|Book Reviews, Book Notes, and Periodical Literature|
WHY THE CONFEDERACY LOST. Edited by Gabor S. Boritt (New York: Oxford Univ. Press. 1992. Pp. xii, 209. $19.95.)
Out of the 1991 Gettysburg Civil War Institute has come a new book, Why the Confederacy Lost, edited by Gabor S. Boritt. It is a collection of five clearly defined, well-written essays, each by a distinguished historian. The common theme is the Confederacy was lost battlefields, despite the many interpretations to the contrary.
In the book's initial essay, "American Victory, American Defeat," James M. McPherson rejects the position that Union victory was "inevitable." Logically and methodically, McPherson takes the reader through the many "internal" and "external" explanations used to rationalize the defeat of the Confederacy. He refutes each one using clear examples and substantiated interpretations. McPherson argues the Civil War was lost by the South at places like Antietam, Perryville, Gettysburg, Vicksburg and Atlanta. "To understand why the South lost," McPherson writes, "in the end, we must turn from large generalizations that imply inevitability and study instead the contingency that hung over each military campaign, each battle, each election, each decision during the war."
McPherson's work provides a good transition for "Military Means, Political Ends: Strategy," by Archer Jones. Jones looks closely at the linkage of strategy and politics and explores the evolution of the strategies of the opposing forces. Through a meticulous recreation of the strategies employed, Jones comes to the intriguing conclusion that all things considered, the Civil War was strategically a stalemate. "Military strategy," the author contends, "had a neutral effect in the war."
In the third extremely well-documented essay, "`Upon their Success Hang Momentous Interests': Generals," by Gary W. Gallagher, the focus is on Ulysses. S Grant, William T. Sherman and Robert E. Lee, the three generals he feels shaped the military arena of the war most significantly. While not denying the impact of other military commanders, both North and South, Gallagher maintains that Grant, Sherman and Lee "shaped military events to a far greater extent than any of their comrades." Gallagher writes that "it is impossible to discuss the reasons for the northern victory or southern defeat without coming to terms with their dominant roles in the war." It is this "coming to terms" which Gallagher does quite well in his essay. Gallagher is fair to all concerned, giving Grant and Sherman credit as the architects of northern victory. He is also even-handed with Lee, concluding that despite recent criticisms, the general followed the best course of action available to him at the time.
From the panoramic perspective of the generals, Why the Confederacy Lost examines the common soldier in "The Perseverance of the Soldiers," by Reid Mitchell. The author scrutinizes battalions, companies and regiments to identify reasons for the outcome of the war. Regardless of larger population base and material superiority in the North, Mitchell questions what the consequences would have been "if the men of the North had not volunteered in droves" during the first two years of the fighting. He applies the lessons learned from Vietnam, where manpower and materials did not ensure victory, and then explores the varying levels of motivation and cohesion on the front line.
The final essay by Joseph T. Glatthaar proved to be the most interesting of the five works. In "Black Glory: The African-American Role in Union Victory," Glatthaar examines the obvious and not so obvious roles slaves and former slaves played in the Confederate defeat. There is a great deal left to be studied on the impact of African Americans and Glatthaar's offering should motivate scholars and non-scholars to study further these fascinating contributions.
Why the Confederacy Lost is an intelligent, clearly focused, well-edited book worthy of attention. It is deserving of a place on the bookshelf of any student of the Civil War. Donald.
Gary L. Conway
Clifton Forge, Virginia
A WOMAN'S CIVIL WAR: A DIARY, WITH REMINISCENCES OF THE WAR, FROM MARCH 1862. By Cornelia Peake McDonald, edited by Minrose C. Gwin (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1992. Pp. 352. $14.95.)
Winchester, Virginia, saw constant troop movements from the earliest days of the war until Appomattox. The community changed hands so frequently during the course of the war that it must have seemed to the its residents that there was forever an ill wind blowing. Fortunately for us, Cornelia McDonald, a middle-class white woman, mother of nine children and resident of Winchester, kept a diary of events between March 1862 and August 1863. Her husband marched into history with the famed Stonewall Brigade and at his request she kept the diary, even after his death.
McDonald's diary and postwar reminiscences are insightful and compelling. First published by her son in 1935, the 1992 edition of A Woman's Civil War includes material her edited out by her son and offers the reader a view of the Civil War all too often ignored. Through McDonald's writings, the personal tragedies on the homefront establish equity with those on the field of battle.
That McDonald was able to sustain her family and cope effectively with the myriad problems facing her daily is nothing less than remarkable. From her vivid description of the first time Yankee soldiers came to her home to the day, sixteen months later, when she was finally compelled to abandon her ravaged farm, she relates in haunting detail the trials her family endured. The reader accompanies her on repeated trips to Union General R. H. Milroy's headquarters as she seeks some remedy to the depredations of war visited upon her family by his army.
McDonald shares her sorrow at the death of her baby daughter Bess and her mixed emotions when the tide of war brought her husband home briefly the following week. She recounts the horrors of slavery in describing the loss of Lethea, a female slave and nurse to the McDonald children. Despite McDonald's objections, Lethea's owner sold her and one of her two children in October 1862 because he was afraid she would leave with Yankee soldiers. McDonald remembered, "I went up stairs into a room where she was busy tacking down a carpet. Her tears were falling on her hands as she held the hammer. . . . I could not tell her she had to go, dreading to witness her sorrow, but turned away. . . ."
In July 1863, McDonald and her children moved to Lexington, Virginia, where her husband came to recuperate from an illness the week before Christmas 1863. This proved to be his final visit and he died December 1, 1864, at Richmond.
This edition of Cornelia McDonald's diary includes her postwar reminiscences written in 1875. In combination with the diary, this work is both moving and educational. Unfortunately, the $49.50 price of the hardback edition may deter some casual readers, though some may justify purchasing the paperback version.
LEE AND JACKSON: CONFEDERATE CHIEFTAINS. By Paul D. Casdorph (New York: Paragon House, 1992. Pp. 498. $24.95.)
Paul Casdorph's most recent book examines the lives of two prominent Confederate generals, Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, in an attempt to show that their military successes in the first half of the Civil War stemmed from their prior encounters with each other. He begins by tracing their family lines, both were Virginians although from different regions and economic backgrounds, and their training as West Point cadets. He devotes two chapters to the Mexican War, where both saw action, and then follows Lee's army career and Jackson's tenure at the Virginia Military Institute until the outbreak of the Civil War.
Casdorph moves back and forth between the two leaders, relying heavily on earlier biographies and The War of the Rebellion records to emphasize their similar thinking as they attempted to win victories for the Confederacy. Their cooperative efforts ended in May 1863 with Jackson's death at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Casdorph concludes with a short summation of the remainder of the war and Lee's last years until his death in 1870.
While Casdorph explores their pre-Civil War years more fully than most biographers, he can only surmise in several instances that they had contact with each other because they were in the same area at the same time. No doubt they knew of each other by reputation, but letters or other written evidence of meetings and conversations are not cited in this work. Most Civil War scholars will recognize the wartime sources he cites but will find little new information about either general.
Casdorph has a distracting tendency to use last names and several nicknames in referring to the generals. He also refers on occasion to a "local historian" making a statement, but determining the exact source in the endnotes for a particular piece of information is difficult. The book suffers from some factual errors and typographical errors which interfere with the reader's concentration, although the latter may be the fault of the publisher rather than the author. On the map of western Virginia(209), the Staunton-Parkersburg Pike is depicted twice and Parkersburg is misspelled each time. In the account of the Seven Days fighting, June 30 becomes July 30(274). However, the book properly reflects Casdorph's years of reading and teaching Civil War history and his deep interest in the lives of two of its celebrated generals.
West Virginia State Archives
ABANDONED BY LINCOLN: A MILITARY BIOGRAPHY OF GENERAL JOHN POPE. By Wallace J. Schutz and Walter N. Trenerry (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1990. Pp. 243. $32.50.)
The Civil War is an extremely complex subject and the number of scholarly publications voluminous. Biographies of the personalities is one approach to studying the war and there are considerable works on the generals of the period. Examining their lives and careers can explain the strategy of certain battles. Each general had an individual style, although most who attended West Point noted that individuality was discouraged and conformity emphasized. Wallace J. Schutz and Walter N. Trenerry contend that John Pope is a major figure historians have overlooked as a primary topic. Their study of Pope closes this small gap in our historical knowledge about his role in the most important war in American history.
The authors provide a credible account of Pope, the son of Nathaniel Pope, the first territorial secretary of Illinois. John Pope graduated from West Point, seventeen in a class of fifty-six, in 1842. While at the academy, he studied tactical procedures under Dennis Hart Mahan, father of later Secretary of the Navy Alfred T. Mahan and 1824 graduate of West Point. Although Pope's career was troubled by several failures, it should not be discounted as a career ranking him lower than some of his contemporaries. Nearly every general was plagued by mistakes in both peacetime and war, later brought to light by historians.
The authors have written a very detailed and carefully researched account of his military life, including his scientific contributions. Most of his successes occurred prior to the Civil War when the west was linked to the east by railroads. Pope played a significant role during this time of great expansion and exploration. In the outgoing Congress of Millard Fillmore, the Secretary of War was directed to fund explorations to ascertain the best practical, economic route to the Pacific Ocean. Pope, under his first independent order, took command of surveying the eastern half of the 32nd parallel. In the west, he conducted experiments for irrigation by means of artesian wells and studied meteor showers and atmospheric electrical disturbances. In 1859, Pope completed his apprenticeship, having spent his military career on the frontier except for the brief leaves in St. Louis and other parts of Missouri. Soon his military career shot upward and within three years peaked, before descending into its "bitter anticlimax of thirty years."
Pope's character and abilities are explored during these next few years. The battle of Second Bull Run was his singular defeat. Nothing during his twenty-four additional years of military service could keep him from being associated with this great defeat by the public. During the war, it became increasingly obvious that his failure lay in his inability to establish a rudimentary system for collecting field intelligence, an absolute necessity for making sound tactical decisions.
Although the authors have detailed a considerable amount of Pope's military career, they admit that his personal life is insufficiently documented in primary sources. Nothing survives to indicate the personal side of marriage, facing enemy fire or being close to Lincoln and the social and political circles of the time. His tendency to explain away and solve the world's problems presented a shallow public persona. Self-satisfaction and condescension became additional characteristics that were part of his daily manner. Vanity seemed to tower above all other traits. Near the end of the Civil War, Pope as a brigadier general in the regular army, was detailed to the Department of the Northwest, far from Washington's military, political and social life. His failures at command and personal traits led to his abandonment by Lincoln. There, he returned to his element, the western frontier.
Schutz and Trenerry let the historical files speak to those who are searching for new information on the Civil War. Their sources demonstrate that the research is truly first rate and that this detailed biography is worthy of attention.
West Virginia Library Commission
DUBIOUS VICTORY: THE RECONSTRUCTION DEBATE IN OHIO. By Robert D. Sawrey (Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1992. Pp. xi, 194. $30.00.)
Some of the greatest drama in United States history is centered in the four years after the Civil War's end. In quick succession, rebel armies began to surrender to Union forces, the wartime president was assassinated and the vice-president assumed control of the government. Within two years, the new president was on trial before the United States Senate, fighting for survival as the nation's chief executive. Meanwhile, in the South, Congress and the former Confederate leaders were at odds over almost all parts of the post-war settlement.
The full Reconstruction story is a massive one, covering as it does not only the three branches of the national government, but also the history of events in thirty-eight states. One way of attempting to understand the Reconstruction story is to narrow the focus to one place within a particular span of years. Professor Robert D. Sawrey of Marshall University, in Dubious Victory: The Reconstruction Debate in Ohio, accomplishes this by focusing on the Buckeye State from 1865-68. While he notes it would be inaccurate to consider Ohio or any other state "typical," it is true that a study of Ohio's Reconstruction debate exposes some of the same arguments and political strategies seen in the other northern states, and illuminates events in Washington as well.
Perhaps the strangest twist of fate in United States history was the presidential succession in April 1865, six days after the surrender of Robert E. Lee. Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, northerner and increasing foe of slavery, was replaced by a southern Democrat with scant interest in any basic rights for blacks. Lincoln and Johnson won the 1864 election on the "Union Party" ticket, with Lincoln hoping to avoid the "Republican" label and broaden his appeal by sharing the ticket with a southern Democrat. After Lincoln's death, Republicans in Ohio and elsewhere gave their support to Andrew Johnson, assuming he would reap the fruits of Union victory and bring meaningful change to the South.
As time went on, Sawrey notes, it became clear to Ohio Republicans that Johnson intended to forgive the South quickly and readmit the southern states to full participation in the affairs of the nation. Passage of the Thirteenth Amendment seemed to be Johnson's only important demand of the southern states. Republicans in Ohio and other northern states broke with the president, and introduced the Fourteenth Amendment as the new basis for Reconstruction. The Fourteenth Amendment moved beyond abolishing slavery required equality before the law for all persons born in the United States. It stipulated that a state's representation in Congress would be reduced if the state failed to enfranchise any group of male citizens, including black men, and barred certain former Confederate leaders from political participation, until Congress removed this disability.
When Johnson encouraged the southern states to reject the Fourteenth Amendment, and ten of the eleven former Confederate states did so, Congressional attitudes hardened. Congress instituted military occupation and demanded black suffrage in the South, a right not yet available in Ohio. Meanwhile the recalcitrant Johnson became the defendant in an impeachment trial, and although acquitted, he ceased obstructing Congressional Reconstruction.
Dubious Victory is essentially an examination of Ohio's annual elections state and congressional elections between 1865 and 1868. By looking at each of these closely contested campaigns, Sawrey is able to analyze voter behavior and pursue the development of coherent Reconstruction ideologies by both political parties. In 1865, the Republicans won a great victory in Ohio because they supported President Johnson's early attempts at Reconstruction and because they were the party of recent Union military victory. The next year, the Republicans triumphed by breaking with Johnson and supporting the Fourteenth Amendment as the basis of Reconstruction.
In 1867, many Ohio Republicans worked for a ballot initiative that would have removed the word "white" from Ohio's voter qualifications. The Grand Old Party suffered a great voter backlash, as it was portrayed as the party of "Negro domination" and miscegenation. Democrats also advanced some popular arguments for inflation of the money supply or "greenbackism." In the 1868 congressional election, Ohio Republicans avoided the black rights issues and were successful at the polls. Sawrey argues that the success in the state races may have been a result of the coattail effects of Ulysses S Grant at the head of the ticket.
Dubious Victory gives a solid factual account of the debate over Reconstruction policy in Ohio and by Ohioans in Washington. Sawrey has mined old newspaper files and a mass of diaries and letters of prominent Ohio politicians. He provides a good interpretive framework, arguing that Ohio Republicans were not as interested in black rights as they were in "national security." They wanted to assure that blacks were no longer under the heel of southern planters, who they blamed for causing the Civil War. By weakening the planter class, Buckeye State Republicans hoped to prevent any rekindling of sectional hostilities.
Dubious Victory is a thoughtful and well written narrative. A shortcoming is the failure to link the work with later events. His study comes to an abrupt halt with the election of President Grant. A three-page epilogue touches briefly upon future events such as the Fifteenth Amendment and summarizes the book's conclusions. The book covers only the tempestuous three-and-one-half years of the Johnson administration and does not address the eight additional years of Reconstruction. The year 1868 is a superficial breaking point, providing no real conclusion to the Reconstruction story. This reviewer would have welcomed more on the struggle that remained, including the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, passage of the Enforcement Acts, widespread black office-holding and a new Civil Rights Act in 1875. Ohio Republicans played a key role in Grant's decision to acquiesce in the toppling of Mississippi's Reconstruction government in 1875 and Ohio Republicans provided the "victorious" presidential candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, in the 1876, a campaign dominated by Reconstruction issues. Still, Dubious Victory is an important book that examines an aspect of a significant chapter in American political history.
West Virginia Wesleyan College
LET US HAVE PEACE: ULYSSES S. GRANT AND THE POLITICS OF WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION, 1861-1868. By Brooks D. Simpson (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1991. Pp. xx, 339. $34.95.)
Nearly a century ago Henry Adams captured the view that most Americans still hold concerning the reputation of Ulysses S Grant when he wrote, "a great soldier might be a baby politician." Focusing on Grant from 1861 to 1868, Brooks Simpson offers in Let Us Have Peace a vigorous dissent from that appraisal. Simpson argues quite effectively that Grant fully understood "Reconstruction began at Fort Sumter" and that wartime actions needed to be guided by post-war goals. Simpson's basic contention is that "[t]o Grant, warmaking and peacemaking were part of the same larger political act of reuniting the republic on a lasting basis."(xv-xvi) Furthermore, Grant endorsed the postwar constitutional amendments because he believed them to be critical to safeguarding the future of the Union.
Grant's wartime views on the future of slavery and his post-war position on the fate of the freedmen are crucial to Simpson's argument. From the earliest days of the war, Simpson contends, Grant thought the rebellion would end with slavery's destruction. However, Grant did not feel compelled to take action that would expedite slavery's demise. Nonetheless, Grant demonstrated that military aspects of the war needed to support successful reunion. His position on the freedmen was quite similar. Southern intransigence, abetted by Andrew Johnson, forced the nation to extend greater protection to the freedmen.
In the development and execution of military strategy, Grant provided clear evidence that he understood and supported the reality that the war's most basic purpose was political, the reunification of the nation. This was perhaps most apparent in the final campaign of the war. Grant's action in the months leading up to Lee's surrender strongly suggest he believed the destruction of Confederate morale was essential to eliminating the possibility of a prolonged guerrilla warfare that would threaten post-war stability. The terms offered at Appomattox reveal Grant's realization that vindictive policies could lead to southern unwillingness to accept the verdict of the battlefield.
Simpson carefully and skillfully delineates Grant's post-war relationship with Andrew Johnson. Grant was forced to choose between his duty to his superior and his duty to those who served and suffered to preserve the Union. Johnson's behavior made Grant's decision relatively simple. Grant chose to serve his version of the national interest and defy the president if and when necessary. This crucial portion of the study reflects Simpson's sound understanding of Johnson, most likely resulting from his work on the Andrew Johnson Project at the University of Tennessee.
Simpson argues his case well and this volume provides an excellent alternative perspective from which to consider Grant's career. Students of both the Civil War and Reconstruction will benefit from Simpson's study.
THE BLACK ABOLITIONIST PAPERS. VOL. IV: THE UNITED STATES, 1847-1858. Edited by C. Peter Ripley (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1991. Pp. 470. $50.00.)
__________. VOL. V: THE UNITED STATES, 1859-1865 (idem. Pp. 480. $50.00.)
These two reference works represent the culminating volumes of a five-part series of the Black Abolitionist Papers Project. Initiated in 1976, the project was conceived to bring together a wide range of source materials from public and private collections, which were by and large unavailable to most researchers and teachers. The project, developed in three phases, began with a thorough search among thousands of manuscript collections in England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and the United States. In the second phase, these documents were produced on fourteen rolls of microfilm for greater research access. The final phase was the publication of a five-volume series of representative documents, approximately 10 percent of the total microfilm collection.
The first three volumes in the project published documents from the British Isles and Canada, 1830-65, and the United States, 1830-46. The final two volumes review abolitionist and antislavery goals, attitudes and actions through the Civil War. Included are a diverse number of individuals, ranging from those of renown to the more obscure, who reflect the broader attitudes and ideas of the movement. As such, the selections frequently reveal the more personal concerns, ideas, fears and objectives of the many actors in the movement. A wide spectrum of northern and southern abolitionists are represented through documents previously unpublished or generally unavailable. The papers of Frederick Douglass, the subject of a Yale University project, are not included.
The papers are arranged chronologically with an introduction placing the documents in historical context. The major strength of these two volumes is the extensive notation at the end of each document elaborating on the various individuals, terminology or related historical events associated with the document itself. A major theme developed in the volumes is that the parvenu of the black abolitionist movement was deeply intertwined through a wide spectrum of social, political and economic thought, and that it was virtually impossible to separate the antislavery movement from other legitimate requests of the African-American community for full participation in American society. The interrelationship of the feminist movement and the necessity of full participation of women in American society is also recognized in many of the selections.
Some of the documents in Volume V deal directly with events in West Virginia history. Foremost among these are the materials relating to John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry. These include two editorials by Thomas Hamilton in the Weekly Anglo-American and two especially poignant letters by John A. Copeland, Jr., one of the young African Americans who was captured, tried and executed to die for his participation in the raid, to his parents and a friend explaining his actions and the conditions of his arrest and trial. A resolution by William Lambert, presented to the Second Baptist Church of Detroit, reflects the militancy in the free black community following the events at Harpers Ferry. A direct result of the raid was the expulsion of free blacks from Arkansas, the subject of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper's "An Appeal to Christians Throughout the World" for assistance for the destitute refugees fleeing from persecution in that state.
The volumes included in the Black Abolitionist Papers series are an absolute "must" for any academic library serving a history program. Not only do they make available much material that is virtually impossible for the average undergraduate institution to access from other sources, they serve as a sampler and guide for a much wider collection of materials contained in the microfilm collection. The Black Abolitionist Papers represent one of the most significant contributions in recent years to the study of African-American history and particularly to this critical period in the history of slavery in America.
I. D. Talbott
Glenville State College
THE TRANSFORMATION OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA, 1770-1800. By R. Eugene Harper (Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1991. Pp. 256. $34.95.)
A perennial theme in American history is the role of the frontier in the development of democracy. Both the Jeffersonian tradition and Turnerian historiography regard the frontier, and the independent yeoman that it engendered, as the primary wellspring of democracy. The availability of cheap and plentiful land on the frontier promoted an equal distribution of wealth and a nearly classless society, so the argument goes. As egalitarian conditions expanded into the political realm, the result was American democracy. In this book, Eugene Harper demonstrates conclusively that this interpretation of American history, at least for southwestern Pennsylvania, is a myth.
Harper calls his work a "community study" and acknowledges his debt to Jackson T. Main, The Social Structure of Revolutionary America, and the "new social historians" of the 1960s and 1970s. Using county tax assessment records for Westmoreland, Washington, Fayette, Allegheny and Greene counties as the primary data, Harper traces the rapid transformation of southwestern Pennsylvania from a crude frontier to a functioning society in little more than a generation. The work describes this change in several areas: the pattern of land ownership, concentration of wealth, rise of towns, occupational structure, development of commercial agriculture and political institutions.
On the crucial question of land ownership, Harper shows that the landholding yeoman farmer, long recognized in frontier mythology as the backbone of early American society, constituted only about one-third of the population of the region by the 1790s. Even in the 1780s, 38 percent of the taxable population was landless. In the 1790s, as population increased, towns developed and wealthy landholders consolidated their holdings, the proportion of landless increased, especially along the Monongahela River. Fayette County, by 1796, "scarcely a full generation away from wilderness, presented the amazing and paradoxical situation of a newly emerged frontier society in which the typical settler was already landless."
As land was concentrated into fewer hands in the 1790s, so was wealth, measured in terms of land, livestock, mills, stills and slaves. Men such as Isaac Meason, iron master, and Albert Gallatin, land speculator and industrialist, assumed their place at the top of the region's class structure. These men also established the first industries, founded towns and formed the governing elite of the region. A small professional and mercantile class occupied the next rung on the ladder, followed by the yeoman, a surprisingly large artisan class (16 percent) and a dependent class, composed of laborers, tenant farmers and the poor.
By showing how a structured, hierarchical society with great differences in wealth and status developed in southwestern Pennsylvania, Harper debunks the myth of the egalitarian frontier. But if early, westward-expanding America was not a land where all shared equally in socio-economic condition, neither was it rigid, closed or undemocratic. Harper notes that there were plenty of economic opportunities and a great deal of social mobility in southwestern Pennsylvania. Many common people held property. Wages were high, so laborers and artisans earned an adequate living. In addition, there was a great deal of geographic mobility. Those who did not fare well in Pennsylvania moved on to the next frontier for yet another chance at improvement.
The Transformation of Western Pennsylvania, a revised version of Harper's University of Pittsburgh dissertation, has no major weakness. However, one might argue with the use of the term "Western Pennsylvania" in the title when the area studied is primarily southwestern. Despite the profusion and complexity of geographic description in the text, the two maps tucked away in the appendix portray only the basic features of the region. Intraregional differences in socio-economic variables, such as tenancy and absentee ownership, could have been better demonstrated with additional maps.
The value of this book, which as a dissertation served two studies of the Whiskey Rebellion, is more than a study of frontier history. It will serve well for the study of early industrialization in southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia historians might consider applying Harper's methods and conclusions to the Upper Monongahela, Ohio and Kanawha valleys, which have comparable development patterns.
Michael E. Workman, Fellow
Institute for History of Technology
and Industrial Archaeology
THE PAPERS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON. CONFEDERATION SERIES. VOL. 1: JANUARY-JULY 1784. Edited by W. W. Abbot (Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 1992. Pp. xxvi, 566. $47.50.)
__________. VOL. 2: JULY 1784-MAY 1785 (idem. Pp. xix, 600. $47.50.)
In the last rays of sunlight on Christmas Eve 1783, George Washington returned home from the War of Independence. He had left Mount Vernon nearly nine years earlier to attend the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Selected by that body to command the Continental Army, Washington came home only once during the war years.
After bidding farewell to his officers in New York, General Washington began the long journey to Virginia. He stopped briefly in Philadelphia and Baltimore, before arriving in Annapolis to tender his resignation from the army to Congress on December 23. Thereafter, only a short ride to Mount Vernon remained.
Washington believed he was coming home to stay with no more worlds to conquer. During the war he had endured all the trials and experienced all the adventure that any man could desire and made countless personal sacrifices, including lengthy separations from his home and family. Washington, the most exalted man in America, was not eager to risk his reputation by ever again reentering public life. The fifty-two-year old Washington, who came from a family of short-lived men, was certain he had few years left. He hoped and expected to spend these remaining years at Mount Vernon, where he might live quietly and comfortably.
These two volumes are the first to be issued in the "Confederation Series" of The Papers of George Washington. They carry Washington through the initial eighteen months of his post-war retirement. Subsequent volumes will span the years before Washington's presidency, which began in April 1789. This series will proceed alongside the "Colonial Series," which will take Washington to the eve of his appointment as commander of the Continental Army, the "Revolutionary War Series" and the "Presidential Series." Several volumes in each series have already been published.
At the outset of this endeavor the editors, including W. W. Abbot and his successor Dorothy Twohig, made a crucial and wise decision. Realizing that half a century or more would be required to complete such a huge undertaking, they opted simultaneously to publish Washington's papers from four stages of his life. Had they proceeded chronologically, readers would not have seen the papers in the "Confederation Series" until well into the twenty-first century.
The years between 1784 to 1789 were crucial both for Washington and the new United States. Washington faced a period of adjustment, a return to his pre-war role as a planter and administrator of a vast estate and huge labor force. Initially, two matters absorbed his attention. His first concern was to increase or, as he would have said, to reestablish his fortune. He had taken no salary as commander of the Continental Army and Mount Vernon had produced little wealth during the war years. Washington's second aspiration, closely related to the first, was to live in the grand manner befitting a great planter. He hoped to expand and remodel Mount Vernon, making it into what he imagined an English country estate might be.
Many of the letters in these volumes concern the on-going repairs on Mount Vernon. Washington had begun renovating the house in 1774, only a few months before the commencement of his unforeseen wartime absence. Work progressed slowly during the war and was not completed until thirty months into Washington's retirement under his close supervision. Indeed, readers of these two volumes will almost hear the hammers and smell the sawdust. In letter after letter Washington fretted over the acquisition of mantles, girandoles, wallpaper, flooring for the rear portico, the cupola and weathervane. He anguished over the best colors for his new rooms, purchased new furnishings and devoted considerable thought to the landscaping, obtaining trees and shrubs from Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, Maryland, the Shenandoah Valley and even from the palace at Versailles. He ordered cheeses, nuts and hunting dogs, including hounds from France.
Washington divided his days between overseeing his carpenters and masons and looking after his business and financial interests. He managed operations at Mount Vernon, cared for a fishing business, looked after investments both in the Dismal Swamp and on the nearby Potomac River and sought to sell or lease his western lands. Many of these holdings were was in present-day West Virginia, especially along the Kanawha River. Washington described this holding as "rich bottom land, beautifully situated . . . & abounding plentiously in Fish, wild fowl, and Game of all kinds."(1:197) Despite his efforts, Washington did not succeed in selling his western land during this period and he continued to be nagged by fears of economic misfortune. "I despair -- my fortune has been injured by the war, & my private concerns are . . . much deranged," he confessed.(2:47) Although exaggerated, his alarms were quite real to him.
Washington soon discovered that he remained almost as busy as he had been during the war. Business demands, a voluminous correspondence and a steady stream of uninvited visitors "engross nearly my whole time," he complained after he had been home for a year.(2:388) Most exasperating, perhaps, were the countless hours consumed with "a continual reference of old military matters," troublesome issues "with which I ought to have no concerns."(2:388) Former officers wrote to him about this and that, correspondents urged him to write his memoirs, David Humphreys, a former aide-de- camp, made overtures about writing his biography and historian William Gordon sought his recollection on a variety of wartime occurrences.
Nevertheless, Washington found time to keep abreast of public affairs. Even in 1784, three full years before the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia, Washington was pessimistic about the new national government under the Articles of Confederation. He expressed concern about the central government's inability to resolve pressing trade problems, secure navigational rights on the Mississippi River and dislodge Great Britain from western posts on United States soil. The "federal Government," he wrote, "is a name without substance. . . . How then can we fail in a little time [to become] the sport of European politics, & the victims of our own folly."(2:171-72)
A brief review can hardly do justice to the richness of these two volumes. Washington's interests were so myriad that his letters open a vista to the excitement, opportunities and problems of this exciting period in American history. Moreover, editor W. W. Abbot of these two volumes, has included much that will enable readers to better understand Washington. The editorial notes include the Marquis de Lafayette's description of daily life at Mount Vernon, limitless details regarding both Washington's purchases and the gifts he received and his private views on numerous individuals and organizations, such as the Society of Cincinnati.
These two volumes make for marvelous reading and should be a delight for either the scholar or the history buff who harbors a passionate interest in the life and times of George Washington.
West Georgia College
APPALACHIAN FRONTIERS: SETTLEMENT, SOCIETY, AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE PREINDUSTRIAL ERA. Edited by Robert D. Mitchell (Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1991. Pp. x, 350. $43.00.)
Appalachian Frontiers is a collection of fourteen essays with an introduction that grew out of a 1985 conference at James Madison University. They explore a wide variety of topics and reflect the best recent scholarship in early Appalachian history. As in any collection, these essays vary in substance and quality, but most readers should find something of interest. Collectively they make a substantial contribution to our understanding of Appalachia before 1880 and the impact of industrialization. In the introductory essay, Robert Mitchell addresses the current status of early Appalachian studies and introduces each of the fourteen essays, which follow in chronological order. Footnotes, a list of contributors and an index complete the book.
Among the articles, several have special interest to West Virginia readers. "The Cattle Trade in Western Virginia, 1760-1830," by Richard K. MacMaster, is a revealing study of this extensive enterprise in the Potomac highlands, particularly the South Branch. South Branch counties such as Hampshire and Hardy have long been recognized as important cattle raising regions. MacMaster documents the true extent of the industry by using tax assessment records for eight counties. For example, he finds twenty-one residents of Hardy County owning fifty or more cattle, numbers generally unheard of in the Appalachian frontier. The author also traces the diffusion of this industry to Clark County, Kentucky, and the Scioto Valley in Ohio. MacMaster finds a solid cattle industry in the narrow valleys west of the Shenandoah Valley that was not rapidly replaced by encroaching farmers. Neither did it bear many of the characteristics of the Celtic herdsmen argued to dominate southern herding practices by Forrest McDonald and Grady McWhiney.
Teachers of West Virginia history will have to revise one of the standard interpretations of the state's early history. Alan V. Briceland in "Batts and Fallam Explore the Backbone of the Continent" has reconstructed the explorers' 1761 expedition, contending it reached the Tug Fork at Matewan instead of the New River at Peter's Mountain on the West Virginia border. By comparing in detail Fallam's journal with descriptions of the terrain, Briceland makes a convincing argument that the traditional view published in 1912 by Clarence Alvord and Lee Bidgood is incorrect.
Van Beck Hall adds valuable evidence to the continuing debate over sectionalism in nineteenth-century Virginia in "The Politics of Appalachian Virginia, 1790-1830." By analyzing roll votes in the Virginia legislature, Hall documents a clear pattern of sectional cleavage in Virginia politics covering a wide spectrum of social and cultural issues, as well as political and economic disputes. This was not a simple east-west division. Hall finds "two Appalachias: the first, the counties containing and becoming influenced by . . . growing [urban] centers; and the second, counties that had no sizeable towns by 1830."(169) On one hand, those readers maintaining that sectional differences made the creation of West Virginia inevitable will find support here for their arguments. However, those who agree with John Williams's doubts that separation was unavoidable after the constitutional revisions of 1850-51 (West Virginia: A Bicentennial History, 1976, ch. 2) will also take comfort from Hall's findings that sectional differences ebbed and flowed over the years as various levels of resolution occurred in the political arena.
The most wide-ranging and theoretical article is that of Paul Salstrom on the development of the entire Appalachian region. Using the federal Census of Manufactures, Salstrom finds two Appalachias differentiated by geography and time of settlement. Old Appalachia is roughly the Great Valley from Maryland to northern Alabama, while New Appalachia is the rugged plateau comprising much of West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and eastern Tennessee. Applying the economic theories of Walter Rostow and Arthur Lewis in this context, Salstrom argues that "when the resources of the region were still abundant and its population still small and sparsely distributed, enterprise was widely diffused through all levels of the population. An acquisitive spirit was then common. But there occurred a steady `regression' . . . as dwindling resources forced most people to be less speculative and to concentrate more on achieving subsistence and family security."(262)
After 1850, rapid population growth in New Appalachia put greater pressures on its more limited agricultural resources than occurred in Old Appalachia, and federal policy accentuated the problems. The Civil War played a major disruptive role and the Homestead Act of 1862 stimulated agricultural competition from the west. Thus, Salstrom argues, the seeds of Appalachian dependency were already present in the weakened agriculture of New Appalachia before the onset of industrialization and were not so clearly the result of industrialization as scholars such as Ronald Eller in Miners, Millhands, and Mountaineers have argued. "The plateau country by 1880," Salstrom argues, "was a closed frontier and its people were beginning to find themselves wedged in, with few economic options."(274) The appearance of outside capitalists providing mining and timbering jobs allowed Appalachian farmers to supplement their incomes and protect the economic positions of their families.
Although Salstrom does not make the comparison, a similar situation occurred in late eighteenth-century New England. Population pressures on limited resources brought economic decline that was alleviated by the beginnings of industry in the early nineteenth century. In New England, however, there was much more local capital from commerce to invest in industry, whereas as in Appalachia, the weakened agricultural system created very little local capital resulting in dependence on outside capital.
Space limitations prohibit reviewing each essay in this anthology. Mary Beth Pudup and Tyrel G. Moore concentrate on eastern Kentucky, claiming in their studies that the area exhibited marked social and economic diversity. Thomas Hatley discusses the role of Cherokee women in maintaining and transforming Cherokee agriculture, and H. Tyler Blethen and Curtis W. Wood trace the career of James Patton, a merchant entrepreneur on the western Carolina frontier. Andrew R. L. Cayton explains the differing attitudes and conflict between the New England Associates of the Ohio Company and the local "hunters" in the settlement of Marietta, Ohio. John Morgan traces the persistence of log house construction in eastern Tennessee. Ethnic studies are represented by Sally Schwartz's essay on religious pluralism in early Pennsylvania and by Kenneth W. Keller's essay on the distinctiveness of the Scotch-Irish. Two studies detail early settlement in the Shenandoah Valley: Elizabeth Kessel's study of Germans in Frederick County, Maryland, and Warren R. Hofstra's interesting discussion of the differing impacts the Fairfax Proprietary grant and free settlement had in Frederick County, Virginia. From this listing it is clear that the Appalachian frontier encompasses a broad range of topics.
One does wish there had been a little more care with the maps. It is disconcerting to see the territory across the Tug Fork and Big Sandy from eastern Kentucky mislabeled. On page 224, maps for 1830 and 1850 label the area Virginia, but on the very next page, the same 1850 map calls the territory West Virginia. The map on page 244 dealing with post-Civil War matters and using modern county boundaries still labels that area Virginia. Also, the proofreaders missed the omission of part of the text on page 241. These minor problems notwithstanding, this is a fine collection of essays about preindustrial Appalachia. They contain many insights and greatly broaden our understanding of the region. Many institutions as well as students of the region will want to add this anthology to their collections.
R. Eugene Harper
University of Charleston
REVENUERS AND MOONSHINERS: ENFORCING FEDERAL LIQUOR LAW IN THE MOUNTAIN SOUTH, 1865-1900. By Wilbur R. Miller (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1991. Pp. xii, 251. $12.95.)
In his landmark study Appalachia on Our Mind, Henry Shapiro cites feuding and moonshining as the two distinctive elements that make up the "mythology of Appalachian otherness" which became fully established in American popular consciousness by the end of the nineteenth century. Regardless of whether these practices are romanticized or dismissed as barbarian remnants, their regional otherness remains constant. The critical reexamination of feuding was undertaken by Altina Waller in Feud: Hatfields, McCoys, and Social Change in Appalachia, 1860-1900. Now Wilbur Miller has focused on the remaining distinctive feature of the regional stereotype. Miller's study is a detailed tracing of the efforts to enforce federal laws on the manufacture of liquor beginning after the Civil War until the turn of the century, and includes a wealth of material on the activities of both moonshiners and revenuers as their conflict.
The revenuers, in this historical narrative, emerge as the vanguard of federal bureaucracy, battling to create and enforce a nation-state's authority over a region populated by those with dissenting values and traditions. It is as if the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s was replayed on a regional scale. After reading Miller's book, it is less easy to conclude that this conflict was merely a continuation of the Civil War. The underlying issue that emerges is that of national authority versus regional autonomy. This interpretation is particularly reinforced when the author cites instances of black Unionist mountaineers engaged in moonshining, or of Democratic politicians joining the enforcement of revenue laws. Miller is able to draw some instructive contrasts between the regulation of liquor production and the failed racial policies of Reconstruction. Even one who saw illegal moonshine in terms of the "late Rebellion," prominent West Virginia revenuer George Atkinson, could also acknowledge the libertarian character of popular resistance when he spoke of the "element, and it is by no means small, who insist that there is no such thing as a general government; that it is mere usurpation, and that to it they owe no allegiance whatsoever."
The numerous examples Miller provides of those who made illegal liquor and those who aided them or, for various reasons, informed on them, undermines explanation of simple lawlessness or backwardness. A growing federal bureaucracy empowered by arms to control and tax the production of liquor inescapably takes on the appearance of an occupying force determined to exploit the lives of the inhabitants of the southern mountains. An example of this is that while some called for a reduction in liquor taxes to encourage compliance with the law, the national government, under pressure to finance the imperialist war with Spain, vetoed any such measure. Expansion of American power abroad had clear domestic consequences adverse to regional interests.
While Miller has concentrated his analysis on a critical period, others will hopefully look beyond 1900 for a more complete history of moonshining. David Alan Corbin has contended that moonshining was not an uncommon practice among striking coal miners and their families as a way to get by financially. And there is plenty of indication that the spirit of Whiskey Rebellion persists in the present. Moonshining as a contestation of outside authority did not end in 1900, and the overriding issue of regional autonomy remains as surely as the blue wisps of smoke still visible in the wooded hillsides of Appalachia. For now, Miller's study will stand as the foremost treatment of the subject, an engaging blend of historical analysis and vivid anecdotes of the exploits of both practitioners and enforcers.
Trans Allegheny Books
RACIAL VIOLENCE IN KENTUCKY, 1864-1940: LYNCHINGS, MOB RULE, AND "LEGAL LYNCHINGS." By George C. Wright (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1990. Pp. xv, 350. $32.50.)
In this thoroughly researched book, author George C. Wright unearths many previously unknown lynchings in Kentucky to demonstrate that the state's reputation in race relations is not superior to other areas of the South. Wright proves that most of these lynchings occurred directly after the Civil War, challenging the previous view that most occurred during the 1880s and 1890s. Wright's discovery of earlier lynchings and periods of escalating racial violence modifies our understanding of the pervasiveness of violence in the history of Kentucky.
Racial Violence expands on Wright's earlier Life Behind the Veil, in which he asserts that white citizens of Louisville practiced a genteel racism keeping blacks in their "proper" station in the lowest strata of Kentucky society. Racial Violence demonstrates a much more violent form of racism deeply rooted throughout the state. Unfortunately, Wright fails to examine or explain apparent differences in racial control between urban and rural Kentucky.
The black reaction to violence during the "New South" era is well documented. He describes periods when racial violence escalated into mob violence, forcing entire black communities to flee. In fact, Wright's focus on the black reaction to violence excludes a portrayal of the whites who perpetrated it. Readers are led to believe that an amorphous band of aggressive white racists invoked violent social controls to slay the humane blacks whom Wright describes in painstaking detail. This creates several problems in explaining how certain instances of racial violence were initiated and escalated.
One example is in Wright's recounting of the Planters' Protective Association's campaign to scare tobacco farmers by destroying their harvest and driving tobacco prices higher. According to Wright, blacks initially supported and participated in these tactics to scare tobacco farmers. He fails to fully develop his suggestion that these marauding tobacco farmers moved from intimidating both black and white farmers to committing racial violence against blacks. The lack of analysis of the motives and concerns of Kentucky's white farmers produces other similarly underdeveloped assertions.
Wright's major contribution to southern historical scholarship lies in the tabulation of numerous lynchings previously unknown to historians. He compiled this information from local newspapers and small archival collections not previously cited in related literature. However, Wright fails to maximize on this contribution by not providing a statistical analysis of his findings. Instead, he contends, because of the shear number, racial violence in Kentucky resembled racial violence in the Deep South. One could presume a deeper analysis of his statistics might yield additional facts and perspectives.
Wright does not place his research into the body of existing scholarship on southern race relations, but this may be too much to ask because he clearly intends to provide a wealth of new research in a microcosm. Racial Violence in Kentucky reads like a community study conducted on a statewide level. He leaves the synthesizing of his work into the broader spectrum of southern history to others.
These shortcomings remain relatively minor. George Wright's study is monumental, pulling together new sources and research perspectives, challenging past paradigms of race relations in the South and describing racial violence from the victim's point of view. His research surpasses previous studies on Kentucky's race relations, graphically describing the violence blacks lived with everyday, and leaves a deep impression on the reader. Racial Violence in Kentucky is one of the most important studies on Kentucky history and the history of southern race relations.
Tyler O. Walters
Iowa State University
SINGING THE GLORY DOWN: AMATEUR GOSPEL MUSIC IN SOUTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY, 1900-1990. By William Lynwood Montell (Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1991. Pp. xi, 248. $27.00.)
With so much emphasis being placed on the Appalachian sector of Kentucky in current times, other areas of the state are largely ignored. William Lynwood Montell's admirable work Singing the Glory Down has captured the sounds, sights and development of regional gospel music in a nineteen-county area of southcentral Kentucky. Montell has produced a highly academic work with more than sufficient documentation in a field that has been largely ignored by musicologists, folklorists and historians. The author's skillful assessment of primary and secondary material, together with balanced value judgements, makes this work a classic. Montell has not confined his study to the library, but has spent many hours in the field examining the origins of the seven-shape-note music system and its relationship to the gospel music of today.
This work begins with the shape-note singing schools and the people who taught them during their "heyday" from 1900 to the late 1950s. The "roots" of shape-note music can be traced to the revivals of the mid-eighteenth century. Prior to the revivals, music in religious services consisted of singing the Psalms. The lack of songbooks and "musical illiteracy" established the practice of hymn lining.
In 1798, William Little and William Smith of Philadelphia developed the shape-note system in an attempt to help singers read music easily. Montell does an excellent job explaining the system to the reader. By 1805, books were published that contained popular hymns and shape-note music schools were being conducted in central Kentucky. The influence of the singing schools spread across the area like "wild fire," providing a means for socializing and companionship. Shape-note school teachers were held in high esteem in the communities "just a notch below God."
The singing schools began to decline in the 1940s, primarily because the youth looked beyond their families and communities for entertainment. Technology ("picture shows and television") provided the younger generation with other means of occupying its time. Montell comments that "people gradually moved away from entertaining themselves and sought instead to be entertained." Improvement in transportation also furnished young people other places to go. As with most areas of American culture, the effects of World War II had an impact on gospel music. Many returning veterans looked for employment in the factories beyond the region instead of returning to the farms. Money and leisure time allowed for new forms of amusement.
The second chapter, "The Singing Convention Movement," centers on "church singings" and the conventions that evolved from the shape-note music schools. Montell features the actions of the gospel singers, primarily quartets, trios and family ensembles and their impact on gospel music by regenerating the atmosphere of the congregational singings and their basis in evangelical religion. All denominations attended and participated in the singings and the quartet became the most popular group by the 1950s. The quality of singing diminished when local groups tried to imitate well-known groups, reducing originality.
The roots of Singing the Glory Down are found in the third chapter where the Haste Brothers Quartet emerges. The Haste family has produced five generations of quartets in southcentral Kentucky. Other groups are traced and many of the early singers doubled as shape-note music teachers. Women played a very active role in the quartets. Music let women play a role in religion as they sang alto and soprano in mixed gender quartets. In some events, the singers were all women.
Montell closes by examining the mechanics of singing groups. Transitions in gospel music began in the 1940s as commercialism, sound and performance styles led the music away from "its singing school roots." The impact of commercialism continues to effect musical style, concerts, instrumentation and public taste.
Montell's work is richly illustrated from the inception of the singing schools to the modern era and provides a comprehensive list of singing groups and a roll of shape-note teachers which enhance the value of the study. It is an in-depth study of amateur gospel music, magnificent in detail and a valuable contribution to the cultural history of southcentral Kentucky. It must be considered the definitive work concerning gospel music and will stand as a reference for years to come. Montell's literary style make it a pleasure for the specialist and general audience alike.
David L. Kimbrough
THE BATTLE FOR HOMESTEAD, 1880-1892: POLITICS, CULTURE, AND STEEL. By Paul Krause (Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1992. $19.95.)
The peripheral events surrounding the July 1892 Battle for Homestead, Pennsylvania, which pitted members of the country's largest trade union, the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers (AAISW), against Pinkerton agents hired by Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick, are familiar to most American historians. During the last century, historians have written numerous articles and a several texts detailing these events. However, none of these studies have adequately addressed the events that preceded the battle and consequently have ignored the larger questions "that shaped the Homestead Lockout." Historian Paul Krause in his most recent book, The Battle for Homestead, 1880-1892, seeks to go beyond the work of other scholars and places the events at Homestead within a broader context by exploring "the politics, culture and morality of steel making" in the late nineteenth-century United States.
Krause carefully reconstructs the changes in steel technology and management philosophy occurring in the decade prior to 1892 to show Homestead was more than a "caricatured battle between labor and capital over wages and working conditions." He believes the events at Homestead were necessary and perhaps inevitable because of changing technology and morality of steel industry during the Gilded Age.
Since Krause's main focus is not on the actual battle, he devotes a rather small portion of the book to the conflict. The sequence of events leading to the battle began on July 5 with the arrival of three hundred Pinkerton agents in Pittsburgh, hired by the Carnegie Steel Corporation, with orders to secure the Edgar Thomson works at Homestead. The Homestead plant had been seized by the workers whose labor contract was not renewed by the Carnegie Steel Corporation. Krause's description of the battle provides a rare insight into the thinking of Gilded Age labor. Homestead is seen as a contest between workers and law enforcement and a struggle for the survival of an entire community. He counters this with the behind-the-scenes activities of company officials such as Henry Clay Frick, president of Carnegie Steel, and Philander C. Knox, chief lawyer for Carnegie Steel, and their efforts to bring in the state militia. He clearly lays the blame for the bloodshed on the shoulders of Carnegie, overshadowing his public posture of "benevolence, ignorance and remorse" over Homestead. It had been Carnegie who had notified the workers that the company would no longer recognize their union and issued explicit orders to Frick not to negotiate.
The text includes informative discussions about industrial development, the details of iron and steel production, exemplary portraits of union officials and aspects of political life, particularly in the Pittsburgh area. Much of the text is devoted to documenting how the new technologies of steelmaking and the concept of "scientific management" led to decisive confrontations between labor and capital, resulting in the battle for Homestead in 1892.
Central to Krause's thesis is his belief that "labor republicanism" motivated the majority of Homestead workers. This "republicanism" was derived from the "classical republican tradition" that had been discussed by Machiavelli during the Renaissance, British political theorists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and Americans during the Revolutionary period. According to Krause, "labor republicanism" opposed capitalism and stressed the common good of society, the idea of equality for all citizens and independence from control by others.
Those who defended capitalism, the Carnegies and Fricks, also looked to the republican tradition to define and legitimize their beliefs in the "sanctity of property and the virtue of accumulation." According to Carnegie, his belief in republicanism offered him the pursuit of individual advancement. The preservation of the right to accumulate capital was the main purpose of American democracy. Because the changes in steel technology, particularly the development of the Bessemer process, undermined the autonomy of skilled workers, such as the iron puddler, industrialists were able to extract greater profits by "employing less intelligent and costly men." In addition, the "republican tradition," as the capitalists saw it, allowed them to attempt to reorganize American society into what they termed a "higher" civilization where they would be on top. Therefore, Krause sees the battle at Homestead as an attempt by workers to halt the advance of industrial capitalists and to rescue the America's most sacred political traditions. The late nineteenth-century conflicts between organized labor and organized capital, including Homestead, were contests over the meaning of republicanism in modern America.
There are some problems with Krause's analysis, the most obvious being that he simply ignores the fact that many nineteenth-century workers supported capitalism and the accumulation of wealth. In addition, he offers no real discussion on how the religious, fraternal and familial influences affected workers' ideas on "labor republicanism."
Even with these omissions, the text is well written and strengthened by the appendices and an extensive bibliography, including primary sources ranging from Andrew Carnegie's papers and U. S. government reports to church records and trade publications. The appendices provide an in-depth look into the political and social aspects of the community of Homestead. Krause provides the names of the steel workers employed in the Edgar Thomson works who were active in the lockout in 1892, the names and occupations of town councilmen and a host of other relevant material.
The Battle for Homestead, 1880-1892 is a riveting history of a key moment in American industrialization. The text raises important questions concerning technology, democracy, economic development and the place of working people at the end of the nineteenth century. Krause's book is an important contribution to the study of American history in general, and to labor history specifically, and should serve as a starting point for anyone interested in understanding the battle for Homestead.
West Virginia University
"THE RIVER RAN RED": HOMESTEAD 1892. Edited by David Demarest (Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1992. $19.95.)
Anniversaries often prove to be reflective events and the Columbus Quincentennial is one recent example. Lost in the uproar over the deeds or misdeeds of Columbus is the centennial of an important occurrence in American industrial history, the Homestead Strike of 1892. To mark this celebration, the University of Pittsburgh Press released "The River Ran Red": Homestead 1892 with David P. Demarest, Jr. of Carnegie Mellon University as the general editor. Conceived around a table in a Homestead restaurant in the spring of 1991, this book is a day-by-day almost hour-by-hour recreation of the events leading up to and following the bloody confrontation of steel workers and Pinkerton detectives on the banks of the Monongahela River. "The River Ran Red" succeeds in accomplishing its stated goal of using "words and images to relive a moment of history as recounted by participants and witnesses."(vi)
Professor Demarest and his co-editors skillfully reconstruct the Homestead drama through the use of local, regional and national newspaper accounts, magazine articles, court testimonies, congressional hearing records, corporate documents, sermons, poems, songs, letters, illustrations and photographs. The story unfolds for readers in 1992 much like it must have for Americans in 1892.
While much of the text is devoted to the events immediately before and after "The Battle" of July 5-6, 1892, the Alexander Berkman assassination attempt on Henry Clay Frick is fully covered as is the legacy of the strike and the closing of the Homestead Works in July 1986. Interspersed with the primary documents are thought-provoking contemporary essays. Joseph Frazier Wall, author of the definitive work Andrew Carnegie, contributes "Carnegie, Frick and the Homestead Strike." Other articles explore such topics as the coke region of southwestern Pennsylvania, the role of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, steel-making technology, lockouts, the ethnic makeup of the Carnegie Steel work force, the poets of Homestead, the reporters and photographers who covered the strike, the rule of law, national politics, the Pinkerton Agency, the legacy of the strike and the fate of its principal characters.
David Montgomery, Farnum Professor of History at Yale University, concludes the work with an overview, placing the Homestead strike into a one-hundred-year perspective of American history. He concludes "the men and women who . . . fought in 1892 provided a lesson as important for our age as it was for their own. A society which celebrates economic growth at the expense of community values and decent standards of life for all . . . produces unseemly contrasts of wealth and poverty [and] makes its people the victims, rather than the beneficiaries of whatever prosperity it experiences."(228)
The Homestead Strike, not surprisingly, had a West Virginia connection. The Amalgamated Association, the real loser in the strike, was a powerful force in Wheeling's labor and civic circles. Eleven years after the strike, when the Carnegie Foundation announced plans to donate fifty thousand dollars for the construction of a Carnegie Free Library, Wheeling steelworkers, who supported the 1892 strike with their resolutions and donations, vowed to obstruct the building of a Carnegie Library in their city. Wheeling became the first American city to refuse the benefactions of Andrew Carnegie, creating, in the words of one Amalgamated worker, a "place on this great green planet where Andrew Carnegie [could not] get a monument with his money."(West Virginia History 41(1979-80): 7-19) The determination of Wheeling workers proved what Professor Montgomery underscores, the Homestead Strike of 1892 was a "fight for hearth and home," and the fight "is still with us."(228)
"The River Ran Red" is a brilliantly successful book with applications for American history survey courses, as well as courses in labor history and historiography. It is a complete reconstruction, accompanied by a good bibliography and equally important, offers "lessons and reflections for the future."(vi)
West Liberty State College
SHAPING INVENTION: THOMAS BLANCHARD'S MACHINERY AND PATENT MANAGEMENT IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICA. By Carolyn C. Cooper (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1991. $45.00.)
Carolyn C. Cooper's Shaping Invention: Thomas Blanchard's Machinery and Patent Management in Nineteenth-Century America, addresses three issues of importance to historians of technology: invention, patents and the American System of Manufactures. Cooper explores Thomas Blanchard's biography by emphasizing first, his mechanical inventions and second, his management of those inventions through the United States patent system. In doing so, she considers the role of the patent system in the social construction of invention and speaks directly to current literature on the American System of Manufactures.
In the past, historians attributed American inventiveness to "Ingenious Yankees" and their flashes of mechanical insights during "eureka" moments. More recent works place inventors and inventions within their social context, interpreting technological change as an environmental construct. Cooper considers the nature of invention through the work of Thomas Blanchard within the context of the U. S. Patent System. Blanchard is best known for his invention and patent of the irregular turning lathe, used in construction of shoe lasts, wheel spokes and tool handles. Mechanizing gunstock production at the Springfield National Armory, Blanchard invented a series of special purpose wood-working machines to be used with his lathe. He also patented machines for production of marine pulley-blocks and deadeyes, shearing the nap of cloth, construction of shallow-draft steamboats, cigarette production, scoop shovels and for bending wood.
The U. S. patent system allowed inventors to claim their inventions as intellectual property and to pursue personal profit through their application. This encouraged invention, but also "application divergence." Making profits from an invention required an inventor to become a patent manager. Blanchard used all available techniques to enhance his financial gain from over twenty-four patents. He set up businesses, worked for the government while designing his armory equipment and leased his lathe patent to shoe last and tool makers throughout the country. While designing his blockmaking and deadeye machines, he worked for and cooperated with the Livingston Patent Block Company. Blanchard successfully filed for patent extensions and rallied his licensees to his cause. They helped him lobby congressmen, kept watch for infringements upon his intellectual property and aided his efforts in patent infringement suits. Application of intellectual property tended to increase the scope of the patent. Each time Blanchard applied for extension of his lathe patent, new features and applications were added to his intellectual realm.
After the Crystal Palace exhibit in 1851, the British Parliament sent a committee to investigate perceived technological advances in the United States. These visitors identified the American System of Manufactures as including series of special purpose machines, interchangeable parts, and efficient assembly. Foremost among the facilities they observed was the Springfield Armory. Historians of technology consider this identification of the American System of Manufactures an important issue in understanding the development of modern industrial production. In Shaping Invention, Cooper points out that the Springfield Armory, even as late as 1853, did not successfully demonstrate the system described by British observers. She documents the continued importance of craft skills in assembling guns and the imperfect state of interchangeable parts. Blanchard mechanized gunstock production, but many aspects of gun manufacturing remained outside the range of his special purpose machines and assembly still required skilled hand work. Furthermore, because the federal government operated the armory, it could not demonstrate an American entrepreneurial propensity for specialized machine production.
Cooper concludes that technological innovation in nineteenth-century America was socially constructed. The direction taken by inventors and their inventions depended upon market demand, government subsidies and the patent system. Cooper maintains that the patent system's role in the social construction of invention proved particularly powerful. By demonstrating so clearly the controversy and imprecision in the labeling of an invention, Cooper confounds further denial of technology's social construction. Cooper's greatest contribution, however, may be her success in shaping big questions about technological innovation into the broader context of nineteenth-century American history.
Shaping Invention will satisfy those in the history of technology who demand that machines be used as documents. Cooper investigates the history of lathes and pinpoints exactly what makes Blanchard's irregular turning lathe unique. She makes effective use of pictures, sketches and prints. In two appendices, she reconstructs Blanchard's original special-purpose "assembly line" in Springfield and describes the ten machines he designed for production of pulley-blocks and deadeyes in Livingston. In the history of technology, Cooper's work on invention and the patent system is highly regarded and Shaping Invention will only add to her recognition as an authority in the history of technology.
University of Delaware
GENDER, CLASS, RACE, AND REFORM IN THE PROGRESSIVE ERA. Edited by Noralee Frankel and Nancy S. Dye (Lexington: Univ. of Kentucky Press, 1991. Pp. vi, 202. $24.00.)
Too frequently, histories of the Progressive Era focus only on middle-class white males. When women are portrayed as progressives, they are customarily educated white women. Gender, Class, Race, and Reform in the Progressive Era, edited by Noralee Frankel and Nancy S. Dye, is a significant compilation of the evidence historians have begun gathering to challenge these stereotypes.
In this volume, Frankel and Dye have assembled a collection of essays which were first presented as papers at the 1988 Conference on Women in the Progressive Era. The purpose of the conference and this compilation is to enhance our perspective on the period by examining the roles women, especially women of color and the working class, played during the tumultuous decades of the Progressive Era.
Scholars such as Ardis Cameron, Nancy Hewitt, Alice Kessler-Harris and Molly Ladd-Taylor introduce the reader to an entire cast of characters often absent from traditional histories of the period. Latina cigar makers in Tampa, Florida, immigrant women from southeastern Europe and poor, rural white women are described and analyzed in various essays within the collection. While these pieces are insightful, they merely whet the appetite, raising questions and leaving the reader to hope that larger projects are underway in all these areas.
Jacqueline A. Rouse, Sharon Harley, Nancy Hewitt and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn examine the difficulties, conflicts and triumphs faced by African-American women during the Progressive Era. They come to different conclusions about the efficacy of African-American women reformers. Rouse argues they had little success in desegregating Atlanta in the first decades of the century, while Terborg-Penn views their work in the anti-lynching campaign as being highly effective. However, all remind us that African-American women have played important, if overlooked, roles in American reform.
As the title indicates, this collection also examines the issue of class. Under this rubric, the editors include a wide array of topics. Whether hampered by a lack of material from which to choose, or simply desiring to encompass a spectrum of themes, they incorporate articles dealing with women at both extremes of the social ladder. This disparity hurts the volume by not fulfilling the implicit promise that the book seems to make, to focus on those women who have been overlooked in more traditional histories.
The inclusion of essays on Alice Hamilton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, by Barbara Sicherman and Ellen Carol Dubois, respectively, is disappointing. While excellent critical works, the examination of wealthy reformers in a book which attempts to widen our perceptions and encourage us to include activities of ordinary women somewhat diminishes the intent of this collection. Essays on working-class women and their conflicts with the middle-class reform movement are among the best in the book. Molly Ladd-Taylor, Ardis Cameron and Eillen Boris all remind us that support for reform was not universal and definitions of family and appropriate behavior changed across class lines.
The value of these essays is enhanced because of the authors' outstanding work in pursuing and uncovering sources. Photographs, minute books from local reform organizations, company records, oral histories, letters to the Children's Bureau and records of church home mission societies have all been utilized to flesh out the lives of women of modest circumstances. These sources reflect both the promise and frustration that women's historians encounter as they try to uncover the experiences of women who left behind few written records.
By scrutinizing these sources, as well as other more traditional data, the authors have contributed notably to our knowledge of the Progressive Era. As Susan Tank Lesser argues in the closing essay, "Paradigms Gained: Further Readings in the History of Women in the Progressive Era," these advances should not be the end of exploration. Along with the issues of gender, race and class, questions of material culture, regionalism, sexuality and popular culture must all be examined as well. Noralee Frankel and Nancy S. Dye have compiled an excellent volume which should serve others interested in the continuing pursuit of these issues.
West Virginia University
ALEXANDER CAMPBELL: EDUCATING THE MORAL PERSON. By John L. Morrison (by the author, 1991. Pp. 237.)
John L. Morrison defines "several purposes" in the preface to his biography of Alexander Campbell. It is to serve individuals seeking basic information on Campbell and his impact on nineteenth-century religion, the educator/minister searching for a better understanding of Campbell's educational ideas and intellectuals attempting to better understand Campbell's life and philosophy. In "Introducing the Purpose," Morrison states his aim to be a delineation of "the major facets of Campbell's views on moral education." While this biography is a valuable addition to the literature on Campbell's educational philosophy, it is weakened by this lack of focus and a clearly stated thesis.
The biography begins with a survey of Campbell's life, his establishment and presidency of Bethany College and his role as one of the principal founders of the nation's largest indigenous Protestant religious movement. Portrayed as an early Jacksonian egalitarian with anti-aristocratic prejudices, Campbell later became a Whig in 1840. Identified as anticlerical, Campbell is described as a rationalist who believed in limited democracy, a moderate on slavery and women's rights and a near pacifist. Morrison utilizes well-known nineteenth-century sources for this discussion of Campbell's life. Morrison continues with a section on "the centrality of the Bible in Campbell's thought," which emphasizes Campbell's regard, use and interpretation of the Bible in his lectures, sermons, writings and public debates. To Campbell, the Bible was as central to human life as the sun to the solar system.
The remainder of the biography is devoted to Campbell's views on moral education, the joining of faith and reason, or as Campbell stated, the uniting of knowledge and vital piety. Morrison recognizes this topic as the most important aspect of the biography, in which he cites Campbell's mistrust of philosophy and metaphysics and the significant influence of the enlightened thinkers, particularly John Locke, upon his thought. Campbell viewed persons as moral beings created for moral uses. While he deemed reason an important servant of faith, he believed it had no more creative power than a carpenter's rule or a grocer's scale. Humanity, Campbell asserted, was ennobled by faith and education and the molding of moral character were identical expressions.
Morrison's analysis is based in Campbell's Millennial Harbinger and supplemented with citations from Popular Lectures and Addresses and the Christian Baptist. There are few references to the substantial body of interpretative literature published on Campbell since 1960. Theoretically controlled, Morrison's arguments allow only modest credit to the ideas and ethno-cultural trends in the society at large.
Morrison presents his material in a readable style that will be appealing to his identified readers. His abundant data is a useful contribution to all Campbell scholars and to each of the three branches of the religious movement Campbell helped to found. All are indebted to Morrison for sharing this admirable and intriguing result of many years of arduous scholarship.
D. Duane Cummins
President, Bethany College
PARE LORENTZ, FDR'S MOVIEMAKER: MEMOIRS AND SCRIPTS. By Pare Lorentz (Reno: Univ. of Nevada Press, 1992. Pp. 233. $29.95.)
In this autobiographical work, Pare Lorentz offers a personal account of his early working years which culminated with his appointment as head of the United States Film Service, a position that made him "FDR's Moviemaker." A short introductory chapter begins with the West Virginia native son's graduation from Buckhannon High School in 1922, enrollment in West Virginia Wesleyan and eventual transfer to West Virginia University in the fall of 1923. Pare Lorentz moved to New Jersey in 1925 to begin his career as an editor for a General Electric trade magazine. In 1926, he received what proved to be his break into the world of films, not as a producer, but as a movie critic for Judge magazine. Prior to becoming a consultant for the Resettlement Administration in 1935, he co-authored an expos entitled Censored: The Private Life of the Movies and held various writing jobs. This appointment followed his publication of The Roosevelt Year in 1934, a pictorial history of FDR's first year in office. This work left quite an impression on political and historical writers alike, and served as Lorentz's platform to promote his idea of photographing the vast changes sweeping over the face of America in the 1930s.
Although he had no prior filmmaking experience, the ever-confident Lorentz eventually produced a dramatic account of the Dust Bowl entitled The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936). It met with critical acclaim and was to be followed by The River (1938) and The Fight for Life (1940). Lorentz's formula for success was concise, yet quite simple. He held to three elements, pictures, music and words, emphasizing each in that order.
William M. Drennen, Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, notes in the introduction to the book that "it is the clever montage of stock footage and fabulous original cinematography and the masterful use of an original score that makes these productions such important technical achievements in the history of film. And it is the use of the medium as an art form combining verbal and visual auditory poetry that set these films apart and placed their writer-producer in the pantheon of American film-makers." Pare Lorentz's work proved the documentary could be a powerful mechanism for social change, and his films remain important as contemporary chronicles of the drought, flood, poverty and slums which plagued this nation in the 1930s.
Pare Lorentz developed new filming techniques and set the standards for the documentary genre. His films are regarded as classics and continue to influence the industry today. His biggest fan was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who rewarded Lorentz's efforts by appointing him head of the U. S. Film Service established in 1938.
Pare Lorentz, FDR's Moviemaker is a revealing look into the early life of this accomplished West Virginian, a man who numbered among his friends and peers well-known personalities such as John Barrymore, Robert Benchley, James Cagney, Walt Disney, John Houseman, Dorothea Lange and John Steinbeck. The book relates the many successes and few failures of a man who, before the age of forty, became an accomplished author, editor, movie critic and filmmaker. Included in his account of the conception and production of his films are discussions of the governmental red tape, budget problems and political pressures which came to bear on each project. The entire scripts of The Plow That Broke the Plains, The River, The Fight for Life and a film that was never finished entitled Ecce Homo are printed here for the first time. The autobiography is solidly written in an easy, communicative style for students of filmmaking and the interested public alike.
Pare Lorentz, FDR's Movie Maker: Memoirs and Scripts, in the author's own words, "give[s] the readers some idea of where I came from, what I tried to do, what I did, and what happened." Regrettably, the autobiography leaves the reader questing for information about Pare Lorentz's life and accomplishments for the last half-century, an account denied because of the author's death in 1992.
Billy Joe Peyton
Institute for the History of Technology
and Industrial Archeology
ELEANOR STEBER: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY. By Eleanor Steber with Marcia Sloat (Ridgewood, NJ: Wordsworth, 1992. Pp. 268. $29.95.)
During the afternoon of 7 November 1966 I received a phone call from Eleanor Steber, who was staying at her mother's home in Wheeling preparatory to giving a recital at West Liberty State College that evening. She wanted to arrange a visit to College Hall, the recital hall, so that she could check the color of the stage curtains and the general decor in order to decide which dress she would wear. She stated that she would be at the hall in fifteen minutes, to which I replied that the road from Warwood to West Liberty was very crooked and narrow, and she had better allow at least twenty minutes. Her immediate response was, "Honey, I learned to drive on these roads; I'll be there in fifteen minutes." Exactly fifteen minutes later a big black Buick roared into campus and stopped in a little cloud of dust in the parking lot that existed then in front of College Hall. Eleanor had arrived. It also was apparent that she probably had dared anyone to get in her way. This little incident capsulizes much of the picture Ms. Steber paints in her autobiography -- a portrait of a great artist who lived life with a flair for the dashing and the dramatic, and yet wanted every detail of her work to be just right, even to matching her dress with the decor of a hall in which she was to perform.
Ms. Steber's concert at West Liberty reinforced another theme which runs throughout her autobiography, namely that she possessed a superb vocal technique combined with a determined drive to excel that enabled her to perform with brilliance even when experiencing colds, exhaustion, or emotional stress. She had a cold when she appeared at West Liberty, but she instructed a music major how to brew a special blend of tea with honey and lemon, and this little backstage concoction kept her voice in working order for the concert. As she said, "I wouldn't think of canceling or disappointing all my old friends and family who have come." She certainly did not disappoint that evening, but instead gave a memorable recital (her last full-length solo recital in the greater Wheeling area) that deserved the standing ovation she received.
Marcia Sloat, a professional writer, assisted in compiling this autobiography and it is difficult to determine whether one is reading Steber or Sloat. The text reads easily, the stories are entertaining and the reader obtains a good image of a great artist who lived for her music, who was the foremost American soprano of her time and who attained the pinnacle of international success in her field. Yet she admits failings. As she wrote in the "Overture," "I have touched upon subjects . . . which I have never discussed in public, and certainly don't enjoy writing about."
References to Ms. Steber's Wheeling roots occur throughout the book. Without question her family, especially her mother, strongly influenced her career. Her mother was an excellent singer and there are frequent references to the role music played in family life in Wheeling. Her father, mother and both sets of grandparents were part of Wheeling's large German-American community in which music played a major role. After winning the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 1940, Ms. Steber returned to Wheeling for a concert in the Virginia Theater on May 1, a concert that was repeated the next evening in Madison School auditorium. For this homecoming concert, West Virginia Governor Homer Holt came from Charleston to join all the local dignitaries honoring her. This was the first of sixteen annual homecoming concerts which she presented in Wheeling. Throughout her career she never forgot Wheeling, and her friends and family never forgot her.
The autobiography provides interesting vignettes of some of the biggest names in music from the 1940s to the 1970s, combined with occasional tidbits of advice for singers and a look at real life in the opera world. Her evaluations of famous conductors with whom she worked are quite revealing. She tosses out advice on the importance of a child receiving good instrumental instruction "long before the voice potential becomes evident." There are additional gems of advice for vocal students for properly focusing and supporting the voice. Since Ms. Steber had almost legendary vocal control, singers should give her observations careful note.
As in any book of 268 pages there are some typos and factual errors. West Virginia historians will cringe at the second paragraph of the first chapter, which states that Ebenezer Zane came to Wheeling about 1706 when the actual date was 1769 and that Fort Henry was named for Henry Clay, when actually it was for Patrick Henry. Ms. Steber is absolved of mistakes such as "Warwick" instead of Warwood High School Band(37) and the location of the old theater near her Grandfather Nolte's grocery as "Third and Eoff" streets instead of 33rd and Eoff(4) as her death preceded publication. The editors should have caught several German words which are misspelled and it is a mystery why all references to Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten always capitalize ohne. A few misspelled proper names include "Ewan" for music historian David Ewen(80) and "Lange" for music critic Paul Henry Lang(200). But as Ms. Steber was writing from memory, it would be unfair to regard the book as an accurate source for specific dates.
However, from the standpoint of anyone wishing to gain insight into the operatic and concert world between 1940 and 1970 the book is a veritable gold mine. It makes fascinating reading and presents a fine picture if a truly great West Virginian who never forgot her Wheeling roots.
Edward C. Wolf
West Liberty State College
APPALACHIAN PASSAGE. By Helen B. Hiscoe (Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press, 1991. Pp. xv, 321. $32.27.)
In Appalachian Passage, Helen Hiscoe offers her reminiscences of a year spent assisting her husband Bonta during his tenure as the coal-camp doctor in Coal Mountain, Wyoming County. Having completed two years at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Michigan, Bonta Hiscoe accepted a position as a resident doctor with the Red Jacket Coal Corporation to earn the money that would enable him to pursue a surgical residency. Life in a coal camp promised "real adventure" and the Hiscoes made preparations to move to West Virginia in June 1949. With her background as a Ph.D. in zoology and a research assistant in embryology, Helen Hiscoe looked forward to working with her husband in his first independent medical practice.
The Hiscoes unwittingly walked into much more than a personal adventure. The winter of 1949-50 witnessed one of the final showdowns between the United Mine Workers and the Bituminous Coal Operators Association. A prolonged period of three-day work weeks, indefinite work stoppages deemed memorials for miners killed on the job and strikes were all utilized by John L. Lewis to gain contract concessions from the coal operators. The contract that was finally signed on March 5, 1950, fully implemented the Welfare and Retirement Fund under the control of the UMW, replacing company hired doctors. The new contract stipulated that coal companies pay a royalty per ton of coal mined into the fund to provide medical care, hospitalization and other benefits for miners and their families. Bonta Hiscoe's services were paid through a checkoff of three dollars every month from the miners' wages. Additional fees were charged for some medications, non-emergency house calls and delivering babies.
The monumental struggle between labor and management, which effectively eclipsed the company town system and resulted in the eventual unemployment of thousands of miners due to increased mechanization, is a distant backdrop to Hiscoe's narrative. National and international events came to the mountains largely through intermittent radio reception and it is only with hindsight that we recognize some of their broader implications. She details daily life in the camp and her own attempts to comprehend a social structure and culture largely alien to her. Although she respected the relative independence and personal strength of many she came to know as neighbors and friends, Hiscoe's observations are admittedly those of an outsider and, at times, condescending. However, her willingness to recount even her most critical assessments of the Coal Mountain camp and its residents lends credence to Appalachian Passage as an honest recollection of Hiscoe's experiences.
Hiscoe provides vivid accounts of medical practices in the camp. Conditions were often less than ideal and certainly a far cry from the presumably state-of-the-art facilities at Great Lakes. Only two mine accidents are related, a slate fall which left one victim a paraplegic and a miner whose feet had to be amputated after he fell in front of a moving coal car. Red Jacket apparently had a consistent safety record at Coal Mountain and shortened work weeks and strikes greatly reduced the likelihood of underground emergencies.
Births receive Hiscoe's greatest attention and relate some interesting contrasts. The prevailing medical wisdom of the day prescribed generous amounts of anesthesia during delivery and, while most births occurred at home, chloroform was ever present. At least one woman, upon having an ill-timed pregnancy confirmed, asked if the doctor "couldn't do something . . . and looked utterly despondent when he assured that was impossible, sympathetic as he might be." A condition that seemed primarily to affect women was depression and they described sometimes overwhelming feelings of loneliness and hopelessness, no doubt related to their isolation and the recognition that little in their immediate sphere was likely to change. Some of these women looked to fundamental religion and the local Holiness and Baptist churches competed for their attention.
Hiscoe briefly mentions a number of sidelights that somewhat round out her circumscribed perspective and offer a glimpse into familiar themes in Appalachian life. Through their office assistant, the daughter of Hungarian immigrants, the Hiscoes learn of the general intolerance in the camp for outsiders. Hiscoe notes there were no blacks in Coal Mountain and describes a trip to the Miners' Hospital in Welch where waiting rooms and wards were segregated. She also discusses one local man who left the mines during World War II to work in Detroit's auto plants but returned to the coalfields because of higher wages and more job security.
Two of the most enlightening passages center on a visit by Hiscoe's sister and a lengthy conversation with the camp superintendent. In explaining camp life to their visitor, the Hiscoes weigh some of its advantages and disadvantages, including the practicality and quality of "socialized medicine" as they had come to understand it through their own prepaid care system. The camp superintendent, with his decidedly paternalistic stance, had been a miner in Logan County and fought at the Battle of Blair Mountain. Thirty years later, he reflected on the uncertain fate of the coal industry: "`You know I wouldn't hurt these men for anything. I know what a hard life they have, the struggle . . . to win whatever successes have come their way. I was one of them once. . . . I feel sorry for them when I think about their future. Coal's losing its markets, and this strike's helping put the skids under it'. . . ."
Whether or not the reader agrees with Hiscoe's perceptions, Appalachian Passage is valuable for its brief look into coal-camp life in its waning years. It is a snapshot that takes on greater meaning when superimposed upon the larger historical framework. As Barbara Ellen Smith notes in her foreword to the book, personal remembrances such as this ably differentiate our past as recorded by historians from our past as experienced by individuals.
Christine M. Kreiser
West Virginia State Archives
KENNEDY VS. HUMPHREY, WEST VIRGINIA, 1960: THE PIVOTAL BATTLE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION. By Dan B. Fleming, Jr. (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. 1992. Pp. 216. $25.95.)
A generation after he campaigned for the presidency, John F. Kennedy continues to cast his shadow across our political landscape. No other president serving so short a term left such an impact on the American public. Kennedy traveled so quickly from dynamic candidate to martyred president that many forget how much he owed West Virginia. It appears certain, without the West Virginia primary victory, John Kennedy would not have been nominated for the presidency in 1960.
In Kennedy vs. Humphrey, West Virginia, 1960, Dan B. Fleming, Jr. provides the first monograph on the primary which virtually made a president. The 1960 Democratic primary was, as Fleming's subtitle notes, "The Pivotal Battle for the Democratic Presidential Nomination." The stakes were high in the West Virginia primary for Kennedy, following his inconclusive victory in Wisconsin. Only an impressive win could restore his momentum and undermine the religion issue which dominated press coverage. Three years later, Kennedy remembered his debt when he appeared at the state's centennial celebration, "I would not be where I am now . . . if it had not been for the people of West Virginia."
The primary was a "turning point" in Kennedy's career and in presidential politics, for it was seen as a "landmark in reducing religious bigotry." As Fleming points out, "an irony in American politics is that in 1960 a poor, Protestant state in the Bible belt made it possible for the first Roman Catholic to be elected President." In the suddenly tight West Virginia primary, Kennedy's ambition collided with religious discrimination. Kennedy and his supporters were convinced the primary was about the larger issue of religious discrimination in American politics. While Fleming argues that the press and the Kennedy campaign exaggerated the extent of religious intolerance in the state, he recounts the Kennedy supporters' siege mentality that bigotry would derail their candidate in the final four weeks of the West Virginia primary.
In hindsight, Kennedy's primary landslide was not surprising. "When one blends Kennedy's strengths -- including vast amounts of money, organization, personal style and wit, war record and lot of plain hard work -- it is not surprising that he won." Kennedy in every way out-organized, out-spent and out-campaigned his opponent Hubert Humphrey. Moreover, Kennedy employed an effective campaign strategy which neutralized the religion issue by confrontation, a strategy he later used in the general election. By focusing on "food, family and flag," the candidate cast off the association with Catholicism and became the incarnation of FDR and the war hero.
As Fleming notes, Kennedy kept his campaign promises to West Virginia. His positive legacy to the state included the allocation of "almost $600 million in federal funds, including contracts, road money and other public works." The legacy of West Virginia to Kennedy is more difficult to quantify, but there is evidence the Massachusetts millionaire was influenced by the economic conditions he confronted in the state. He reacted to the poverty he saw when, as president, he initiated a national food-stamp program to assist its victims.
Fleming's book confirms what most participants already knew, that despite cultural differences, the Irish politicians of Boston had much in common with their Appalachian counterparts when it came to the "rough and tumble" art of hardball politics. The Kennedy campaign in West Virginia contained elements of both the old and new political tactics. While the campaign pursued backroom deals effectively, courting the support of local county machines, and made history in its extensive use of television, advertising and endorsements.
Fleming begins with a review of the primary in general and then explores the campaign operation on a county or regional basis. The remainder of the two-hundred-page book includes chapters on topics such as the "slating" contest in Logan County ("Like Hungry Hogs Going to the Trough"), the post-election fraud investigations ("Everyone Gets in the Act") and Kennedy's estimated expenditures, which range from $250,000 to $2 million ("Thar's Gold in Them Hills"). Throughout the book the author investigates new rumors such as Mafia involvement, which he discounts, and confirms old suspicions, such as Robert Kennedy's role in raising the issue of Hubert Humphrey's draft status.
Prior to Fleming's study, the only account of the contest was Harry W. Ernst's excellent article written shortly after the event. Fleming takes advantage of numerous resources which have become available in the intervening years, including the oral history project conducted for the Kennedy Presidential Library by William Young. Fleming has utilized and updated these interviews, where possible, and contacted hundreds in his pursuit of new eyewitnesses. His investigation includes thirty-eight telephone interviews and forty-one personal interviews with primary participants. Interviews with a nostalgic Lawrence O'Brien and a bitter Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr. provide interesting highlights. They also remind us of the need to interview participants soon after an event, since both men have recently died.
Fleming utilizes contemporary press accounts, recent memoirs and materials in the Kennedy archives to supplement eyewitness anecdotes. Although Fleming's monograph does not use other archival collections, it provides a detailed snapshot when West Virginia was the center of national attention. This informative investigation of one of the most important presidential primaries in American history provides a needed chapter in West Virginia's electoral history.
West Virginia Wesleyan College
THE APPALACHIAN REGIONAL COMMISSION: TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF GOVERNMENT POLICY. By Michael J. Bradshaw (Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1992. Pp. xvi, 168. $21.00.)
Michael Bradshaw has written a welcome book, one with broader implications in the 1992 presidential election year in which federal economic policy was seen as one of the fundamental issues confronting the country. The fact that West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller has written a highly complimentary foreword to the book only adds to its political relevance. Also adding to its value is that Bradshaw is an outsider, teaching in Great Britain, yet an expert in American development and author of a previous study of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Here then is a brief, balanced study of one of our greatest experiments in public policy, the creation and operation of the Appalachian Regional Commission.
In the first two chapters, Bradshaw reviews the status of regional policy theory in the 1950s and questions whether public policy can change human geography. He suggests historically that there may be a mismatch between American politics and providing solutions to regional needs before 1960. The second chapter reviews the status of Appalachia in the 1950s, elaborating the well-known litany of Appalachian needs that provided the justification for the ARC and was the subject of its famous 1964 report that was the basis for its 1965 enabling legislation.
In four chapters, the heart of the book, Bradshaw traces the steps leading to the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965, outlining the first decade and summarizing and analyzing the work of the commission in its most effective period 1975-80. He then chronicles the holding actions of the ARC in the 1980s under the determined attacks of the Reagan administration.
Bradshaw finds the roots of the ARC in state development activities of the 1950s, such as the Eastern Kentucky Development Commission, and in the growing cooperation among the nine Appalachian governors. The turning point was a meeting between the governors and presidential candidate John Kennedy in 1960, followed by Kennedy's famous primary election victory in West Virginia. Following the election, Kennedy turned his staff to preparing development plans for Appalachia, and by January 1961 those appeared in the form of S1, the first Senate Bill of the session establishing the Area Redevelopment Act. Ultimately unsatisfactory, Kennedy created the President's Appalachian Regional Commission, which was codified in legislation by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.
During its first decade, the ARC suffered some growing pains but generally performed well. In its early years, it did not always received credit for what it accomplished, and some initial actions were unsuccessful. One positive incident noted by Bradshaw was that within three weeks of the collapse of the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River at Point Pleasant, the ARC had coordinated the efforts of federal agencies to replace the bridge, an achievement for which Bradshaw suggests Governor Arch A. Moore took most of the credit. During this decade, the number of states in ARC increased to thirteen, with strengthened Congressional support from Senator John Stennis of Mississippi and Senator Robert Kennedy of New York. Through direct appropriation of funds, the Local Development Districts' (LDDs) role as clearinghouses for federal grant funds and the 1971 ARC supplemental funds used in leveraging other federal agency dollars, the ARC achieved its mandate for a regional plan by 1975. Bradshaw also reviews seven criticisms leveled at the ARC during these years.
The years 1975-80 were years of maturity. With the ARC's regional plan, published in 1977, emphasis shifted from highway access to human resources and the LDDs became very effective state agencies. The author undertook a case study of the programs of the ARC in these years, analyzing the work of twelve of the sixty-nine LDDs. He found "an equitable distribution of the funds and projects on the basis of both land area and population."(78) Four major critiques from varying perspectives were all favorable. By 1980, "Appalachian people gained considerable improvement in income, employment opportunity, education, and health provision relative to the rest of the country. . . ."(96)
The gains were diluted in the 1980s under the opposing ideology of the Reagan administration. Congress was forced to restore funds for the ARC annually because the administration refused to include an appropriation in the executive budget. Even in this process, the ARC suffered a two-thirds reduction in budget. The strategy of the Appalachian governors was to request "finish up" appropriations to conclude the work of the commission. By 1987, however, supporters sought to expand the ARC concept to all of rural America and Congress authorized the Lower Mississippi Delta Commission two years later. Under President Bush, opposition to ARC eased and some funding was restored. Bradshaw concludes that the ARC survived because of strong support from governors and Congress and the general confidence people had in the effectiveness of ARC programs. Appalachia had been negatively affected during the 1980s, however, and the differential between Appalachia and the rest of the country was "almost returning to the 1960 differential."(114) Bradshaw is careful, however, to distinguish the various regions of Appalachia and reveals that the southern region has maintained its progress, while the central Appalachian region (West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and western Virginia) and the northern rustbelt have not.
Bradshaw concludes his study with two chapters that analyze ARC's accomplishments and their wider implications. Highway development, water and sewer projects, and improved access to housing, vocational education and health care have been extensive. He notes the administrative costs of the ARC were very low and the LDDs became an effective tool to bridge local, state and federal boundaries. "It is clear that the ARC has fulfilled much of its charge," Bradshaw concludes.(134) In looking at broader applications, he notes that "balanced growth" is largely what ARC accomplished and did so better than other federal programs. Rural America of the late 1980s still seemed much like 1960, and Bradshaw suggests the ARC experience is worth examining to identify solutions to address today's rural problems.
Michael Bradshaw writes very systematically, with an introduction and summary to each chapter. Complicated legislation and statistical data are often presented in simple outline form. The tables and maps are clear. A ten-page bibliography and a brief index conclude the volume. The only quibble this reviewer has is the occasional comparison of the aggregate data with percentage data. For example, we are told on page 128 that only 5 percent of Appalachian children under six had access to Head Start in 1969, but this grew to over two hundred thousand by 1982. Presumably this is an increase of some magnitude, but such oranges and apples aside, this is a good book, one that every West Virginia library should have and many knowledgeable West Virginians will want to read.
R. Eugene Harper
University of Charleston
ALLEGHENY PASSAGE: CHURCHES AND FAMILIES, WEST MARVA DISTRICT CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN, 1752-1990. By Emmert F. Bittinger (Camden, ME: Penobscott Press, 1990. Pp. xv, 856.)
This history focuses on the West Marva District, an area of northeastern West Virginia bounded roughly by Interstate 79 to the west, Interstate 68 to the north, Route 220 to the east and Route 33 to the south. It traces in detail various settlements of Brethren Church members in western Virginia beginning with a 1745 settlement on the New River in what is now Pulaski County.
Each chapter looks at a distinct geographical region of the West Marva District and provides the genealogies of the Brethren families living there. Also included is a brief history of the Brethren reform movement in eighteenth-century Germany, its transfer to the colonies due to religious persecution in Europe and early migration patterns of the sect to the south and west. This volume is annotated, indexed and has several appendices including a listing of West Virginia ministers from 1906 to 1950.
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SERVICE TO GOD & MAN: TALLMANSVILLE BAPTIST CHURCH 1892-1992. By Noel W. Tenney (Tallmansville: by the church, 1992. Pp. 46.)
The centennial church history of the Tallmansville Baptist Church in Upshur County is presented in chronological order with a short news item for almost every year. There is no explanation for missing years, such as 1933 and 1935, and for a number of other years the entries are very brief and of minor importance. Various members are cited and each pastor receives some attention. There are a number of interesting photographs and document reproductions to illustrate the text. The publication includes a list of members by date of membership and a list of burials in the church cemetery.
THE MCNEEL CEMETERY, POCAHONTAS COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA. List prepared by Hubert Lewis, Lanty F. McNeel, and William P. McNeel (Hillsboro, WV: The McNeel Cemetery Association, 1992. Pp. 40.)
The McNeel Cemetery, located off Route 219 north of Hillsboro, dates to 1774 when the first known burial was made. This inventory of graves is arranged alphabetically by family surname. Birth dates, death dates and other relevant genealogical information are provided for each name when available from county court records and local histories such as Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County, West Virginia by William T. Price and History of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, 1981 by the Pocahontas County Historical Society. Photographs and a brief history of the cemetery and surrounding property are also included.
TALENT AND COURAGE: OUTSTANDING WEST VIRGINIA WOMEN IN THE 1990S. By Ethel Davie (n. p., 1992. Pp. 124.)
Dr. Ethel Davie, Professor Emeritus of Foreign Languages at West Virginia State College, has compiled biographical sketches outlining the education, influences and interests of seventeen West Virginia women recognized for their accomplishments in a variety of fields. Davie features Ancella Radford Bickely, Lenore Adele Breen, Bonnie Louise Brown, Theresa Krlikowski Buck, Phyllis Harden Carter, Paula Clendenin, Mary Clare Eros, Denise Giardina, Barbara J. Oden, Louise Corey Palumbo, Sophia Peterson, Charlotte Pritt, Dolly Sherwood, Judith Gold Stitzel, Margaret Workman, Rachael Worby and Adrienne Worthy. Each has made a noteworthy contribution in such diverse fields as education, administration, marketing, the law, literature, the arts and scientific research.
THEY STARTED IT ALL: A GUIDE TO HACKER'S CREEK HISTORIC SITES. By Joy Gregoire Gilchrist (Alum Bridge: Hacker's Creek Pioneer Descendants, 1992. Pp. 54. Order from the author, Route 1, Box 38, Alum Bridge, WV 26321.)
This guide lists and provides short narratives on some thirty sites along or near Hacker's Creek in Lewis County, relating to the area's early settlement and development. Sites include those no longer standing, cemeteries and extant structures. A map and a few photographs provide readers with a key to locations. The publication relates much local and family history of early settlers in the Hacker's Creek area. It is designed as a descriptive companion for travelers visiting the area and looking for particular connections to John Hacker and other early settlers.
A TRIBUTE TO THE COAL MINER. Vol. 5. By Pauline Haga (Crab Orchard: the author, 1992. Pp. 50 including covers.)
This illustrated volume features Montcoal, McAlpin, Woodbay, Stotesbury, Helen, Winding Gulf and Killarney in Raleigh County; Powellton and Lee mines in Fayette; Glen Rogers, Kopperston, Iroquois and Maben Tipple in Wyoming; and Crane Creek coal camp in Mercer County. Brief biographical accounts of two retired miners recount stories of their active mining years and provide insight in their retirement years. One section of twelve pages cites veterans who served in World War II. As with previous volumes, the emphasis is on historical photographs of miners, work crews in and out of the mine, company buildings, operations and housing, baseball teams and other examples of the social and work settings in the coalfields of the southern counties.
THE WESTERN WATERS: EARLY SETTLERS OF EASTERN BARBOUR COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA. By Violet Gadd Coonts (Denver, CO: Stephen P. Coonts, 1991. Pp. 442.)
Violet Coonts traces the development of eastern Barbour County and the Tygart River Valley from 1772 through the early 1800s. Using land grant, deed, survey, tax, marriage and will records, Coonts establishes the identities of hundreds of early settlers who are often nameless in traditional accounts of the era. Appendices include a 1777 petition to form a new county, the 1810 census for Randolph County and the minutes of the Court of Commissioners who met for three sessions in the Tygart Valley in March 1780. A bibliography, name index, photographs and maps complete this volume.
GENEALOGIES CATALOGED BY THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS SINCE 1986. By the Library of Congress (Washington, D. C.: Library of Congress, 1991. Pp. 1349.)
This collection, divided into three sections, provides a comprehensive listing of genealogical materials cataloged by the Library of Congress from January 1, 1986 through July 31, 1991. Section I lists 8,997 genealogies alphabetically by family surname. Each entry identifies the authors, complete titles, publication information and physical descriptions of the works. The Library of Congress call number is also included. Section II lists surnames and their most common spelling variations to assist the researcher in locating relevant materials. Section III lists older genealogical publications that have been transferred to microfilm since 1983 in order to preserve the originals. The volume also includes a brief introduction on how to use genealogical collections in the Library of Congress.
FAMILY: ROOTS, TIES, AND TRAILS. By Mary C. Sturgeon (Conway, AR: River Road Press, 1991. Pp. 190. $50)
Family: Roots, Ties, and Trails traces the interrelated Sturgeon, Milam, Nixon, Robinson, Wilcox, Browning, Harlan, Blakeslee and Judd families through Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas. Descendants charts are given for each family name, some dating as far back as the seventeenth century and continuing forward to the present generation. Much of the book relates family anecdotes and the author's personal reminiscences of relatives and growing up in the rural South. Appendices feature a collection of ninety-eight family photographs from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and a bibliography.
PHILIP AND RUTH DICKERSON WITTEN AND THEIR DESCENDANTS. By Sally Sue Witten (by the author, 541 Oak Ave., Lakeside, OH 43440. Pp. 225. $30.00 plus $3 shipping and handling.)
The genealogy of the Witten family of Monroe County, Ohio, is presented from patriarch Philip, who, with his family, were the first permanent settlers in Monroe in 1790, through the author's generation. Included are family photographs, related genealogical lines, notes and an index.
RICHARD DOTSON (1752-1847) AND HIS DESCENDANTS. By James M. Dotson and Barr Wilson (Danville, CA: by the author, 1992. Pp. 346. Order from James M. Dotson, 306 Bonanza Way, Danville, CA 94526.)
This book traces the genealogy of the Richard Dotson family of Doddridge County, (West) Virginia. Dotson was born in Frederick County, Virginia, and fought on the frontier in Lord Dunmore's War and the American Revolution. Soon after 1800, he and his family moved from Hampshire to Doddridge County. Dotson married three times and had fourteen children.
The genealogy is illustrated with photos and maps. There are five appendices and an index with more than seven thousand name entries. Related family names include Ash, Bond, Britton, Cain, Childers, Cochran, Collins, Cooper, Cross, Davis, Doak, Doll, Duckworth, Echard, Elder, Ellifritt, Ferrebee, Fleming, Garner, Gaskins, Goodwin, Gregg, Haines, Hill, Jones, Kelley, Lynch, Marsh, Metz, Nutter, Piggott, Poole, Richards, Ruley, Sayre, Scott, Seevers, Sellers, Shriver, Simmons, Stanley, Stinespring, Taylor, Thomas, Wadsworth, Waldo, Williams and Wilson.
"THE SPIRIT OF PARTY": HAMILTON AND JEFFERSON AT ODDS. By Margaret C. S. Christman (Washington, D. C.: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; distributed by the University Press of Virginia, 1992. Pp. 64. $12.95.)
National Portrait Gallery historian Margaret Christman has compiled this collection of portraits and prints in commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson's birth. The accompanying essay explores the diametrically opposed views of Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton on the nature of government. Jefferson's defense of agrarian concerns and states' rights became the basis of the early Republican party. Hamilton's emphasis on business and a strong central government was the philosophy of the Federalists. The personal writings of these men, from their first meeting in 1790 (when Jefferson was Secretary of State and Hamilton Secretary of the Treasury) until Jefferson was elected president in 1800, provide the details of their long political and personal enmity. Thirty-one black and white illustrations depict such contemporaries as Fisher Ames, James Madison, Albert Gallatin, John Jay, John Adams and John Marshall.
A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY OF THE RATIFICATION OF THE CONSTITUTION. Vol. 10, VIRGINIA, Pt. 3. Edited by John Kaminski, et al. (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1993. Pp. xxix, 1179-1914. $50.00.)
Part three of this documentary series on the ratification of the constitution in Virginia concludes with the Virginia Convention from June 2 to 27, 1788, and contemporary observations on the debates. News of ratification on June 25 spread rapidly and was celebrated not only in Virginia, but throughout the United States. A number of newspaper accounts, speeches, toasts and congratulatory letters convey the mood of the period. A supplement to the text contains three recently discovered letters in the Edmund Pendleton-James Madison Papers at the Gilder Lehrman Library in New York from Pendleton to Madison on August 12, 1787, October 8, 1787 and January 29, 1788.
This volume also features a national ratification chronology from 1786 to 1791 and a chronology of events in Virginia from 1776 to 1791. A cumulative index for volumes eight, nine and ten on Virginia ratification completes this work.
JUBAL: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF GENERAL JUBAL A. EARLY, C.S.A., DEFENDER OF THE LOST CAUSE. By Charles C. Osborne (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 1992. Pp. xiii, 560. $29.95.)
Each year there are one or two Civil War biographies that rise above the rest. This book, by veteran journalist Charles Osborne, is definitely one of these standouts. The story of Robert E. Lee's cantankerous subordinate is well told in a direct yet colorful manner that would probably have suited Jubal himself.
Osborne recounts Early's youth in the hill country of Franklin County, Virginia, revealing an earnest student and quick learner. Early graduated from West Point in 1837 in a class that included many future Civil War generals such as Braxton Bragg, John Sedgwick and Joseph Hooker. Although he saw little combat, Early served with distinction as a military governor during the Mexican War. Returning to Virginia, Early became a small-town lawyer and legislator. Osborne describes the strange cohabitation that Early arranged with his young mistress but never fully explains this long relationship. Early was an ardent Unionist before Virginia seceded, but after the war became one of the Lost Cause's most vociferous supporters.
From the beginning of the Civil War, Early rose rapidly in the command structure under Lee and Stonewall Jackson and played key roles in many battles from First Bull Run through Monocacy. Taking Jackson's mantle, Early fought up and down the Shenandoah Valley in 1864 and 1865 and led his army in an advance on Washington, the closest the Confederates would come to taking the capitol. Osborne's maps are helpful in following these engagements and he uses several previously unpublished photos. Osborne also shows how Early's contemptuous underestimation of Union General Phil Sheridan led to disaster and humiliation as Early's army was finally destroyed. Osborne also documents the failure of the high command to appreciate or control the cavalry at the end of the war, causing more defeats than may have occurred with better coordination.
After the war, Early was instrumental in the deification of Lee and Jackson while denigrating James Longstreet. He was tireless in promoting the ideological goals of the Southern cause, white supremacy, states' rights and the maintenance of honor. This book will quickly become the accepted text on Early and is an enjoyable read for anyone interested in military history and post-Civil War politics.
UNRECONSTRUCTED REBEL. By Diana L. Johnson (Huntington, WV: University Editions, 1992. Pp. 123. $10.00.)
The story of an unrepentant Confederate is always popular in southern circles. John McCausland is the epitome of the rebel who never surrendered and fought his entire life for the Lost Cause. Diana Johnson, an attorney from Mason County, McCausland's home, has put together a small but interesting biography of this irascible rebel. Well-researched and annotated, the only problem with this work is that it lists the battles McCausland fought in West Virginia and Virginia alphabetically, confusing their chronology. Johnson discusses every engagement McCausland's troops participated in, making this a good source for information on the many Virginia regiments he led. His excellent record was marred by a surprise attack on his units in Moorefield which damaged Confederate cavalry strength in the Shenendoah Valley. The author is openly Southern and makes the customarily supportive case for McCausland's explanation for his burning of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, which left him widely hated in the North. After the war, he went on to become a prosperous landowner and father. The author includes many of her own photos, including one of the McCausland home in Mason County with it's distinctive cupola.
THE CIVIL WAR: THE BEST OF AMERICAN HERITAGE. Edited by Stephen W. Sears (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1991. Pp. ix, 244. $9.95.)
EYEWITNESS TO WORLD WAR II (idem. Pp. ix, 308. $9.95.)
WORLD WAR II (idem. Pp. vii, 280. $9.95.)
The Civil War has received a great deal of attention in the pages of American Heritage, particularly since Bruce Catton served as editor, senior editor and editor emeritus of the magazine beginning in 1954. Now Stephen W. Sears, former American Heritage Book Division editor and author of Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam and George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon, has assembled eighteen of the magazine's best essays on the subject for The Civil War: The Best of American Heritage. From Catton's own discussion of how to write about the great American cataclysm to studies of battles, generals and lesser-known events and individuals, The Civil War continues to provide scholars and other devotees with food for thought. Of particular interest to West Virginia readers will be Richard F. Snow's "Belle Boyd," a short treatment of Martinsburg's Confederate spy, and Robert K. Krick's "Lee's Greatest Victory," a look at the Battle of Chancellorsville and the untimely death of Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson.
Stephen Sears also lends his military history expertise to two other volumes in this Best of American Heritage series, World War II and Eyewitness to World War II. As the fiftieth anniversaries of V-E Day and V-J Day near, these collections remember the "war history will honor" largely through first-person accounts. The strategies that made Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Wake Island so familiar to Americans are examined along with some of the most unconventional secret weapons of the war -- hydrogen balloons launched from Japan that successfully carried their lethal payload to Oregon and the failed American scheme to use bats to carry incendiary devices into enemy territory.
On the homefront, women who had never worked outside the home prior to the war recall their first forays into the industrial world. Gasoline rationing instituted by the federal Office of Price Administration curbed unnecessary civilian consumption but fueled a nationwide black market that supplied the never-ending American love affair with automobile travel.
American Heritage has offered provocative glimpses into an array of subjects for almost forty years, resulting in a wealth of material. Perhaps future volumes in the Best of series can share many more of our history's fascinating sidelights on other themes.
West Virginia History Journal
West Virginia History Center