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From the Publisher"A positive contribution to women's and Southern history for demonstrating the complexity between the reality of female lives and the rhetoric of prescriptive literature."
— Florida Historical Quarterly
"Well-written and painstakingly researched. . . . As a study of slaveholding widows in the antebellum South, Masterful Women is a very important contribution to the field."
— Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
Wood demonstrates that slaveholding widows enjoyed material, legal, and cultural resources to which most other southerners could only aspire. The ways in which they did and did not translate those resources into social, political, and economic power shed new light on the evolution of slaveholding society.