The Planting of New Virginia: Settlement and Landscape in the Shenandoah Valley

The Planting of New Virginia: Settlement and Landscape in the Shenandoah Valley

by Warren R. Hofstra
     
 

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In the eighteenth century, Virginia's Shenandoah Valley became a key corridor for America's westward expansion through the Cumberland Gap. Known as "New Virginia," the region west of the Blue Ridge Mountains set off the world of the farmer from that of the planter, grain and livestock production from tobacco culture, and a free labor society from a slave labor

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Overview

In the eighteenth century, Virginia's Shenandoah Valley became a key corridor for America's westward expansion through the Cumberland Gap. Known as "New Virginia," the region west of the Blue Ridge Mountains set off the world of the farmer from that of the planter, grain and livestock production from tobacco culture, and a free labor society from a slave labor society. In The Planting of New Virginia Warren Hofstra offers the first comprehensive geographical history of one of North America's most significant frontier areas. By examining the early landscape history of the Shenandoah Valley in its regional and global context, Hofstra sheds new light on social, economic, political, and intellectual developments that affected both the region and the entire North American Atlantic world.

Paying special attention to the Shenandoah Valley's backcountry frontier culture, Hofstra shows how that culture played a unique role in the territorial struggle between European empires and Native American nations. He weaves together the broad cultural and geographic threads that underlie the story of the valley's place in the early European settlement of eastern North America. He also reveals the distinctive ways in which settlers shaped the valley's geography during the eighteenth century, a pattern that evolved from "discrete open-country neighborhoods" into a complex "town and country settlement" that would come to characterize—and in many ways epitomize—middle America.

An important addition to scholarship of the geography and history of colonial and early America, The Planting of New Virginia, rethinks American history and the evolution of the American landscape in the colonial era.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

A welcome addition to the economic and geographic history of the valley, chronicling the area's transformation from an exchange to a market economy.

Journal of Backcountry Studies

Hofstra's is certain to become the definitive work in the field.

Itinerario: European Journal of Overseas History
That Hofstra has opened up... avenues of research is one of the many reasons this book places us in his debt.

— Alexander B. Haskell

William and Mary Quarterly - Thomas J. Humphrey

A thorough, wide-ranging analysis of the complex issues surrounding the white settlement of the Shenandoah Valley.

Richmond Times-Dispatch - Ann Lloyd Merriman

Historians will welcome a new look at the geography and culture of the Shenandoah Valley... Hofstra furnishes a scholarly appraisal of how those who stopped short of the Gap and settled in the Valley created a 'New Virginia.' Far different from the planters of Tidewater and the Piedmont, these hardy settlers thrived in their own backwoods culture.

Virginia Quarterly Review - Robert G. Parkinson

A fascinating picture of the ways in which 18th-century Virginians crafted, controlled, and imagined their landscapes.

Potomac Appalachian - Katherine Rindt

This is a must read for anyone looking for information on the Shenandoah Valley during the Colonial Period.

American Historical Review - Jack Temple Kirby

Dense and well-argued... Hofstra meticulously matches... rural cultural mentalities with the geology and land covers of the Shenandoah subregion.

Journal of Southern History - Albert H. Tillson Jr.

Persuasively depicts the evolving landscape and society of Virginia's eighteenth-century Shenandoah Valley... Required and pleasurable reading for anyone interested in the development of the early American frontier.

Journal of American History - Marion Nelson Winship

At once masterful synthesis and bold exploration... a history, not just of 'planting new Virginia,' but of planting... new America.

Environmental History - Keir B. Sterling

Hofstra has ably woven together the many strands of the private and business lives of Shenandoah Valley residents during the formative colonial and early national eras... Comprehensive and well-written.

Journal of Social History - Gabrielle M. Lanier

An important contribution to the growing body of literature on the backcountry... The definitive work on the development of the Shenandoah Valley landscape.

Virginia Magazine of History and Biography - A. Glenn Crothers

A masterful analysis of the first century of European settlement in the region... An impressive body of primary research and historical and geographical literature.

Agricultural History - James Edward Scanlon

Hofstra is masterful at digging through individuals' records of accounts to try to discover not only how people lived on a daily basis, but to enter into their mentalité.

Appalachian Heritage - Carter L. Hudgins

The Planting of New Virginia is the product of years of patient, meticulous research and careful historical interpretation. It represents, in fact, a life's work... [It] places settlement in the Shenandoah Valley and the communities, cultural landscapes and commercial networks that sprang from it, in the international context of strategic imperial decisions.

Journal of Backcountry Studies - L. Scott Philyaw

Thoroughly researched... highly recommended for all scholars interested in the early American backcountry, ethnohistory, environmental history, economic history, and community studies.

Journal of Backcountry Studies - Gregory Massey

We need a historian and geographer with the attention to detail and erudition Warren Hofstra demonstrates in his fine book.

Journal of Backcountry Studies - Ellen Holmes Pearson

As is typical of fine scholarship, Hofstra's study opens up a variety of possiblities for further inquiry.

Journal of Cultural Geography - George E. Clark

Hofstra's work is a compelling and vivacious account of the early evolution of the town and country landscape in North America.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History - Turk McCleskey

Hofstra has crafted an exceedingly well-turned analytical narrative of Virginia origins... An essential text in its own right.

Geographical Review - James W. Wilson

The book will become essential reading for anyone interested in frontier studies and lays the foundation for scholars of many stripes to build on in future studies.

Itinerario: European Journal of Overseas History - Alexander B. Haskell

That Hofstra has opened up... avenues of research is one of the many reasons this book places us in his debt.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801874185
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
03/28/2004
Series:
Creating the North American Landscape Series
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.14(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Carter L. Hudgins

The Planting of New Virginia is the product of years of patient, meticulous research and careful historical interpretation. It represents, in fact, a life's work. One of the most important contributions this book makes to the scholarship of colonial America is the success with which Hofstra places settlement in the Shenandoah Valley, and the communities, cultural landscapes and commercial networks that sprang from it, in the international context of strategic imperial decisions. The result is a richly textured history of the Valley in the eighteenth century that balances the aspirations of individual settlers with the broader imperial concerns of British ministers and colonial governors.

Carter L. Hudgins, Hofer Distinguished Professor of Early American Culture and Historic Preservation at Mary Washington College

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