaluates the links between domestic and labor relations and considers the role of race. Hewitt explores how women used voluntarism, voting, strikes, and sexual subversion to gain influence in Tampa. Through an examination of the activities and contributions of the Housewives' League of Detroit, Hine proves that these women not only fulfilled traditional domestic obligations but organized to help women survive the Great Depression. She argues that these black clubwomen sought to empower women of all classes and also mobilized consumers to support black-owned businesses.
Part three examines the tensions and contradictions prevalent in reform politics. Deborah Gray White researched the black clubwomen's movement and the conflict it elicited because of the women's feminist commitments as they struggled to attain middle-class status. White's essay points to the dual problems of race and gender faced by black women. Dolores Janiewski examines Alice Fletcher's career as a feminist reformer and champion of the American Indian. This essay proves that some opposed the horrendous treatment of American Indians and campaigned for reform. Fletcher, an ethnographer, clearly saw herself as a defender of the rights of American Indians; however, in promoting her cause she also perpetuated the stereotype of them as children. Her relationship with them was, without question, maternalistic. Janiewski's article shows that Fletcher's reform efforts actually undermined American Indian women's power and prestige within their communities.
Marion Roydhouse evaluates the record of southern chapters of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) in their efforts to establish interracial cooperation during the first two decades of the twentieth century. While these attempts largely failed, the YWCA worked toward cross-class organizing. She suggests that success was realized with the bonds between young working-class white women and campus YWCA chapters. Mary Frederickson examines the relationship between Euro-American and African-American women in southern Methodist churches. While there was inevitable conflict, women in these churches learned from each other in their efforts to address the region's economic, political, and social problems. Frederickson's article challenges the assumption that there was no cooperation between these two historically antagonistic groups.
In part four, Linda Kerber and Nancy Weiss Malkiel trace the remarkable lives of Alice Mary Baldwin and Anne Firor Scott. Both women faced seemingly insurmountable odds as they tried to move into academia. Baldwin and Scott overcame criticism, opposition, and discrimination and, in doing so, opened the doors to a new generation of women's history scholars.
Visible Women is an excellent collection of articles which provide new and insightful interpretations of women's activism in American history. Written by the leading scholars in women's history, this book is replete with primary sources as well as superb secondary material. It is a must for anyone interested in the lives of American women and a particularly valuable work in further exploration of the scope and diversity of women's lives.
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
THE STATE AND LABOR IN MODERN AMERICA. By Melvyn Dubofsky (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1994. Pp. 400. $14.95.)
Melvyn Dubofsky, "intrigued by the relationship between the power of the state and the growth and evolution of the labor movement in the United States," has written a well-researched volume on this subject. Readers will find the overview enlightening, with particularly useful sections on the World War I and World War II periods.
The book is basically a historical narrative that could use more attention on the economic, social, and political conditions of the periods. Key policy shifts are identified and discussed, but at times the reasons for these shifts are not clear. While the author dwells on the desire for political stability and social peace as a driving force for an industrial relations policy, there is little discussion on whether some leaders were "used" or co-opted. Dubofsky skims over those instances where labor leadership resisted collaboration, resulting in such repression as the attacks on the International Workers of the World by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer.
While Dubofsky notes that he avoids local issues, certain local actions seem nationally significant. For example, there is no mention of the use of Army aircraft to bomb coal miners from Kanawha County marching on the non-union Logan coalfield, the use of the National Guard to deal with the Paint Creek coal strikes, or the political attacks on various unions and organizing drives.
Perhaps the major missing factor is the economic rationale for many of the policy shifts. Industrial relations policies were affected when workers were needed for the production of war material. They were also affected as part of the on-going process whereby firms needed new markets and cheaper sources of labor. In fact, one cannot do justice to Section 14B of Taft-Hartley without discussing the need for a two-tier industrial wage system in order to accomplish the economic development of the New South. The tactical plan of political and business leadership to accept temporarily the Wagner Act to save the system while almost simultaneously beginning work on a plan to amend it significantly are not analyzed, even though the historical sequence of events is richly described.
Readers interested in the John L. Lewis-Franklin D. Roosevelt relationship will find the book valuable. While Dubofsky skillfully skirts any significant mention of Lewis's famous break with FDR during the 1940 campaign, ample material is included providing insight into the postwar backlash. The description of the American Federation of Labor's role in weakening the Wagner Act is also revealing. There are several other sections of the book that provide important material. For example, the legal history of the sitdown strike movement and the description of the struggle over union security clauses are important contributions.
The major problem with this book, aside from the exclusion of certain actions by the state as previously noted, is the lack of analysis of who was doing what to whom and why. The overall analysis is relegated to the introduction and conclusion while the chapters themselves are presented as a continuous narrative history. For example, the activities of key leaders like Lewis and Sidney Hillman are carefully described but never fully explained. Internal political disputes within labor organizations and among leaders are occasionally mentioned, without benefit of analysis of their impact. The Cold War roles of the government in fostering organizational splits and cultivating labor's cooperation with foreign policy objectives in the interest of multinational corporate expansion are absent.
Dubofsky's volume is a useful book that documents the declining strength of organized labor with the success of government in designing an evolved labor relations policy that transformed powerful and explosive collective street actions representing the working class to legalistic actions by individuals and relatively small groups in a more formal and controllable courtroom setting. If, in fact, the changed economic condiions of the global economy force into existence new actions and adapted organizational structures to voice these concerns, the history presented in this book must be an essential lesson.
John P. David
West Virginia Institute of Technology
THE OHIO RIVER DIVISION U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: THE HISTORY OF A CENTRAL COMMAND. By Leland R. Johnson (Cincinnati: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ohio River Division, 1992. Pp. x, 484.)
As federal government agencies go, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is one of the best at documenting its contributions to our nation's civil and military development. Many of the corps's districts and divisions have hired professional historians to produce government and local histories that are well researched and generally well written.
A 1992 history of the corps's Ohio River Division by Dr. Leland R. Johnson is a particularly noteworthy addition to the Corps of Engineers history bookshelf. Johnson is an expert on the role of the Corps of Engineers in the Ohio River Basin, having already produced histories of the corps's districts in Pittsburgh, Huntington, Louisville, and Nashville. The Ohio River Division is the crowning achievement of all Johnson's many years of combing old records, examining archival documents, and interviewing key corps commanders and civilian engineers. The Ohio River Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: The History of a Central Command is both an outstanding achievement in historical research and a testament to the contributions the corps has made to the economic development of the nation.
At a time when academically trained engineers were an extremely rare commodity, it was the military engineers from West Point who served mightily in developing crucial land and water highways that allowed the nation's commerce to move from producer to market. It is not an understatement to say that in the nineteenth century, the technical expertise of the Corps of Engineers was a leader in making this nation truly the United States. While today it is fashionable to scorn the work of the federal government, the story of the accomplishments of the Corps of Engineers in river basins all across the country is an example of local, state, federal, and private cooperation achieving concrete positive results.
For anyone with a love for West Virginia and its history, The Ohio River Division is full of information on the state's growth and development. The presence of Army engineers in the state dates from the building of the National Road from the Atlantic Coast to Wheeling and continues through the building of river and harbor networks to the construction of dams and reservoirs at Beech Fork, Bluestone, Burnsville, East Lynn, R. D. Bailey, Stonewall Jackson, Summersville, Sutton, and Tygart. While the corps's district and division boundaries often changed, its continuing impact in West Virginia on navigation improvement, flood control, hydropower production, recreation, water quality, and wildlife habitats is undeniable.
While Johnson describes engineering projects and their economic and environmental impact on the surrounding communities, he also brings into focus the human story of the Ohio River Division. Starting with Lieutenant Colonel William P. Craighill, who in 1884 became the first Supervising or Division Engineer, Johnson details the major personalities who shaped the Ohio River Division as an organization. Therefore, this book is about how people, through the institution of the Corps of Engineers, had a major impact on water resource development in the entire Ohio River Basin and its tributaries.
In addition to the text, the book is nicely illustrated with many historic photographs, maps, and diagrams. Both the notes and bibliography demonstrate a commitment to detail and accuracy and provide the curious reader with a tremendous source of references for future inquiries. Anyone interested in West Virginia history or the history of the Corps of Engineers will want to have a copy of this book on the Ohio River Division. It is an excellent additin to the many quality histories that the Corps of Engineers has produced.
Maryland Department of Agriculture
FROM LEXINGTON TO DESERT STORM: WAR AND POLITICS IN THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. By Donald M. Snow and Dennis M. Drew (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1994. Pp. 367. $19.95.)
This work by Dr. Snow and Colonel Drew is well written and impressive for its style and content. It should be very useful for general readers, scholars, and political-military professionals. The book is unique for what it does not do. Most work in this area, including official publications, has been a collage of official reports, anecdotes, dates, and disputed facts, somehow tied together, but often leaving the reader confused and without an understanding of the overarching events.
The authors do a much better job than most. The writing style is crisp and clear with a refreshing lack of jargon, acronyms, and irrelevant details. Frankly, in the course of years of military experience and additional study as a historian, this reviewer has never read such a plain-spoken analysis of the conflicts we have engaged in over our entire history.
The work's main strength is not the facts or the analysis because historians, government officials, and military officers will always debate these and offer varying interpretations. Its strength is the systematic analysis of the facts concerning major and some minor conflicts. The book provides a very useful framework for understanding and interpreting the U.S. military experience.
Our wars/conflicts are discussed using the same areas of comparison for each conflict. This method allows even the general reader to grasp the threads of similarity spanning our entire military experience. The areas of comparison can roughly be summarized as follows:
a. Issues and Events: Underlying political issues that eventually lead to war and proximate events that trigger hostilities (Ft. Sumter, Pearl Harbor).
b. Political Objective: The basic reason for the war, normally phrased in terms of the result or type of peace that is desired.
c. Military Objectives and Strategy: The goals and methods used to overcome opponent's military capability to resist our political objective.
d. Political Concerns: The effect on national and international politics. In our nation public opinion is and has been of crucial importance.
e. Military Technology and Technique: Technology determines how battles within a war are fought and technique is the methodology for use of the technology.
f. Military Conduct: Limitations placed on the conduct of war, with the spectrum ranging from guerrilla warfare to total war. The authors aptly point out that for the participants on the battlefield, no war is limited.
g. Better State of Peace: The authors' profound definition has two aspects, military victory, which is straightforward, and the political objective, which can only be attained if the defeated accept the victor's objectives. Our nation's history and, indeed, that of humankind bear this out.
After using the aforementioned methodology to look at our conflicts, the authors reach some interesting conclusions. The authors contend: Americans seem to believe peace is the norm and that war is an aberration, however, this is contrary to the human experience; the myth that Americans are militarily invincible owes much to a confluence of geography, natural resources, industry, and good fortune which have enabled us to prevail in most of our military encounters; the strand of anti-militarism that runs deep in American history is in fact isolationism; our military adventures are most strongly supported when they spring from causes that are perceived as absolute and just; and popular support is absolutely essential for the U.S. to pursue a protracted conflict.
The authors' comparison of the Revolutionary War and Vietnam provides an example of their conclusions. Both major nations were attempting to fight a revolutionary force a great distance from the homeland. The native popuation was largely hostile or indifferent to the invader. It was impossible to separate friends from enemies among the native population. The natives usually refused to fight except at times and places of their own choosing; quite often the natives chose guerrilla tactics for which the invaders were ill prepared. The strategy of the revolutionaries in both wars was to wait for the invader to tire and leave. Finally, the loss of popular support in the home nations brought about defeat though the invader's military forces were technically quite capable of continuing military operations.
There is little to criticize in this book. It is short on prescription, however, our entire nation is and has been short on prescriptions to avoid the mistakes of the past, not to mention the future. So the authors and various critics should be forgiven. Two minor points of disagreement are clearly judgement calls. In the introduction the authors state that Vietnam, among other things, was America's "most traumatic" war. In another place they indicate that total war, nuclear holocaust, has "become inconceivable." Without belaboring the point, one can argue our Civil War was almost by definition the most traumatic experience in our nation's history. Sadly, a nuclear holocaust is by no means inconceivable because the means exist and humans are not rational.
These are minor disagreements and do not distract from the value of this splendid volume. It is recommended to lay readers and professionals who are working on or interested in the subject. It would make an excellent basic text for a course on U.S. military history.
Dallas C. Brown, Jr.
Brigadier General, USA (ret)
West Virginia State College
HERE COMES THE SHOWBOAT! By Betty Bryant (Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1994. Pp. xiii, 202. $22.95.)
SHANTYBOAT JOURNAL. By Harlan Hubbard, ed. by Don Wallis (Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1994. Pp. xiii, 378. $22.95.)
In the annals of the Great American Theatre, that section dealing with the uniquely American invention, the Showboat, will probably be little more than a footnote. However, for future references about the personal details, Here Comes the Showboat! by Betty Bryant, who was born to it and lived it for the first twenty years of her life, will be invaluable. With Betty's father's book, Children of Ol' Man River: The Life and Times of a Show-Boat Trouper, published in 1936 by Lee Furman, Inc., we have not only a family history but a history of one of America's little known theatrical enterprises.
When just ten days old, Betty was carried aboard her father's showboat docked at West Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, on the Monongahela River by her mother. The first time her father Captain Billy Bryant saw her he announced to his wife, "she's beautiful, Josie! We'll open the season with Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Eliza can carry her across the ice!" From that time on, to quote Betty, "while other children were learning to walk, I was learning how to swim, and how to set a trotline, gig a frog, catch a crawfish and strip the mud vein out of a carp by the time I was four. Dad called me a river rat."
Liberally illustrated with photographs from her personal collection, Betty relates what life was like on a showboat through the eyes of a child growing up as a member of the owner's family, a member of the cast, and an observer of people who lived along the banks of the Mississippi River system during the twilight years of showboating.
One such observation was during a visit to Ambrosia, West Virginia, on the Kanawha River, where she relates how the annual spring flood had inundated a local grocery store, leaving the storekeeper with a large stock of unlabeled canned goods which he sold for a penny a can. Captain Billy Bryant bought two dollars' worth, and to Betty's delight and the others' disgust, every meal contained a certain element of surprise. For one whole week they all ate peaches instead of vegetables and, for a while, hominy kept showing up instead of dessert.
Showboating began on America's inland rivers in 1832 when the Chapman family from England launched their first floating theater at Pittsburgh. This first showboat started a tradition on the rivers that saw its zenith about 1900. Some were small with seating for less than fifty while others played for twelve hundred or more. They brought melodrama, music, and laughter to the isolated settlers along the banks of the Mississippi River system at a time when there were few means of entertainment available.
The American river has always offered more than entertainment vessels and Shantyboat Journal by Harlan Hubbard describes a more relaxing lifestyle with the river and its natural surroundings. Drifting along with the current on the river in a shantyboat built with his own hands, living with and observing nature on a day-to-day basis had been a lifelong dream of forty-three-year-old Harlan Hubbard and his forty-one-year-old wife Anna. This dream became a reality in 1944. Harlan built his shantyboat in Brent, Kentucky, where he and Anna lived for two years before starting on their odyssey down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to the bayous of Louisiana. Shantyboat Journal is the edited day-to-day observations of Harlan Hubbard during this journey which did not end until 1951. It is from this material that Harlan would later write and illustrate two books, Shantyboat and Shantyboat on the Bayous.
Passages from Shantyboat best set the mood for the book, putting the reader on the craft with Harlan and Anna. "Our original plan was to begin our voyage down the river that first winter, completing the boat on the way. Now that we were actually living on the water, we felt no desire to set ourselves adrift. It was a strange new world we had entered. . . . The spell of the river was upon us." This experience convinced Harlan and Anna to spend the rest of their lives living in complete harmony with the river and on nature's terms at one of the spots they discovered on their journey, Payne Hollow, Kentucky.
Although the reader may tire of some of the day-to-day events of this journal, one keeps reading just to experience the freedom felt by Harlan and Anna. This is best described by Harlan: "The pure delight of drifting. Each time, it was a thrill to shove out into the current, to feel the life and power of the river, whose beginning and end were so remote. We became part of it, like the driftwood. . . . The tension and excitement, the near ecstasy of drifting. We had to stop often and take it in small doses."
Gerald W. Sutphin
THE PAPERS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON. COLONIAL SERIES. VOL. 9: JANUARY 1772-MARCH 1774. Ed. by W. W. Abbot and Dorothy Twohig (Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia. Pp. xxii, 569. $55.00.)
In 1774, George Washington's life changed forever. A planter-businessman for fifteen years, Washington attended the Continental Congress that September, an action that plunged him into the festering imperial crisis. For the remainder of his life, including periods when he supposedly lived in retirement, Washington was a public figure who soldiered, held office, or actively sought to influence affairs within his country. The two years spanned by this volume represent the last time when Washington was truly a private citizen whose energies were absorbed almost solely by his commercial endeavors.
Washington's papers reveal the varied nature of his business concerns. He oversaw agricultural enterprises both at Mount Vernon and on his dower plantations in Tidewater Virginia. He speculated in western lands, operated a fishing industry on the Potomac River, invested in a project to open the upper Potomac to navigation, owned four mills, and administered relations with numerous tenants. He was a no-nonsense businessman. He threatened legal action against tenants who were late with payments, bought and sold slaves, purchased indentured servants, and utilized every ounce of leverage that he possessed to induce, and sometimes to force, neighbors to sell portios of their property near Mount Vernon. Washington could be just as pugnacious toward the British merchants with whom he dealt. He complained of the prices they charged, raged at them for sending the wrong commodities, and returned many items, including "ill shap'd" shoes that he refused to wear.(61) Martha Washington was no less assertive. She complained that a dress purchased for her daughter was "most extravagantly high charged."(110)
The papers concerning Washington's activities as a slaveowner are among the most intriguing in this volume. He authorized the flogging of his slaves and sold two troublesome bondsmen to the West Indies, one to be exchanged for molasses. The correspondence between Washington and his overseers with regard to the chattel was cold and methodical. "I . . . send you a fine, healthy, likely young Girl . . . fit for any business -- her principal employment hitherto has been House Work but [she] is able, or soon will be able to do any thing else," Washington wrote.(185) One of the slaves died of the "mange as bad as I ever saw in a Pigg," an overseer informed him.(73) It was hardly surprising that many of his slaves suffered respiratory problems, as an overseer informed Washington just before Christmas in 1772 that the "Little negroes at yr Plantation is without [winter] cloathg."(139) Physicians were summoned on occasion to treat an ill slave, although such a recourse at times only aggravated matters. For instance, the therapy prescribed for the unfortunate slave with mange was a heavy dose of laxatives.
Washington amused himself with cards (at which he appeared to lose more often than he won), attended concerts, plays, and horse races, relaxed in coffee houses and taverns in Alexandria and Williamsburg, and enjoyed balls and parties. Although he lived in a non-acquisitive age, Washington's appetite for consumerism was gargantuan. He acquired almanacs and books, including a collection of sermons and a traveler's account of Louisiana. He hired Charles Willson Peale to paint his portrait and miniatures of his wife and two stepchildren. He bought horses and dogs. His orders for wearing apparel were endless. He purchased boots, slippers, spurs, gloves, hunting caps, and coats and trousers that were of a "proper kind," that is to say garments that were in fashion in England.(270) His dining table was laden with acquired goods, too, including a variety of nuts, currants, raisins, figs, oranges, lemons, anchovies, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, olives, mustard, coffee, wines, and every imaginable spice.
His accounts indicate that Washington, who turned forty in 1772, was having serious problems with his teeth. Payments to "Mr. Baker Surgn Dentist" appear frequently.(52) Otherwise, Washington was in good health and his only medical expenses resulted from retaining physicians to treat his stepdaughter Martha Parke Custis, who had suffered from epilepsy since infancy. The therapies prescribed by these doctors were unavailing and she died during a seizure in June 1773. Washington was deeply shaken and wrote of this "Sweet Innocent Girl" who had been transported "into a more happy, & peaceful abode than any she has met with" on earth.(243)
The reader will look in vain for evidence of Washington's concern over imperial problems. He took no notice of the Tea Act or the Boston Tea Party. In fact, the only British policies that aroused his interest appeared to be those which affected western lands.
The editors of the Colonial Series are to be commended for both the quality and speed of their work. One additional volume should bring Washington to the outbreak of war with Great Britain, thus completing this remarkable series barely more than a decade after its inception. This series is aimed primarily at specialists in early American history and at Washington buffs. However, even the general reader will find much that is fascinating, for this volume, like its predecessors, opens a window onto pre-Revolutionary Virginia, enabling the reader to better understand daily life in that faraway age.
West Georgia College
THE PAPERS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON. REVOLUTIONARY WAR SERIES. VOL. 5: JANUARY-AUGUST 1776. Ed. by Philander D. Chase (Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 1993. Pp. xxviii, 739. $67.50.)
"The General expects all Soldiers, who are intrusted with the defence of any work, will behave with great coolness and bravery," George Washington told the men of the Continental Army in June 1776.(143) When he wrote those words, Washington was awaiting the invasion of New York by the British army and its Hessian allies. This was to be his first major engagement in the War of Independence. While the general said that he expected his men to fight heroically, he did not know whether that would in fact be the case. Neither did he know how his officers would perform under fire. Intelligence had reached headquarters that the conduct of some American officers had been "bad & Infamous" during the recent fighting in Canada.(8) What Washington sought to do between January and August 1776, the period spanned in this volume of the Revolutionary War Series of Washington's papers, was to get his army ready for the fire and fury it was about to experience.
Washington started from the premise that the American failure in Canada had arisen from "a want of discipline and a proper regard [by the officers] to the conduct of the Soldiery."(10) He meant to correct these shortcomings. The men must be trained daily, he reminded the officers, or they would not respond calmly and rapidly under fire. He promised praise, public notice, and rewards to those officers who performed in an exemplary manner; he threatened exposure and punishment to those who neglected their duties or acted cowardly. He told his officers that the men had to look like soldiers or the enemy would hold them in contempt. He urged the officers to harness their ambition, lest it sow a fatal discord within the corps. If provincial jealousies were permitted to separate the men from different states and regions, he warned, it might prove lethal to the army.
Washington knew that most of these deficiencies resulted from inexperience. He also knew that he was inadequately prepared for the challenge that awaited him. He had been seasoned in the French and Indian War, when he headed Virginia's army for four years, but he never commanded a force as large as the Continental Army or fought a foe as formidable as the professional European armies that were bearing down on New York. Washington must have scorned the numerous letters from his countrymen which trumpeted his skills and looked forward to certain victory.
These papers reveal the crush of business under which Washington labored. He not only struggled to ready his men and complete the defenses about New York City, he was concerned with the army in the Northern Department under General Philip Schuyler and an American force under General Charles Lee that was defending Charleston, South Carolina. He had to deal with Congress. He consulted the legislators on issues concerning the capture of enemy vessels and cargoes, prisoners of war, recruitment, and mobilizing the militia. His letters to Congress suggest that Washington had learned from bitter experience not to anger his civilian superiors. He was direct and forceful and understood the necessity for constraint, while careful not to antagonize Congress as he had alienated the governor of Virginia during the French and Indian War.
Washington took steps that summer to encourage local committees of safety to keep known Tories under surveillance. He warned Congress that Britain would seek to arouse the Native Americans, and he urged that steps be taken to neutralize this potential adversary. He had a low opinion of militiamen, and he devoted considerable thought to how best to utilize the trainbandsmen. He advised that they garrison installations behind the lines and defend strategic spots from loyalist sabotage; militiamen could not be summoned too quickly, for they would consume the army's meager supplies.
Philander D. Chase, the editor of this series, is to be commended. The Revolutionay War Series is proceeding rapidly and with distinction. Readers will find that this series illumines more than General Washington. The soldiers' war, from those on duty to those languishing in prisons, and the civilians' war, from public officials to harried loyalists, unfolds within these pages. Yet Washington is the centerpiece and readers will discover a contemplative man who possessed considerable administrative skills. It is additionally clear that Washington was beleaguered and distraught, yet hopeful. He believed the war could be won, but on the day that Congress voted independence he fatalistically told his men: "We have . . . to resolve to conquer or die."(180)
West Georgia College
NEGOTIATED AUTHORITIES: ESSAYS ON COLONIAL POLITICAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY. By Jack P. Greene (Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 1994. Pp. 488. $60.00.)
Jack P. Greene has gathered together sixteen of his essays, fourteen previously published and one coauthored with Richard M. Jellison, to further his thesis concerning the nature and source of authority in the colonial era. Greene disagrees strongly with the scholarship that utilizes a coercive model of empire with authority flowing outward from a militant center. Instead, Greene insists, the early modern state was not highly centralized but was "characterized by systems of indirect governance and fragmented sovereignties." The colonial elite, through "an ongoing series of negotiations, of reciprocal bargaining, among the center and the peripheries," gave some power to the center but "considerable authority" was retained "in the hands of the principal holders of power in the peripheries."(11) It was only when the central government after 1763 "violated those established systems of authority" and overstepped the boundaries imposed by the provincial elite that the colonies rejected imperial rule.(24)
Greene further disagrees with the view that the Glorious Revolution initiated a period of tight centralized authority over colonial affairs. This view, advocated by such scholars as Richard R. Johnson, David S. Lovejoy, J. M. Sosin, Ian K. Steele, and Stephen Saunders Webb, sees the passage of the 1696 Navigation Act, the creation of the Board of Trade and Plantations in that same year, and the royalization of several proprietary colonies as indicative of the growing power of a strong, coercive central government. Greene contends that far from suffering a loss of power to the central government after the Glorious Revolution, the colonial elite instead bettered their condition. He points out that the Revolution led colonies to demand written guarantees of their rights and that the revolution confirmed colonies' rights to representative assemblies.
Greene, however, ignores the fact that while colonies sought written confirmations of their rights, they did not necessarily receive them, or at least did not receive all they wanted. Massachusetts' new charter fell far short of guaranteeing the Puritan elite the kind of exclusive control they enjoyed prior to 1684. In New York, the assembly tried in vain to have the home government confirm a written charter. The result was that the New York assembly in the 1720s, still lacking a written charter, was forced to insist it had valid rights based on tradition and custom.
While the rights of colonial representative assemblies to exist may have been tacitly acknowledged by the home government, as Greene claims, this right was deemed sacred only by colonists. The provincial elite may well have believed that their "charters were inviolate," that they "were entitled to all the traditional rights of Englishmen," and that these privileges "were inherent and unalterable." Chief among these privileges to colonists was that of a representative assembly, considered by them "a fundamental right."(174, 175) The British ministry did not share this view. Witness the ministry's directive to the Jamaica assembly in 1757 stating that colonies did not have constitutions and that representative government existed only t the forbearance of the home government. Consider the Restraining Act passed by Parliament in 1767 to discipline a recalcitrant New York assembly or the 1774 Coercive Acts that altered the Massachusetts charter. Certainly the maturation of colonial polities during the eighteenth century, covered by Greene in chapters six and seven, is indisputable, but also indisputable is the fact that the colonial elite and the British ruling class did not view colonial politicians or colonial political institutions in the same way.
This difference in perception was one factor that brought about the American Revolution. The Revolution may well have been a "war for political survival" on the part of the elite and a struggle to retain "assembly rights as well," as Greene notes.(183) It was also a war fought by the elite on two fronts. One enemy was indeed the British ministry, intent on reimposing a strict military regime on the colonies to reduce local autonomy. The other was the provincial lower classes, anxious for a share of the spoils and the power.
Greene himself offers tacit proof of class hostility, which he otherwise ignores. As he notes, power in the colonies remained in the hands of a few families, an outcome he attributes to "declining levels of voter discontent with leaders."(237) The statistics he uses to show the dominance of a small elite are open to other interpretations. Rather than indicating voter satisfaction, the statistics underline the political sophistication attained by a few wealthy and dominant families, who remained dominant for generations. The men who held office, as Greene notes, shared certain characteristics in that all were rich, well educated, and members of politically powerful colonial families.
The political dominance of these families is not surprising. Only the elite ran for or held public office. They were elected by fairly docile middling class voters, who cast their ballots orally in the candidate's presence. Until 1765, the elite's control of colonial politics was fairly complete. After 1765, the lower voting class forwarded its own political agenda that included a secret ballot, much to the outrage of the elite. By 1776, the patriot elite, caught between local rebellion and imperial oppression, allied with the patriot lower classes to fight Britain, now identified as the common foe. As Greene observes, government in the empire "was consensual and that metropolitan authority was heavily dependent upon whatever normative resources in the form of loyalty and patriotic attachment the crown could command."(87) Royal authority did in fact end when that support was withdrawn.
While one may disagree with Greene's stance, this collection of essays, like all of his scholarly output, is provocative and well worth reading.
Mary Lou Lustig
West Virginia University
SHENANDOAH: DAUGHTER OF THE STARS. By Lucian Niemeyer, photographer, & Julia Davis (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1994. Pp. ix, 212. $39.95.)
This large-format volume provides ample space to present the beauty and history of the Shenandoah Valley of West Virginia and Virginia. The text by Julia Davis, a tighter, abridged version of her noted Rivers of America series volume by the same title, flows gracefully with the beautiful photographs by Lucian Niemeyer. While the text is presented chronologically from prehistory through the early twentieth century, the photographs are more artistic, mixing nature, foliage, wildlife, and scenic and historic sites, filling the pages with vivid, vibrant color. The Shenandoah Valley's Civil War history dominates the text and with only brief interlude gives way to visual photographic tours for the last third of the volume. The photographs, with depth and density, freeze the historic homes and sites, the people, and land in time, as a compliment to the history and beauty of the Virginias' famous valley.
THE POTOMAC: A NATION'S RIVER. By Arnout Hyde, Jr. and Ken Sullivan (Charleston: Cannon Graphics, Inc. 1994. Pp. 128. $37.00.)
The Potomac is a well-written and illustrated volume coursing the flow of what the authors call the Nation's River from its humble origins in the mountains of the Virginias to its blending with the tidal saltwater of the Maryland-Virginia shore. Noted West Virginia photographer Arnout Hyde and Goldenseal magazine editor Ken Sullivan blend their expert crafts to fashion an attractive volume worthy of their subtitle. The knowledge and wisdom demonstrated in the text are fully supported in the rich color photographs and scattered historical images. The volume will well serve the armchair traveler and entice many to partake of the scenic beauty and rich history of the Potomac River and its many tributaries, whether by automobile, boat, bike, or foot.
FLORENCE CRITTENTON HOME & SERVICES: A CENTURY OF SERVICE TO MOTHERS & BABIES, 1895-1995. By Margaret A. Brennan (Wheeling: Florence Crittenton Home & Services, 1995. Pp. 22.)
In 1883, Charles Crittenton opened the Florence Night Mission, named for his daughter Florence who had died at the age of four, in New York City. The Night Mission was intended to rescue prostitutes and other "fallen women" and help them find their way back to society. In 1895, the National Florence Crittenton Mission was established under the direction of Dr. Kate Waller Barrett, an obstetrician, and Crittenton to assist unwed mothers. The philosophy of the national mission was to provide, through local homes, a Christian environment for mother and child, thereby giving both a moral foundation. The Crittenton mission emphasized that mothers and children should be kept together whenever possible, as child care would help to uplift the fallen mother.
Florence Crittenton Home & Services: A Century of Service to Mothers & Babies, 1895-1995 documents Wheeling's Crittenton Home, which began in 1895 as the Florence Crittenton Rescue Home. Detailed here are changes in staff, budget, facilities, and services offered. While the organization has undergone many changes in one hundred years, its guiding principle has remained to provide for young women a haven from negative influences and to give them the assistance they need to get through a difficult situation.
MOUNTAIN BOY. By Samuel W. Rogers (Logan, WV: Radarta Books, 1993. Pp. xii, 136.)
Samuel W. Rogers shares his memories of the Logan County coalfields between 1940 and 1960. Stories of friends and family, church and school, ghosts and general mischief-making will ring true for many who grew up in mountain communities in the twilight years of the coal camp in Appalachia. Rogers takes pride in his contribution to the region's tradition of storytelling as a means to preserve a bygone era.
THE MOUSE HUNTER: A WEST VIRGINI MEMOIR. By Gaynelle Straight Malesky with Lann A. Malesky (Parsons: McClain Printing, 1994. Pp. ix, 112.)
Gaynelle Straight Malesky recalls with warmth and humor her youth in Marion County between the world wars. The youngest of eleven children, Malesky grew up on a 160-acre farm where there was always plenty to do. Much of the narrative revolves around her reminiscences of chores and other activities of a busy household. Education also plays a role, as Malesky attended first a one-room schoolhouse on Pantherlick Run, then the Grant Town Graded School, and Fairview High School. Following in the footsteps of three sisters and a brother who were teachers, Malesky attended Fairmont Normal School and West Virginia University, graduating with a degree in education in 1931. Teaching prospects were few in the early years of the Depression, but Malesky landed a position at the Pantherlick School and remained there until her marriage in 1936.
ELKINS, WEST VIRGINIA: THE METROPOLIS REVISITED. By Robert C. Whetsell (Parsons: McClain Printing, 1994. Pp. v, 217.)
Hundreds of previously unpublished photographs enliven this study of Elkins, the Randolph County community developed by capitalists Henry Gassaway Davis and his son-in-law Stephen B. Elkins. Businesses, industries, schools, and government institutions are all represented, as are prominent individuals and families. Two chapters are devoted to Davis and Elkins College, including one on the college during World War II when student flight instruction was offered through the Civilian Pilot Training Program.
THE HISTORY OF THE STONE FAMILY WHO SETTLED IN THE SOUTH AND THE CHERRY FAMILY OF TENNESSEE. By Martha Jane Stone (Lexington: Poole Press, 1993. Pp. 481. $64.95.)
This volume traces the Stone family from its earliest known progenitor, William Stone de Twiste, born in England in 1490, through descending lines in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The Cherry family is traced from its first members to come to the New World in the seventeenth century -- John, who settled in New Norfolk County, Virginia, and William, who settled in North Carolina. Other related lines include the Hardeman, Head, Murphy, Speer, Gregory, Peyton, Wells, and Winters families. Deeds, vital records, photographs, and personal reminiscences of many family members are reproduced here.
THE HORNBOOK OF VIRGINIA HISTORY: A READY-REFERENCE GUIDE TO THE OLD DOMINION'S PEOPLE, PLACES, AND PAST. 4th ed. Ed. by Emily J. Salmon and Edward D. C. Campbell, Jr. (Richmond: The Library of Virginia, 1994. Pp. xi, 319. $29.95.)
This informative and well-designed reference book provides a wealth of information about the Old Dominion. It begins with a brief history of the state, tracing developments from the earliest known native inhabitants through the landmark 1989 gubernatorial election in which Lawrence Douglas Wilder became the country's first elected African-American governor. Separate chapters list population changes between 1610 and 1990; important historic documents in Virginia history; governors, 1607 to 1994; lieutenant governors, 1852 to 1994; attorneys general, 1643-1994; U.S. presidents; members of Congress; and other federal office holders. The chapter on Virgina counties, giving the dates of formation and namesakes, includes those counties that are now in Kentucky and West Virginia. Other chapters provide information on places of historical significance, educational institutions, rivers, cities, and parks.
THE ASSASSINATION OF LINCOLN: HISTORY AND MYTH. By Lloyd Lewis (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1994. Pp. vii, 367. $12.95.)
GENERAL LEE: HIS CAMPAIGNS IN VIRGINIA, 1861-1865. By Walter H. Taylor (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1994. Pp. v, 314. $12.95.)
HARDTACK & COFFEE: THE UNWRITTEN STORY OF ARMY LIFE. By John D. Billings (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1994. Pp. viii, 413. $14.95.)
HAYES OF THE 23RD: THE CIVIL WAR VOLUNTEER OFFICER. By T. Harry Williams (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1994. Pp. vi, 324. $13.95.)
LEE'S LAST CAMPAIGN: THE STORY OF LEE & HIS MEN AGAINST GRANT-1864. By Clifford Dowdey (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Pres, 1993. Pp. xi, 415. $14.95.)
THRILLING DAYS IN ARMY LIFE. By General George A. Forsyth (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1994. Pp. ix, 198. $8.95.)
WOMEN IN THE CIVIL WAR. By Mary Elizabeth Massey (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1994. Pp. vii, 371. $14.95.)
With the continued interest in the Civil War, many publishers are reprinting classic histories. The seven books listed here are excellent examples of works worth revisiting. The University of Nebraska Press has chosen well for this market and added insightful introductions as a bonus.
General Lee by Walter H. Taylor is the most famous account of the Confederate general by one of his subordinates. Lee relied on Taylor to handle much of the onerous paperwork that the general abhorred. Theirs was a deeply intimate relationship, especially as Lee's health began to decline and Taylor had to protect Lee from overwork. After the war, Taylor was called on many times to set the record straight about the controversies surrounding Lee's decisions. Especially revealing is Taylor's gentlemanly defense of slavery and white racism that always sounds so much more palatable from the mouth of a Virginia aristocrat. The character studies of Lee's generals are quite interesting and the maps are very useful.
Hardtack and Coffee by John Billings, a Union veteran from Massachusetts, gives a detailed picture of the life and hardships of the common footsoldier -- in camp, on the march, and in many bloody battles. The illustrations by Charles Reed are particularly evocative and realistic. This book is striking for the pulse of life that runs through it.
A selection that is important for West Virginia readers is T. Harry Williams's Hayes of the 23rd. Rutherford B. Hayes considered his days in the Civil War to be his "golden years" despite being elected president in 1876. His Ohio regiment spent much of the early war years in West Virginia. The 23rd also fought with many West Virginia Union regiments. This book is an excellent study of the responsibilities of a regimental commander in addition to being a valuable personal picture of Hayes.
No one historian had attempted a study of the women of both the North and the South until the publication of Mary Elizabeth Massey's Bonnet Brigades, reprinted here as Women in the Civil War. Massey shows what a watershed the Civil War proved to be in the lives of American women. The sacrifices and privations they endured were somewhat offset by new freedoms and duties. A southerner herself, Massey tends to concentrate on the Confederate side. Another drawback is the reliance on testimony primarily from wealthy white women who had the time and education to write about their experiences. Massey estimated that some four hundred women served clandestinely as soldiers. All in all, this is a coherent and intelligent account of the "women's war" from 1861 to 1865.
Thrilling Days in Army Life describes the action-packed life of General George A. Forsyth. Originally published in 1900, this work will be of interest to both frontier and Civil War buffs. Dangerous Indian War engagements and an eyewitness account of the surrender at Appomattox are colorfully described. Of special interest are the drawings of Rufus Zogbaum, a leading military artist of his day.
Probably the most scholarly of these reprints is Clifford Dowdey's 1960 work, Lee's Last Campaign. Well researched and very readable, this book is the best study yet of Lee's last desperate improvisations and strategies against an overwhelming Union army led by the tenacious Grant. Lee's brilliance could not reduce the hopelessness of his once great army. Dowdey shows how Davis's governmental meddling prevented the coordination needed between Confederate commanders. There are several excellent critiques of the Confederate generals under Lee. The maps and bibliography are very helpful. This book, cinematic and inspired in style, will be a benchmark in Civil War literature for years to come.
On April 14, 1865, Presidnt Lincoln was assassinated and instantly a whole mythology of conspiracies, motivations, and political intrigue surrounded the tragedy. Lloyd Lewis's The Assassination of Lincoln has become a standard work on this event. Analyzing the myths and realities, Lewis gets to the sober facts of how and why while producing a fascinating social history. This book is a fitting endpiece to the University of Nebraska's reprints. These works are printed in affordable paperbacks and should be readily available in a local library or bookstore.
AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORIC PLACES. Ed. by Beth L. Savage (Washington, DC: The Preservation Press, 1994. Pp. 623. $25.95.)
Compiled from the records of the National Register of Historic Places, African American Historic Places documents over eight hundred places in forty-two states and two U.S. territories, arranged by county, that have significance to black history. Each site entry provides an address and brief description. Eight essays discuss various contexts for recognizing, researching, and preserving the historical experiences of African Americans. West Virginia entries include: Douglass Junior and Senior High School (Cabell County); Camp Washington-Carver (Fayette County); Maple Street Historic District and Mt. Tabor Baptist Church (Greenbrier County); Trinity Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church (Harrison County); Halltown Union Colored Sunday School, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, and Jefferson County Courthouse (Jefferson County); African Zion Baptist Church, Canty House, East Hall at West Virginia State College, Garnet High School, Elizabeth Harden Gilmore House, Mattie V. Lee Home, Simpson Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, and Samuel Starks House (Kanawha County); World War Memorial (McDowell County); Hancock House (Mercer County); Union Historic District (Monroe County); and Bethel AME Church (Wood County). This well-organized volume is indexed by city, occupation, individuals, organizations, subject, and national register listing name and is a good introduction to extant black material culture.
NATIVE AMERICANS BEFORE 1492: THE MOUNDBUILDING CENTERS OF THE EASTERN WOODLANDS. By Lynda Norene Shaffer (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1992. Pp. xxi, 124.)
Part of M. E. Sharpe's series Sources and Studies in World History, Native Americans Before 1492 focuses on the moundbuilding region of eastern North America and its place within the spectrum of world history and cultures. Shaffer documents the three epochs of moundbuilding activity: 1500 to 700 B.C. in the Lower Mississippi Valley region, 500 B.C. to 400 A.D. in southern Ohio and along tributaries of the Ohio River, and 700 to 1700 along the Mississippi River in what is now Illinois. Using archeological studies and the accounts written by early explorers, Shaffer describes how these regions became centers of both political and economic power and demonstrates that the native cultures which developed there were very advanced. This volume is illustrated with maps, drawings, and photographs of artifacts from the mounds.
AMERICAN HERITAGE (45:7, November 1994) "Country Music: Its Rise -- and Fall," by Tony Scherman, discusses the music that was influenced by many West Virginia artists, includes photos; "The Selling of Libby Prison," by William B. Meyer, explains the fate of Richmond's infamous Civil War prison where many West Virginia Union soldiers were incarcerated, includes photos.
(46:1, February/March 1995) "Abraham Lincoln Again," by Geoffery C. Ward, discusses three new and important Lincoln works; "How Did Lincoln Die," by Richard A. R. Fraser, analyzes the true causes of Lincoln's death, includes photos.
(46:2, April 1995) "Mound Country," by Michael S. Durham, discusses the moundbuilding cultures of prehistoric Native Americans, includes photos.
APPALACHIA (27:3, Summer 1994) "The Cabin Creek Success Story," by James E. Casto, discusses the twenty-year history of a West Virginia crafts cooperative, includes photos.
APPALACHIAN JOURNAL (21:2, Winter 1994) "Interview With Jayne Anne Phillips," by Thomas E. Douglas, is a conversation with a West Virginia writer who has garnered national acclaim.
(21:3, Spring 1994) "Filmmaker Jacob Young," by Thomas E. Douglas, is an interview with a popular West Virginia director.
(22:1, Fall 1994) "Breece Pancake and the Problem With Place: A West Virginia State of Mind," by Thomas E. Douglas, discusses a West Virginia writer's point of view and style.
CIVIL WAR TIMES ILLUSTRATED (33:1, March/April 1994) "A Single Step," by Jeffry D. Wert, discusses one of Stonewall Jackson's first battles at McDowell, includes photos.
(33:2, May/June 1994) "Was Lincoln The Great Emancipator?" by Caesar Roy, questions Lincoln's politics and motives concerning emancipation.
(33:4, September/October 1994) "The Glory Years," by Peggy Robbins, story of Rutherford B. Hayes in the Civil War, includes photos.
COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG (16:4, Summer 1994) "John Marshall and the Trial of Aaron Burr," by Edwards Park, discusses the clash between Jefferson and Marshall at the famous Burr trial.
GOLDENSEAL (20:2, SUMMER 1994) "The Mortgage Lifter: A Man and his Tomato," by John L. Marra, is the story of success in crop breeding in Cabell County, includes photos; "It Was Crowded Up There," by Joy Gregoire Gilchrist, discusses paddlewheelers on the Little Kanawha, includes photos and maps; "A Mother's Legacy," by Eva Sieblod, is the story of quiltmaker Catherine Mann, includes photos; "Nickels and Dimes by the Barrelful: Taking the Bus in Huntington," by James E. Casto, discusses the early public transportation system in Huntington, includes photos; "In a League of Its Own," by Louis E. Keefer, is a story about the golden era of Fairmont softball, includes photos; "Echoes of Things Past," by Peggy Ross, recalls Preston County's famous Oak Park, includes photos; "The Cliftonville Riot," by Mary Zwierzchowski, is the story of a Brooke County battle between miners and deputies, includes photos; "Cinder Bottom," by Jean Battlo, is the story of a red-light district in the McDowell County coalfields, includes photos; "Blackberry Time on Cold Knob Mountain," by Ruth Spencer Zicafoose, recounts how these berries were picked in Greenbrier County; "Mountain Music Roundup," by Danny Williams, discusses some of the latest recordings of Appalachian music; "Farewell to a Dulcimer Man: Walter Miller, 1914-1994," by Gerald Milnes, is a eulogy for a famous Nicholas County musician.
(20:3, Fall 1994) "Coal Camp," by Sylvia Kelemen Yost, remembers life in Nellis, Boone County, includes photos; "Bee Tree: On the Trail of Wild Honey," by Skip Johnson, discusses how to find and harvest wild honey, includes photos; "What I Believe: Frank Rushden's Life and Faith," by Michael Meador, isthe story of a Logan County resident who has Muslim roots in Syria, includes photos; "Carl Rutherford: Music from the Coalfields," by Jim McGee, is the story of a McDowell County singer/guitar player, includes photos; "Annie's Story," by Angela Kraus, remembers a Lewis County Irish-German homemaker, includes photos; "A Home for the Homeless," by Richard Brammer, remembers the Pleasants County Poor Farm, includes photos; "Rebuilding a Dream: The Other Mill at Jackson's Mill," by Joy Gregoire Gilchrist, is the story of moving a Greenbrier watermill to Lewis County, includes photos; "North-South: The Big Game of '43," by Louis E. Keefer, recalls a great football tradition in West Virginia, includes photos; "Sporting Goods," by G. Curtis Duffield, recounts humorous tales of a Charleston sporting goods store clerk; "The Hog in the Road & Other Tales From Trout," by Martha J. Asbury, offers folk tales from Greenbrier County, includes photos; "Mountain Music Roundup," by Danny Williams, discusses the latest in West Virginia and Appalachian music recordings and performances.
(20:4, Winter 1994) "Interviewing the Best," by Tom Screven, is a conversation with the Mail Pouch sign painter Harley Warrick, includes photos; "Mail Pouch Signs Today," by Debby Sonis Jackson, updates this sign painting tradition, includes photos; "Out in the Weeds and Briers," by Ken Sullivan, is an interview with a descendent of New River Valley slaves, includes photos; "Ramps," by Yvonne Snyder Farley, discusses the famous plant and recipes, includes photos; "A Place for Memories," by Lucy Taylor, is the story of the Leatherman Barn of Hardy County, includes photos; "More Than a Century," by Arthur C. Prichard, remembers oilfield worker Doc Elliot, includes photos; "Water Witching," by Jacqueline G. Goodwin, discusses the ancient art of finding water, includes photos; "The Seat of Choice," by Gerald Milnes, tells how to make split-bottom chairs, includes photos; "The Armed March in West Virginia," by Joe W. Savage, recounts the battles between miners and deputized guards at Blair Mountain and Crooked Creek; "Spring Cleaning," by Louise McNeill, remembers old-time housework, includes photos; "Hit and Run," by Richard Ramella, recounts a McDowell County mini-mystery; "The Bishop of Cinder Bottom," by Edward H. Thomas, is a minister's story of charity work in this red-light district in McDowell County.
(21:1, Spring 1995) "The Island," by Louis E. Keefer, discusses heavily populated Wheeling Island, includes photos; "Cox's Store," by Jessica L. Cox, recounts a Hampshire County retail landmark, includes photos; "Mayberry in Harrisville," by Larry Bartlett, describes Sheriff Fred Dotson and how he kept the peace in Ritchie County, includes photos; "Go See Willard," by Carl E. Feather, discusses a Preston County farm machinery seller, includes photos; "A Happy Warrior," by Kyle D. Wolvern, tells of the travels of Jimmy Wolford, a musical performer and political activist, includes photos; "Looking Back on a Busy Life," by Helen Carper, looks back on the active life of Phyllis Hamrick from St. Albans, includes photos; "A West Virginian or Nothing," by Norman Julian, is the story of fix-it man Fred McCoy and his colorful life in Monongalia County, includes photos; "Preacher Carr," by Pearl Bratton Faulkner, recounts memories about a West Virginia circuit rider, includes photos; "Country Roads," by William E. Stinespring, discusses the clearing of roads and transportation routes in West Virginia, includes photos; "Teeth, Turtles & Tourists," offers winning tales from the 1994 West Virginia State Liars Contest.
NOW & THEN [East Tennessee State University] (12:1, Spring 1995) "West Virginia's Environmental Council," by Mary J. Wimmer, discusses the statewide group of activists and citizen lobbyists who have proven so effective in West Virginia, includes photos.
West Virginia History Journal
West Virginia History Center