Southern Stories: Slaveholders in Peace and War

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"We all live, I have come to believe, within the stories we tell," writes Drew Faust, "for these tales fashion a coherent direction and identity out of the discontinuities of our past, present, and future."

Forging an identity was an extraordinary task for white southerners of the late antebellum and Civil War era.  In the critically acclaimed Southern Stories:  Slaveholders in Peace and War, Faust investigates the experiences of wealthy planters, common soldiers, intellectuals, and Confederate women.  She breaks especially fresh ground in her attention to southern thought and belief, to southern society and culture during the Civil War, and to the role of gender relations within the Confederate South.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Southern Stories is an excellent collection of essays that illustrates all Faust's own storytelling genius that has made her one of the most widely read and insightful southern historians of our age."—Georgia Historical Quarterly

"As with her treatment of male slaveholders in peace, Faust's portraits of Confederate women in wartime illustrate the interplay between ideas and reality and place the slaveholders securely in the context of their own society. The result is a historically grounded and intellectually sophisticated approach that is rarely adversarial or dismissive of differing viewpoints."—Reviews in American History

"No neoconfederate she. Drew Faust writes about the South with affectionate understanding, but always with a sharp, critical eye. In these excellent essays, these stories, she remembers that, within the Confederacy, there were, along with the galloping white males, not only black men, but also black and white women who had their own idea of things."—William S. McFeely

"Her style of writing is equal to the quality of her research and the ingenuity of her insights. . . . One hasn't enjoyed the Civil War through a woman's eyes as much as in this book since Mrs. Chesnut's diary and Margaret Mitchell's novel."
—Southern Seen

"The book gives a vivid picture of people's thoughts and deeds as they were involved in various situations brought on by the war. An excellent book for any Civil War or southern culture collection."— Library Journal

Library Journal
Southern culture before and during the Civil War has been the topic of several previous books, but Faust ( The Creation of Confederate Nationalism , Louisiana State Univ. Pr., 1988) paints a clearer picture of life in the South involving men and women as well as blacks and whites. She achieves this aim by exploring the cultural, moral, and personal dilemmas that confronted Southerners during this period. The first half of the book involves the concept of the Southern man and how he dealt with agriculture, slavery, religion, and war. The second half deals with the Southern woman and how she handled changes in her life owing to war. This new role involved the mobilization of women for civilian support services for the army as well as agricultural work for the support of the family. The book gives a vivid picture of people's thoughts and deeds as they were involved in various situations brought on by the war. An excellent book for any Civil War or Southern culture collection.-- W. Walter Wicker, Louisiana Tech Univ., Ruston
The ten essays collected here span almost two decades of work in Southern history. Faust (history, U. of Pennsylvania) comments, have been concerned with how members of a slave-holding society made sense out of a world that seems to us in the 20th century to make very little sense at all." Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826209757
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Drew Gilpin Faust is the author of A Sacred Circle:  The Dilemma of the Intellectual in the Old South, James Henry Hammond and the Old South:  A Design for Mastery, and The Creation of Confederate Nationalism:  Ideology and Identity in the Civil War South.  She is Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Table of Contents

Author's Note
Introduction 1
Evangelicalism and the Proslavery Argument: The Reverend Thornton Stringfellow of Virginia (1977) 15
The Rhetoric and Ritual of Agriculture in Antebellum South Carolina (1979) 29
Culture, Conflict, and Community: The Meaning of Power on an Antebellum Plantation (1980) 54
The Proslavery Argument in History (1981) 72
Christian Soldiers: The Meaning of Revivalism in the Confederate Army (1987) 88
Altars of Sacrifice: Confederate Women and the Narratives of War (1990) 113
In Search of the Real Mary Chesnut (1982) 141
Race, Gender, and Confederate Nationalism: William D. Washington's Burial of Latane (1989) 148
A War Story for Confederate Women: Augusta Jane Evans's Macaria (1992) 160
"Trying to Do a Man's Business": Gender, Violence, and Slave Management in Civil War Texas (1992) 174
Notes 193
Index 247
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