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Refugee Life in the Confederacy Hardcover – January 1, 1964


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press; First Edition edition (1964)
  • ASIN: B00272ETFQ
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,068,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K. Bourn on May 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
When Americans think about war refugees, we typically think of people made homeless due to conflicts fought on foreign soil. We tend to forget about the thousands of southerners driven from their homes during the War Between the States. Mary Elizabeth Massey's "Refugee Life in the Confederacy" describes the experience of southern refugees in fascinating detail.
While diarists provide wonderful detail about their individual lives, and to a certain extent, the lives of others they encountered, Massey's book creates a comprehensive "big picture." Massey makes a key point that one cannot rely on the experiences one or two persons to generalize about the typical refugee experience. "[T]here was no `average' refugee. A person's financial situation, personal contacts, place of refugee, ingenuity, adjustability to changing conditions, and his good fortune or lack of it combined to make each refugee's circumstances distinctive," she notes.
For instance, the ability to find continue one's chosen field of work in a new locale varied greatly depending on profession: Teachers often could make a planned departure to a new school while college professors more often found themselves out of work as their institutions closed. Doctors and herbalists were in high demand wherever they went while lawyers had to resort to a different line of work unless they managed to transport their law library. Some journalists, often targeted by Union forces for publicly airing their views, managed to continue printing from new sites.
Massey's work, originally published in 1964, relies on a wide variety of diaries, letters and other first-hand accounts.
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Inargueably a well researched book. Some feeling of repetition grew as the pages turned, but that seem normal when taking a view of intersecting aspects of a societal collapse. I would have appreciated even more information on the substitutes for imports that developed over the years as the various states came under pressure. Excellent background book overall.
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