The Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889

Overview

The journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, spanning the years from 1848 to 1889, is rare for its treatment of both the Civil War and postbellum years and for its candor and detail in treating these eras. Thomas, who was born to wealth and privilege and reared in the tradition of the southern belle, tells of the hard days of war and the poverty brought on by emancipation and Reconstruction. Her entries illuminate experiences shared with ...
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Overview

The journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, spanning the years from 1848 to 1889, is rare for its treatment of both the Civil War and postbellum years and for its candor and detail in treating these eras. Thomas, who was born to wealth and privilege and reared in the tradition of the southern belle, tells of the hard days of war and the poverty brought on by emancipation and Reconstruction. Her entries illuminate experiences shared with thousands of other southern women.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
An involving and intriguing addition to the personal histories of the period.

Kirkus Reviews

Fascinating.

Publishers Weekly

A rare, continuous picture.

Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, author of Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South

Few diaries by Southern women are as rich as Thomas's account. This is a real Scarlett O'Hara, with grit.

Library Journal

An unusually rich insight into a crucial period of social change.

Maryland Historical Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807818978
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1990
  • Series: Gender and American Culture Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 494
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Nell Irvin Painter is professor of history at Princeton University.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2002

    Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889

    I have given this book back to the friend who loaned it to me. I did not look at the published date. If this book was written before November 22, 1963, I would classify this writing as an unbelievable attempt to surpass all flamboyancy of any tabloid headline; if it was written after the president's assassination, I would call the writing unnerving, at best. This history has all of the emotions of a trashy novel- love, marriage, children, careers, sex, violence, secrets, trust, betrayal, and grief- but the greatest grief here is to think this might have actually happened in our country. The media painted the John Kennedy's as the 'American family' during the presidential campaign, into the presidency, and even after the assassination. If one is to believe any of the accusations disclosed in this history, we have to question if there is any such thing as national or international security. The accusations make me question if there is any ethical morals left, or were they ever present, in this country. If only the walls of the White House could talk- how many political figures have we placed our deepest trust, only to learn they did not deserve this trust. I do not think I will ever view a political campaign, a President, or the White House in the same light. Are we making a mockery of our faith in having the president take the oath of office and placing his hand on the Bible? What will this country come to? Will all of these 'trusted' people eventually be guests on the day-time talk shows? Surely their stories top the stories being aired on these shows daily. It is truly a sad time in America.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2002

    Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889

    A Secret Eye was a huge disappointment. The characters were not as developed and colorful as one might expect. The diary/ journal form became ho-hum after the first few entries. The dragging subjects and subject matter made the 470 pages difficult to wade through. Augusta has always been my home and I did enjoy some of the local history. I am certain a more interesting story could have been told about my hometown.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2000

    A True Steel magnolia

    Gertrude Thomas' journal enables the '21st Century mindset' to experience the '20th Century mind. Mrs Thomas speaks to her journal about concerns and emotions she may not publicly declare. When the war is lost, and the dream broken; as all falls down about her ears, she copes, as everyone must, and goes on, somehow. This journal is a solid insight into the everyday life of the Planter Class in antebellum Georgia and into the mind of the woman who kept that journal. Once finished, I felt as if I had known Mrs. Thomas.

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