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Tainted Breeze: The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas, 1862 (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War) Paperback – August 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War
  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press (August 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080712219X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807122198
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard B. McCaslin (M.A. at LSU, Ph.D. at UT-Austin), a professor of history at the University of North Texas, is the author of _Tainted Breeze: The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas, October 1862_, which won the Tullis Prize of the Texas State Historical Association and a commendation from the American Association for State and Local History. He has also written _Lee in the Shadow of Washington_, which was nominated for a Pulitzer and won the Slatten Award and the Laney Prize. His other works include three volumes in the Portraits of Conflict series published by the University of Arkansas--on South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee (won Douglas Southall Freeman award)--as well as _The Last Stronghold: The Campaign for Fort Fisher_. His _At the Heart of Texas: One Hundred Years of the Texas State Historical Association, 1897-1997_ won the Award of Merit from the Texas Philosophical Society. He published an annotated edition of Joseph B. Polley's _A Soldier's Letters to Charming Nellie_, and his most recent book is _Fighting Stock: John S. "Rip" Ford of Texas_, which won the Pate Award. For his work, McCaslin is listed in Who's Who in America, and he's an elected Fellow of the Texas State Historical Association. He currently chairs the Department of History at UNT.

Customer Reviews

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See all 13 customer reviews
Very sad... Well written..all factual..high recommend this book.
Old movies rock
The reader will see that it can happen here -- that it did happen here -- it was done by Americans to Americans.
James E. Brown, Jr.
Mr. McCaslin does an outstanding job portraying both sides without condoning the actions of either.
Dan C. Boutwell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Lemuel A. Waggoner on April 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I was a young boy growing up in Oklahoma, I was told of my great-great grandfather being hung in Texas during the Civil War. I never knew much about the circumstances surrounding the event other than that, except that his name was Nathaniel Miles Clark, and that I was named for one of his sons, James Lemuel.
While looking up ancestors, I came across Mr. McCaslin's historical account about a mass hanging in Gainesville Texas in 1862. Believing that this could be an account of the event about which I had been told, I ordered the book, and read it through in one day. It was a most enlightening account.
Since then I have read accounts from other sources of the same events, but Mr. McCaslin's well documented study is the most complete and impartial account that I have read of the entire episode. Mr. McCaslin does much to reduce the historical obscurity of the circumstances surrounding the Great Gainesville Hangings, especially to the descendants of the victims of that episode, which by now must be a great number of people.
I would like to see a movie made based on this event.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dan C. Boutwell on April 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Mr. McCaslin has opened the murky pages of the past with this outstanding accounting of the Hanging at Gainesville. Even today there are strong feelings on both sides regarding the right or wrong of the situation, although, there can never be any doubt that the system broke down badly. It is a image of controlled and ordered hysteria. I have no doubt that the Southern sympathizers felt justified in their actions. I also have no doubt that their actions was an abuse of power, regardless of how justified they felt.

His book has helped me reconstruct the events in the life of my ancestor, Alexander Boutwell, who was the executioner at the majority of the hangings.

Mr. McCaslin does an outstanding job portraying both sides without condoning the actions of either. His book, which is dog-eared and full of notes, holds a welcome spot in my library.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jim Schmidt on May 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
I read this book as part of some background reading on Unionist dissent and Confederate disaffection in Texas during the Civil War era. I was only somewhat familiar with the Gainesville incident. If this book were just about that incident, it would be well worth the price. But the book is about SO MUCH more than that and that is what makes it all the more interesting and important. The scholarship is outstanding and the writing is lively...readers will learn about the Gainesville hanging, to be sure, but also about the history and "rubrics" - such as they are - of vigilantism...while more than 40 people were tragically murdered at Gainesville, it was amazing to read of hundreds more killed in lynchings in the years that followed and the completed lack of justice in bringing the people responsible for the Gainesville hangings to account, which was the most interesting - and maddening - part of the story. I do wish he would have addressed the situation in other parts of Texas, but that's just me. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nan-Rie on September 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This wonderful book gave so much information about the Civil War era in Texas as well as being informative about an incident which has very little written knowledge of. It was particularly interesting to me as one of the characters of this book was an ancestor of mine.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James E. Brown, Jr. on February 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I must give this book 5 stars, not for the skill of the author nor for my like of the horrible true story it tells, but because it brings to us a largely unknown story which disgraces the state of Texas, if not our whole country. Anyone who believes that Auschwitz did not happen, that it could not have happened, needs to read of the vigilante justice by state militias in Texas during the Civil War and Reconstruction -- judicially-approved murder after Texas secession from the union. The reader will see that it can happen here -- that it did happen here -- it was done by Americans to Americans.

Having complimented the author for bringing this story forward, I must criticize his easy treatment of the perpetrators of these many murders. One is left with the impression that "Well, that is the way it was in Texas; it was not shocking, given the time and place." At the same time one must criticize the representatives of the federal government in Texas during Reconstruction, who placed the perpetrators of these murders in positions of authority in the new state of Texas. Their investigation of their own murderous acts was ludicrous, if not nonexistent.

But, on the other hand, one who knows Texas knows that something like this could indeed happen in Texas and elsewhere in the United States. I am a 4th generation Texan, and I am both shocked and ashamed that I have met people like those whose horrible acts of murder are related in this book. Racism and both neoconservative and religious extremism are rampant in parts of Texas. Our current governor himself has threatened to once again secede from the union. At last count 125,746 Texans recently signed an online petition calling for the national administration to allow Texas to secede from the United States.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Goodwin on June 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My great-great grandfather and his little brother narrowly escaped being hanged during this period of time. They lived with their families in Sherman, Texas. If it hadn't been for my great-great grandmother telling a believable lie to the man in charge of the hanging I wouldn't be writing this review. For me, Tainted Breeze puts real emotion into the family story, where before it was just an interesting tale. The terror experienced by the families attempting to escape, and the horror of those that didn't is effectively brought to life by Mr. McCaslin. I understand now why my great-great grandfather's little brother immediately enlisted in the Union Army upon reaching home in Missouri.
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