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Vengeance and Justice: Crime and Punishment in the Nineteenth-Century American South Paperback – December 12, 1985

ISBN-13: 978-0195039887 ISBN-10: 0195039882

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Vengeance and Justice: Crime and Punishment in the Nineteenth-Century American South + Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (December 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195039882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195039887
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A pioneering and stimulating examination of a neglected aspect of southern history and a significant addition to the historiography of crime and punishment in America."--American Historical Review

"A major study that quite clearly is better than anything yet written on the subject."--The Journal of American History

"A distinguished contribution to the venerable debate over the relationship between southerners and the laws."--Reviews in American History

"An excellent and valuable study."--The Journal of Southern History

"This book offers a number of compelling and even original theories....It is also exceptionally well written."--Louisiana History

"An elegantly designed study, original and persuasive."--Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Edward L. Ayers is at University of Virginia.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "typhoid-larry" on July 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
The most important thing to bare in mind while reading this book is that while it builds on "Honor and Violence in the Old South" (a classic) it adds another dimension to the discussion. It throughly examines the origins of Southern violence with an eye to how this lead to a unique justice system in the South. The particulars come together to impact blacks and socialize them to value honor (or respect as it is refered to on the street) as a social imperative. The creation of chain gangs and other devices added to a reformed ( after the Civil war) legal system that helped whites find other methods to control blacks sans the institution of slavery.
Of course this is a scholarly work which makes it a bit dry, but it is never confusing or too hard to follow. There might have been some omissions made because some of it is just too detailed, while the section comparing the justice systems created in the Northern States to their Southern counterparts could have been expanded. These are small gripes as most of this book contains great stuff on the South, sociology of race relations, or how society interacts with "justice".
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