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Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940 (New Directions in Southern Studies) Hardcover – April 30, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0807832547 ISBN-10: 0807832545 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Wood deserves praise for synthesizing the expansive body of scholarship on lynching while offering an insightful cultural analysis of southern white sadism.--North Carolina Historical Review

Insightful. . . . One of the work's greatest strengths is the interplay between local and national contexts. . . . An excellent example of how visual culture and theory can enhance historical research without obscuring the argument. . . . Recommended for historians interested in how race and violence worked together to shape popular culture, and vice versa.--Indiana Magazine of History

Wood's effective contribution refines our understanding of the relationship between lynching and culture. . . . Compelling and insightful. . . . A well-executed book that should be read by all who are interested in the cultural relations of lynching.--Journal of American History

Adds an important chapter to a branch of scholarship that must remain as fluid, and sometimes uncertain, as its subject. . . . Wood, in choosing a ritualized form of violence and a unique set of sources through which to examine it, has made both a wise and creative choice, which has yielded a rich and troubling history.--Southern Cultures

This thoughtful and amply illustrated monograph shows how photography served first to cast atrocity as civility and subsequently undermined the practice of lynching by reconstructing what had become folk custom as, instead, an outrage.--Arkansas Historical Quarterly

Serves as a potent reminder that racial violence was not only condoned but enthusiastically supported by huge numbers of white Americans.--The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

The freshness of approach provides a unique perspective and contributes to several fields of study. . . . Wood thinks clearly, demonstrates an impressive range of research skills, and writes well. . . . Offers the best account to date of the American film industry's disturbingly cozy appropriation of lynching in its early decades. . . . [Wood] provides so much primary source material and interpretive aplomb that her narrative rarely wavers in its originality or self-reliance.--Journal of Southern History

This study incorporates a tremendous amount of information and provides a thorough understanding of lynching as spectacle, which will be of interest to scholars of American religion, the South, and American Studies.--Journal of Southern Religion

This insightful exploration of lynching's cultural power is a groundbreaking addition to a growing body of scholarship focused on racial violence. . . . Essential.--Choice

Wood succeeds admirably. . . . One of the most enlightening studies of lynching produced in recent years.--Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies

Expands our understanding of lynching. . . . Wood's most important contribution is her well-informed discussion of the impact of photography and film on lynching's rise and demise.--Georgia Historical Quarterly

The scholar interested in southern culture will find the book rewarding." --Journal of Mississippi History

[An] insightful study. . . . Her research is impressive, Wood's conclusions are measured and well-documented, and . . . her prose is crisp and clear.--Journal of Illinois History

The public nature of lynching receives heavily researched and imaginative treatment in Wood's readable analysis.--Journal of Interdisciplinary History

Should be required reading for all studying racial violence in the South. . . . Wood is admirably balanced in assessing her evidence and placing it in perspective. . . . In evidence, argument, context, and writing, this is an impressive study that will inspire future scholarship and will offer teachers a rich set of contexts to enliven their discussions of race in the era of lynching.--American Historical Review

An engaging treatment of the 'spectacle of lynching.'--The Alabama Review

[A] thoughtful, well-researched study. . . . Wood has established the centrality of visual media to the formation of racial identities and the perpetuation of a related culture of lynching more cogently and elaborately than any previous writer. . . . Provocative and lucid. . . . A significant contribution to our understanding of race and racial violence in American history.--Southern Quarterly

Review

Lynching and Spectacle is a work of both impressive analysis and serious historical craft that makes a number of important contributions to our understanding of the American South and violence there. Combining attention to place, time, and context with an acute sensitivity to cultural expression, ranging from photography and film to journalism, Wood has written the most mature, finely grained, and insightful study of the culture of lynching available.--W. Fitzhugh Brundage, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (April 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807832545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807832547
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #915,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Mahoney on September 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was assigned _Lynching and Spectacle_ in a History class about 20th century America. It was a very shocking sort of book--not a pleasant read, but a very informative one. The author wove first hand narrative in with her writing very deftly, using newspapers, pamphlets, letters, and the like. The pictures were well placed to emphasize the points she wanted to make.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By mikey535xd on November 13, 2013
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An informative read that will make you sick as the hanging death of people becomes a spectator sport. I knew going in I was going to be really angry about this and I was so right. It has been more than a month since I finished it and the horrific cruelty and lawlesness still makes my blood boil.And many times the "supposed law" were guilty of opening the jail or were complicit in letting this happen. It will make you think.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Buckelew on September 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting approach to the study of lynching. Thought- provoking and well reasoned thesis. The author adds a new dimension to the lynching literature
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