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From the Publisher"An important book on an important subject. . . . Undoubtedly an important scholarly contribution."
— Civil War History Journal
"Notably absent [in studies of the history of the middle-class] has been any attention to the American South. . . . With [this] intelligent analysis of middle-class formation in the antebellum South, that absence is no more. . . . A fresh addition to our understanding of the origins of the Civil War."
— Journal of Southern History
"This important book should be required reading for students of the Old South."
— American Historical Review
"Wells recovers something that has been buried since at least 1895: the antebellum Southern middle class. . . . Impressive. . . . Enriches and challenges our comprehension of this place and time."
— Arkansas Historical Quarterly
"[An] ambitious, well-written, and persistently argued book."
— Florida Historical Quarterly
"Wells addresses the complex problem of class formation with boldness, deftness, and sensitivity. . . . Merit[s] the attention of all antebellum Southern historians."
"Excellent and should be read by those interested in the coming of the War."
— Louisiana History
"His claim will be controversial, but his book will enrich our understandings and change our thinking.
(Michael O'Brien, University of Cambridge) "