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O'Donovan presents an excellent overview of the lives of African Americans in southwestern Georgia from about 1820 through 1868. The work shows the development of the cotton economy in this unique region from its very beginning until the early stages of emancipation. However, the book's strength is its treatment of the daily lives of African Americans. The impact of the planters' initial migration to southwestern Georgia, the ways in which slaves negotiated almost every aspect of their lives with their masters, and the effect of the Civil War on the region are all well developed. O'Donovan also shows the actual process of emancipation at work and how it affected black men, women, and children differently. Her work is especially strong in its treatment of women and discusses economics, social history, and politics equally well. O'Donovan expands on the earlier works of Hahn, Bryant, and Berlin while acknowledging her debt to them. This work is extraordinarily well written, often allowing African Americans to speak for themselves.
— K. L. Gorman