The Civil War as a Crisis in Gender: Augusta, Georgia, 1860-1890 / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 28%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $12.98
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 49%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (12) from $12.98   
  • New (4) from $25.68   
  • Used (8) from $12.98   


Gender is the last vantage point from which the Civil War has yet to be examined in-depth, says LeeAnn Whites. Gender concepts and constructions, Whites says, deeply influenced the beliefs underpinning both the Confederacy and its vestiges to which white southerners clung for decades after the Confederacy's defeat. Whites's arguments and observations, which center on the effects of the conflict on the South's gender hierarchy, will challenge our understanding of the war and our acceptance of its historiography.

The ordering principle of gender roles and relations in the antebellum South, says Whites, was a form of privileged white male identity against which others in that society were measured and accorded worth and meaning--women, wives, children, and slaves. Over the course of the Civil War the power of these men to so arbitrarily construct their world all but vanished, owing to a succession of hardships that culminated in defeat and the end of slavery. At the same time, Confederate women were steadily--and ambivalently--empowered. Drawn out of their domestic sphere, these women labored and sacrificed to prop up an apparently hollow notion of essential manliness that rested in part on an assumption of female docility and weakness.

Whites focuses on Augusta, Georgia, to follow these events as they were played out in the lives of actual men and women. An antebellum cotton trading center, Augusta was central to the Confederacy's supply network and later became an exemplary New South manufacturing city. Drawing on primary sources from private family papers to census data, Whites traces the interplay of power and subordination, self-interest and loyalty, as she discusses topics related to the gender crisis in Augusta, including female kin networks, women's volunteer organizations, class and race divisions, emancipation, Sherman's invasion of Georgia, veteran aid societies, rural migration to cities, and the postwar employment of white women and children in industry.

Whites concludes with an account of how elite white Augustans "reconstructed" themselves in the postwar years. By memorializing their dead and mythologizing their history in a way that presented the war as a valiant defense of antebellum domesticity, these Augustans sought to restore a patriarchy--however attenuated--that would deflect the class strains of industrial development while maintaining what it could of the old Southern gender and racial order. Inherent in this effort, as during the war, was an unspoken admission by the white men of Augusta of their dependency upon white women. A pioneering volume in Civil War history, this important study opens new debates and avenues of inquiry in culture and gender studies.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A pathbreaking book laced with significant critical theoretical insight and vivid primary evidence. Whites’s splendid grasp of the theoretical issues, combined with her vivid and dramatic use of voices from this critical, compelling Civil War era, make the book riveting."--Catherine Clinton

"A major contribution to the study of the Civil War and gender relations of the era. Whites’s analysis will be the mother tongue of Civil War interpretation. Her work explains so well the convoluted changes in sexual roles and perceptions that no account of the Civil War will henceforth be made without it."--Jean E. Friedman

“Whites's groundbreaking study demonstrates that applying a gendered analysis to the behavior of both men and women sheds new light on even the most familiar stories of history."--Civil War History

“Insightful . . . Whites uses gender creatively and perceptively as a means for exploring the South's upheaval in the nineteenth century.”--American Historical Review

"In a pioneering analysis of changing gender relationships during the Civil War, Whites explains much of the irony inherent in a southern world view that initially articulated the conflict as a defense of the liberties of 'free men' and later contended that the war was fought to protect southern homes, women, and children . . . She has given scholars, students, and general readers a window through which to view elite southern women and a fascinating new interpretation of the mythology surrounding the 'lost cause.'”--History: Reviews of New Books

Drawing on primary sources from private family papers to census data, Whites (history, U. of Missouri-Columbia) discusses gender concepts and constructions in antebellum Augusta, Georgia. Some topics include female kin networks, women's volunteer organizations, class and race divisions, and the postwar employment of white women and children in industry. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820322094
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2000
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288

Meet the Author

LeeAnn Whites is an associate professor of history and women’s studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: Masculinity in Crisis: Civil War History as a "View from Somewhere" 1
1 Independent Men and Dependent Women: Augusta and the Outbreak of War 15
2 Fighting Men and Loving Women: The Mobilization of the Homefront 41
3 Benevolent Men and Destitute Women: The Domestication of the Market 64
4 Defeated Men and Vulnerable Women: The Collapse of the Confederacy 96
5 The Domestic Reconstruction of Southern White Men 132
6 The Politics of Domestic Loss: The Ladies' Memorial Association and the Confederate Dead 160
7 The Divided Mind as a Gendered Mind: The Confederate Survivors Association and the New South 199
Notes 225
Index 267
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)