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South Carolina: A History [Hardcover]

by Walter Edgar
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 1998 1570032556 978-1570032554 1st
In the first comprehensive history of South Carolina published in nearly fifty years, Walter Edgar presents a sweeping chronicle of a state with an illustrious, sometimes infamous, past. He describes in very human terms 475 years of recorded history in the Palmetto State, including the experiences of all South Carolinians-those with roots in Africa and in Europe as well as Native Americans; male and female; rich and poor. In an eminently readable presentation, Edgar uses letters, diaries, and other writings to let voices from the past take part in telling the state's fascinating story. Recounting the period from the first Spanish exploration to the end of the Civil War, Edgar charts South Carolina's rising national and international prominence and its parallel economic ascendancy. He dispels myths about the state's early history-including the notion that the colony was inhabited by a homogeneous white population-and tells how South Carolina developed an agricultural economy that relied heavily on African American slave labor. Edgar examines, among other topics, the impact of the American revolution, Charleston's significance as a metropolis and major seaport, and the state's leadership in the Secession movement. With changes wrought by the Civil War, South Carolina slipped from national prominence into a period marked by economic, social, civil, and political strife. Edgar details the everyday life of blacks and whites during Reconstruction, the state's mixed efforts to join the "New South," and Benjamin Ryan Tillman's rise to power. He also chronicles South Carolina's changing politics in the once-solid South, the state's reawakening after World War II, the casualties and victories of an extended civil rights struggle, and the Palmetto State's present economic, educational, and political challenges.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 716 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of South Carolina Pr; 1st edition (September 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570032556
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570032554
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.3 x 2.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Most controversial state in the Union!?! June 4, 2001
Overall this was an excellent book on what is most likely the most controversial state in the Union...Since the first landing in St. Helena Parish, through the Colonial period and the Civil War era to the flag controversy in the late 1990's, South Carolinians have been different, in almost every way, then the rest of the country. While NC's motto may be 'first in flight', South Carolina's could very well be 'first to fight'. Their instigation of the Revolutionary war and the Civil war, not to mention dozens of other controversial actions on the part of some of our ancestral fire-eaters make this book not just a history every SC-olian should read but one that every American should read as well. Like it or not, SC has played an extremely vital role in the path our country has taken and the culture we have developed. This book attempts to cover this role... While some of the book may bog down, the majority of the chapters are very well researched, flow smoothly, and are extremely interesting. You will find such topics as Colonial life in SC, Antebellum life in SC, SC-olinans in the Revolutionary War, SC-olina's role in starting the Civil War, how SC bucked reconstruction, etc...Overall, if you are a fan of good history then you will enjoy this book. If you are looking for action then try a couple books about SC's role in the fighting of the Civil War...'Kershaw's brigade' and 'the Stuck eagle: South Carolina Infantry in the Civil War'. Enjoy...
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
As an avid amateur historian interested in American History and particularly South Carolina History, I found Edgar's account of the Palmetto State's history to be the definitive reference. Before this book, the subject lacked a comprehensive study from a modern perspective. Edgar is neither a Southern apologist nor a smug social critic. He addresses head-on the sensitive issue of race relations and provides an unbiased review of its impact upon the state's course in history. His objectivity, on that issue as well as many others, is refreshing.
Walter Edgar has packed an amazing collection of facts and analysis into his work and presents it in a very readable and engaging style. The book is a well-researched, scholarly masterpiece. Just as importantly, though, it is also an entertaining manuscript full of stories about South Carolina characters and events. If you have only one book about South Carolina on your book shelf, it should be this one.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book. January 6, 1999
By A Customer
This book is wonderful! It tells the overall story of South Carolina and includes all of the people in the state. I loved the way he included the small towns throughout his book. Charleston and Columbia are important in understanding our states history but everything in South Carolinas' past didn't just take place in this two cities. This book is easy to read and gives a clear understanding of the important role that South Carolina has played in the building of the history of our great nation. This book explains why South Carolinians took the positions that they did and how. All walks of life are reading this book. This book has gotten the young and old asking questions about their families history in South Carolina. This is the best book since Wallace! Working in a museum in South Carolina I know first hand the positive impact that this book has had on our state. I find this book most refreshing. I think it is interesting that the author grew up in Alabama, and has returned to his South Carolina ancestral roots to marry,teach, study, and write. Edgar understands the heart and soul of South Carolina, making him forever a South Carolinian. God Bless Dr. Edgar for sharing his wisdom, knowledge, and time spent writing this outstanding book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any South Carolina resident April 19, 2001
As a resident of SC for nearly twenty-five years, I was delighted to find a readable, comprehensive history of our state! Dr. Edgar does a wonderful job of inter-weaving the various aspects of SC history into a fine tapestry; he relates economic conditions to religious culture to the political climate to family life to economic conditions... Of special interest to me were the chapters dealing with the political and economic development (or lack thereof) during the years immediately following the Civil War through the turn of the twentieth century. (In fact, this time period would make a great movie!) Kudos to Dr. Edgar for a worthwhile 700+ pages of my time!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful treatment of a complex history. January 7, 1999
By A Customer
Erudite, judicious, and impeccably researched, Walter Edgar's history of South Carolina is certain to become a classic in southern historical writing. His breadth is simply outstanding. No subject escapes his keen scrutiny, no constituency eludes his steady eye. Edgar recovers the histories of men and women, slave and free, black and white with consummate skill and eloquence. More than simply comprehensive, Edgar's book bears the hallmark of a thoughtful historian whose mature, sensitive historical treatment demands respect and admiration. Edgar weaves the history of South Carolina's diversity into a compelling meta-narrative by demonstrating how the region sought order and harmony even as it delimited who could and could not participate in that process. Put simply, this is an outstanding book that will reward those who read it with the care that it patently deserves.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very best state histories.
Walter Edgar is to South Carolina what Kevin Starr is to California. He is the official keeper of the state's long history, and its primary chronicler. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Jon L. Albee
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST OWN if you are a born and raised South Carolinian
Top shelf quality, I would highly recommend. You won't be disappointed. I am totally satisfied with the purchase. Thank You.
Published 1 month ago by Lucas M Shumpert
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love This Book
I hate to put this book down. It is just a wonderfully written piece of reading material. If you want to learn about the history of South Carolina this is the book to purchase.
Published 1 month ago by History_Teacher
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING HISTORY!
Having recently moved to SC, I purchased this for my husband's Christmas gift. It is a wonderful compilation of the State's history!
Published 2 months ago by carolynne
HAVE NOT read this book. Dr. Edgar is THE authority of the history of this state that has gone from colony to state, to secession and reconstruction and back to statehood. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ld Sanders
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Have
Walter Edgar is a fascinating person himself, a diligent researchern and an excellent write. This is a big book, a collector'smitem and a great read.
Published 14 months ago by Gary L. Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Very nice book with beautiful pictures. I saw this book in a gift shop in Charleston, SC; scanned it and found it on Amazon much cheaper!!
Published 14 months ago by Sharon L. Varner
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome
great book for any SC book collector we have truely enjoyed this book as a family and visiting many towns in SC.
Published 15 months ago by Frances P. Foster
5.0 out of 5 stars Great one-volume history of our beloved state.
I learned a lot about my beloved state, reading this book. Professor Edgar taught history at the University of South Carolina, so he is an expert.
Our state is unique. Read more
Published 22 months ago by James O. Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully comprehensive and readable
I checked this book out for research and now I'm thinking I need to have my own copy. Such wonderful detail on so many different topics! Read more
Published on March 4, 2006 by Rose Green
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