From Library Journal
In 1979, Dyer (history, Univ. of Georgia) discovered a little-known diary by Cyrena Bailey Stone, the Vermont-born wife of a northern businessman and Unionist, who painstakingly recorded events in Civil War Atlanta. Stone's diary, which covers the period from January to July 1864 and is presented verbatim in the book's appendix, depicts a different Atlanta than the one memorialized in Gone with the Wind, one not as unified behind the Confederacy. The book treats not only the precarious existence of the handful of Unionists in Atlanta but also the complexities of Unionism and loyalty as well as how these issues affected Atlantans from all socioeconomic backgrounds and political persuasions. Dyer captures the intricacies of multiple loyalties in the midst of seemingly unified secessionist sentiment. Skillfully written and carefully researched, this book is intended for both scholars and a general audience. Highly recommended.ACharles C. Hay, Eastern Kentucky Univ. Archives, Richmond
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The Civil War can be described as the kudzu vine of American historiography: books about it will grow anywhere, in vast numbers. A new subject well covered is far less common, though, which makes this book noteworthy. Dyer documents one of the more successful groups of Union sympathizers in the allegedly solid South. It was led by Vermonter Cyrena Stone, who had moved to Atlanta in 1854. Despite the city's being virtually under military government, she and her pro-Union cohorts risked their lives to assist the escape of Union prisoners, to protect slaves, and to provide intelligence to Sherman's advancing armies. Dyer is a sufficiently good writer to make the narrative hold even nonscholars' interest, especially since it corrects the portrait of Confederate Atlanta in Gone with the Wind
an aspect that may garner it more attention than the ruck of Civil War books. It is a literate, sound, and original addition to the literature that likely will appeal to a larger than usual band of readers. Roland Green