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Tennessee Libraries

Book Reviews

Edited by Rebecca Tolley-Stokes, East Tennessee State University

Volume 56 Number 3


Bachelda, F. Lynne. Guide to the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Campbell, Jacqueline Glass. When Sherman Marched North From the Sea: Resistance on the Confederate Home Front.
Carmichael, Peter S. The Last Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and Reunion.
Molloy, Johnny. Best in Tent Camping, Tennessee: A Guide for Car Campers Who Hate RVs, Concrete Slabs, and Loud Portable Stereos.
Feldman, Glenn (editor). Politics and Religion in the White South
Hartzell, John Calvin. Ohio Volunteer: The Childhood & Civil War Memoirs Of Captain John Calvin Hartzell, OVI.
White, Betsy K. Great Road Style: the Decorative Arts Legacy of Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.

Bachelda, F. Lynne. Guide to the Natchez Trace Parkway. Birmingham: Menasha Ridge Press, 2005. 176 pp. ISBN 0-89732-595-8.

Bachelda, a freelance writer and researcher, applies her appreciation of nature to a detailed travel guide of the 444 miles which make up the road between Nashville and Natchez. Although activity can be traced as far back as the Paleo Indian Hunters, it is most famous for the time it served as a primary passageway between 1790 and 1820 for the southwest territory. Indian mounds, a mysterious death, wild turkeys, and plantation ruins represent a sample of the sights which await on this interstate alternative.

By arranging travel interests by milepost, this reference would be a useful companion to those driving, hiking, biking or horseback riding. The introduction offers a general history of the trace as well as prepares visitors for the rules, weather and direction of the trace. Page insets offer further information regarding the people, tribes, and activities that existed in the area. The exo and verso highlight mileposts based on subjects like “The Trace Top Twenty,” “The Old Trace,” “Natural Wonders,” and “Civil War and Other Military History.” One chapter is a chronology of events beginning with Hernando De Soto spending the night in Chickasaw Villages and ends with the opening of the final segment of the Trace near Jackson, Mississippi. Photographs include the Sunken Trace, Emerald Mound, Windsor Ruins, Elvis' birthplace, Stanton Hall, and cypress swamp. Bachelda has also included a bibliography which composed of audio, books, pamphlets and internet sites.

Anyone with an interest in history will appreciate the plethora of resources available for further reading. Appendixes of nearby accommodations, visitor's centers, state parks, and sub-district offices are also included. This would be a great purchase for academic and public libraries. The author's research efforts are to be applauded. The inclusion of bike rentals, non-vehicular campgrounds, and restaurants means that the traveler's every need has been anticipated.

Amy Arnold
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian
Virginia Intermont College

Campbell, Jacqueline Glass. When Sherman Marched North from the Sea: Resistance on the Confederate Home Front. Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2005. 192 pp. ISBN 0-8078-2809-2.

When Sherman Marched North from the Sea: Resistance on the Confederate Home Front is probably a little mistitled. Rather than being a wholistic study of all Confederate actions to counter the Northern invaders, the book is a focused treatment of how Southern women responded to the invasion. The book is more about the “home” than the “home front” and certainly would be better described if it had the word “women” somewhere in the title. Author Jacqueline Glass Campbell claims her work “blends civil war, gender, and military history,” (7) and to some extent it does, but the preponderance of the mixture is unequivocally gender. To that end, Campbell does an excellent job.

Campbell makes a clear distinction between Sherman 's march to the sea and his march north from the sea. She further subdivides the latter to distinguish between Sherman 's operations in South Carolina and North Carolina. This is where Campbell is at her best. Her distinctions are clear and compelling. She wonderfully captures the Confederate patriotism in South Carolina as the birthplace of secession as well as the Federal quest for revenge there for the same reason. Campbell argues that women in South Carolina defended their homes with a pride that amounted to arrogance and evoked their Southern womanhood as a badge of honor that in many ways gave them a unique power against Sherman 's army that even a Confederate soldier would not have had.

Campbell explains a different dynamic in North Carolina where feelings concerning secession were more mixed and the society had felt more burdens throughout the war than the South Carolinians had. The arrival of Sherman 's army in North Carolina helped unite a somewhat fractured society against a common enemy. In many ways this served to revitalize a people that had previously grown war weary.

When Sherman Marched North From the Sea: Resistance on the Confederate Home Front is a revision of Campbell 's doctoral dissertation from Duke University. It retains much of the character of a dissertation with barely 100 pages of text and over 50 pages of endnotes and bibliography.

Campbell 's thesis is that Southern women did not respond passively to Sherman 's invasion but instead faced the enemy with a reinvigorated loyalty to the Confederate cause. It is gender history written in academic form. If the reader is looking for such a treatment he will be well-pleased. If, on the other hand, he expects something broader and less argumentative, he will be left only partially satisfied.

Kevin Dougherty, Instructor
Department of History
University of Southern Mississippi

Carmichael, Peter S. The Last Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and Reunion. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005. 360 pp. ISBN 0-8078-2948-X.

The Last Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and Reunion is a generational study of 121 Virginia men who endeavored to find their place in the political and social climate of mid-nineteenth century Virginia. The “last generation” sobriquet is applied because they were the last generation to grow up with slavery as an institution. The author, Peter S. Carmichael, is an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and has published other books on the Civil War and Virginians.

Through eight chapters the author sets forth a chronological narrative of the maturation of these young Virginians and their struggle to create an identity in a changing environment. As the last generation began the process of personal and political maturation they came to believe that the prior generation was a hindrance to both Virginia 's and their own individual progress. These young Virginians discovered themselves to be powerless against the “old fogies” while they struggled to fulfill their social and economic desires. These struggles led the last generation to embrace Christianity as the way to “revive and revise Virginia character.” By becoming Christian gentlemen the last generation would achieve the ‘proper' manliness as exhibited by their grandfather's generation when Virginia was a leader in the nation.

When war threatened their desired way of life the last generation was eager to fight in order to prove their manliness to their elders and secure a place for themselves in society. Furthermore, they desired to return the state of Virginia to what they believed to be its rightful place as a leader in the nation, as it had been after the Revolutionary War. Unfortunately, 28% of the 121 Virginians in Carmichael 's study did not survive the war.

Most of these young Virginians became second echelon officers in the Army of Northern Virginia where Carmichael found them to be paternalistic and “negotiators in the practical battle to earn nonslaveholder allegiance to the Confederate cause.” The last generation was steadfast in its loyalty to the Confederacy which “comes as no surprise, for members of the last generation with their strong ties to the South's ruling class, had everything to lose – their material and ideological interest in slavery, their ambition for public recognition, their honor, and, most of all, their sense of national identity.”

The final chapter “From Conservative Unionism to Old Fogydom” relates how the idealistic last generation became, in one sense, the sort of men that they had railed against in their youth. Through their youthful struggle to find a place in the political and social landscape of antebellum Virginia and their war experiences was born “the foundation of which Southern ideologues would build their Lost Cause dogma … white Southerners were a truly Christian people who defended a noble way of life against an enemy who ruthlessly waged war on property and civilians.”

Illustrations and maps interspersing the text enrich Carmichael 's narrative. Researchers will gratefully acknowledge the inclusion of an appendix with twelve tables detailing the socio-economic characteristics of the last generation, notes encompassing sixty pages, and a twenty-page bibliography.

The Last Generation is recommended for libraries with an extensive Civil War or Southern History collection.

Livy Simpson
Cataloging/ILL Librarian
Thigpen Library
Volunteer State Community College

Feldman, Glenn (ed.). Politics and Religion in the White South.  Lexington : University of Kentucky Press, 2005. 416pp, Hardcover, ISBN: 0813123631

Politics and Religion in the White South is a collection of thirteen essays from prominent historians and political scientists that explores the connections between race, religion, gender, and politics in the South. The essays are organized chronologically with the first half concentrating on the period from post-Civil War to the Civil Rights Era, exploring the influence of religion on politics in the South. The second half of the book focuses on the period from the 1970s to the present with particular concentration on the rise and influence of the Christian Right's impact on politics in the South. Each essay is well-written, exploratory and dense with notes and references. Scholars and students of southern culture, southern politics, and/or religion will find this book engaging and worthwhile.

Glenn Feldman is associate professor at the Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR) at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. His publications and editorships include From Demagogue to Dixiecrat: Horace Wilkinson and the Politics of Race (1995, University Press of America), Politics, Society and the Klan in Alabama, 1915-1949 (1999, University of Alabama Press ) and Before Brown: Civil Rights and White Backlash in the Modern South (2004, University of Alabama Press ). The introduction, written by Feldman, provides both a general overview of the books purpose and detailed information about the scope and content of each essay. Additionally, the book includes a 19 page index and each essay contains an extensive bibliography.

Politics and Religion in the White South is an excellent, necessary addition to any university or college library. Public libraries too would find this book to be a fine supplement, especially useful to patrons of southern cultural and southern religious development.

Tiffani R. Conner
Reference Librarian & Data Services Coordinator
University of Connecticut

Hartzell, John Calvin. Ohio Volunteer: The Childhood & Civil War Memoirs Of Captain John Calvin Hartzell, OVI. Columbus: Ohio University Press, 2005. 250 pp. ISBN 0821416065.

Ohio Volunteer: The Childhood and Civil War Memoirs of Captain John Calvin Hartzell, OVI began as the memoirs of an Ohio farmer who volunteered for the Union Army during the Civil War. Fifty members of Hartzell's family signed a circular letter to encourage him to write down the story of his life before he died. The amount of detail included in this monograph is remarkable, because while this was a first hand account, it was tempered by the layers of experience and hindsight of nearly four decades. What might have been simply a wealth of primary resource material has become a scholarly document because of Switzer's research; the editor backed up Hartzell's statements with supporting primary source documentation.

The first half of the book dealt with Hartzell's childhood. He discussed how clothes, religion, money, farming, discipline, elder care, and education were managed in mid-nineteenth century rural Ohio. After Hartzell joined the Union Army, the book transitioned into details about training, battles, soldier transportation, foodstuffs, and wartime discipline. Hartzell spent much of his enlistment engaged in the campaigns of the Cumberland Gap region where he participated in the battles of Perryville and Missionary Ridge and the siege of Chattanooga. Hartzell discussed his understanding of why the war began and the reasons middle class men remained in the Union Army even after their enlistment was up. The accounts of major battles from an volunteer soldier's standpoint rather than a general or commander's perspective was a fresh view of the Civil War.

Hartzell gives a lively, often humorous, account of his life. This book is an excellent combination of primary sources and scholarly research. Switzer polishes a wonderful gem with his well-researched explanation of Hartzell's life and how it related to the larger picture of the Civil War. However, considering Switzer only contributed to the monograph through annotated citations, they should have been formatted as footnotes rather than endnotes, allowing the reader to take in both the story and the research at the same time without having to dig for the scholar's work. This would be an excellent book for libraries collecting in this area of history. Those interested in the day to day minutiae of a soldier's life during the Civil War, be they researcher or enthusiast, will find this a satisfying resource.

Crystal Goldman, MLS
Information Literacy Librarian
Lincoln Memorial University
Carnegie-Vincent Library

Molloy, Johnny. Best in Tent Camping, Tennessee: A Guide for Car Campers Who Hate RVs, Concrete Slabs, and Loud Portable Stereos. Birmingham: Menasha Ridge Press, 2005. 184 pp. ISBN 0897326083.

Ever wonder what to do in Tennessee when football season is over? Johnny Molloy has a few suggestions…50 as a matter of fact. From the mountains of East Tennessee to the Mississippi delta area of West Tennessee, the author describes the campgrounds that he would recommend for tent campers who are looking for scenic and quiet settings.

Most of the campgrounds are in state parks, but there are several that are operated by the U.S. Forest Service or the National Park Service.

Johnny Molloy is an outdoor writer based in Tennessee. He has written 25 books based on his extensive experience backpacking and canoe camping throughout the United States. Best in Tent Camping, Tennessee joins other volumes written about Florida, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Wisconsin, West Virginia, the Carolinas, and the Southern Appalachians and Smoky Mountains.

The book is divided by region (West, Middle, and East) with campgrounds arranged alphabetically within the region where they are located. For each campground, Molloy describes the points of interest in the park, the camp sites, and available activites (which can run the gamut from hiking, horseback riding, fishing, swimming, volleyball, and tennis). A box labeled “Key Information” includes the address of the campground, contact information, how sites are assigned, number of sites, amenities at the sites, facilities, fees, parking, elevation, and restrictions concerning pets and alcohol consumption. A second box gives directions to the campground. Each entry includes a map of the campground sites. Molloy also has a rating system that evaluates each campground according to beauty, privacy, spaciousness, quiet, security, and cleanliness. An introduction explains his rating system and encourages readers to call ahead, visit web sites, make reservations if available, and ask questions. The book concludes with two appendixes: “Camping Eqiupment Checklist” and “Sources of Information.”

Best in Tent Camping, Tennessee contains a wealth of useful information for the reader ready to experience an outdoor adventure. With a price tag of $14.95, it is also a bargain. This book is recommended for academic, public, and high school libraries.

Kathy Campbell
Sherrod Library
East Tennessee State University

White, Betsy K. Great Road Style: the Decorative Arts Legacy of Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006. pp. ISBN 0813923522.

By surveying over 2000 handmade objects interspersed throughout Southwestern Virginia and Northeast Tennessee, Betsy White showcases the skill of the artisans operating near the Great Wagon Road prior to the 1940's. Originating from the Great Warrior's Path, an Indian trail which originated in the Great Lakes and ran through Pennsylvania, Maryland and into Virginia, the Great Road would become a primary route for migration westward. As a result of this expansion, settlers provided a market for furniture, pottery, textiles, baskets, guns and metalwork.

Through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Advancement Grant, a team of curators and a field researcher designed a survey known as the Cultural Heritage Project. They consulted the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts for methodology. Using the minute amount of previously published articles, Roddy Moore of the Blue Ridge Institute at Ferrum College; Wallace B. Gusler and Richard Miller of Colonial Williamsburg; Vaughan Webb of the Blue Ridge Institute; Collen Callahan, Curator Emeritus of Costumes and Textiles at the Valentine Richmond History Center; and Marcus King, embarked on the fieldwork that would cover 30,000 miles and 2800 hours. From this original research, the team created a database which housed photographs, slides and data sheets.

Chapters cover furniture, chairs, textiles, pottery, painting and decoration, metalwork, baskets, and musical instruments. Photographs dominate the pages followed by explication of the trade, time period and materials used in the object's creation. Discussion of the artisan's heritage and location allow the reader to follow a potter's development and migration. For example, Charles Decker, a German Immigrant, settled in Pennsylvania and gained employment at the Remmey Pottery Factory in 1857. He would later migrate to Southwest Virginia where he set up a pottery operation. By 1873, the Great Road would grant him further passage into Washington County, Tennessee where he would establish a new business called the Keystone Pottery near the banks of the Nolichucky River. This type of narrative continues with other artisans throughout each chapter. A list of the known workers in each occupation from the 1850 and 1860 census records concludes each chapter. A bibliography and index offer further research and ease of use.

A definite purchase for an academic library and an optional purchase for the public libraries in the areas surveyed. Due to this publication containing original research, it makes an enormous contribution about the history, tradesmen and artists of the area. The only criticism being that Tennessee isn't as equally represented in representation of works.

Amy Arnold
Sherrod Library
East Tennessee State University

Book Review Editor:

Rebecca Tolley-Stokes

East Tennessee State University
Box 70665
Johnson City, TN 37601

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