What Caused the Civil War?: Reflections on the South and Southern History

What Caused the Civil War?: Reflections on the South and Southern History

by Edward L. Ayers
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

“An extremely good writer, [Ayers] is well worth reading . . . on the South and Southern history.”—Stephen Sears, Boston Globe
The Southern past has proven to be fertile ground for great works of history. Peculiarities of tragic proportions—a system of slavery flourishing in a land of freedom, secession and Civil War tearing at a federal

…  See more details below

Overview

“An extremely good writer, [Ayers] is well worth reading . . . on the South and Southern history.”—Stephen Sears, Boston Globe
The Southern past has proven to be fertile ground for great works of history. Peculiarities of tragic proportions—a system of slavery flourishing in a land of freedom, secession and Civil War tearing at a federal Union, deep poverty persisting in a nation of fast-paced development—have fed the imaginations of some of our most accomplished historians.
Foremost in their ranks today is Edward L. Ayers, author of the award-winning and ongoing study of the Civil War in the heart of America, the Valley of the Shadow Project. In wide-ranging essays on the Civil War, the New South, and the twentieth-century South, Ayers turns over the rich soil of Southern life to explore the sources of the nation's and his own history. The title essay, original here, distills his vast research and offers a fresh perspective on the nation's central historical event.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bancroft Prize winner Ayers (In the Presence of Mine Enemies) offers a unique collection of deeply compelling and at times deeply personal essays in which he ponders the South, Southern identity and culture. In fact, only one of these essays deals head-on with the book's title question. In this paper, Ayers makes clear that no one neat answer-economics, the peculiar institution of slavery, or states rights-will do. A subtle combination of all these factors plus regional pride, agrarian idealism and a strong dose of Jeffersonian suspicion of federalism created the schism that led to the Civil War. Other essays take on such topics as Southern wannabes in Northern industrial centers, Reconstruction, a modern definition of the South and the "New South." Several key points run through these essays. Intent on creating a historiography with contemporary value, Ayers insists (with some reason) that the culture-both white and black-of the South has telegraphed itself in vital ways across the national landscape, pervading our roadsides, television screens, radio airwaves and computers. Southern rock is a dominant force: Elvis rules. So do Nascar, John Grisham and Civil War reenactment games for Macintosh and PC computers. Ayers, the spiritual and intellectual heir of C. Vann Woodward, takes in all of this engagingly and eloquently. (June 20) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Bancroft Prize winner Ayers takes time off from his "Valley of the Shadow" project on the Civil War to consider the South's history-and his history as a Southerner. With a three-city tour. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393328530
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
08/17/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,217,457
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Edward L. Ayers is President of the University of Richmond and Professor of History. His book, In the Presence of Mine Enemies, won the Bancroft Prize in 2004.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >