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Bound Away: Virginia and the Westward Movement

4.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0813917740
ISBN-10: 0813917743
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Hackett Fischer is Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University. James C. Kelly is Assistant Director for Museums at the Virginia Historical Society.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press (March 10, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813917743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813917740
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bruce Loveitt on March 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
What an excellent book! The last I knew Fischer was working on a big book concerning plantation life in the south and I assume this is a book that developed out of the research he is doing for that book. This book concerns migration from Britain to Virginia, migration within Virginia and then migration from Virginia to other states. Most of the book deals with the 1700's up until just before the Civil War. I can't do justice to all the interesting information that is in this book during the course of a brief review. The authors explain how people migrated from different parts of Britain and settled in different areas of Virginia. For example, people from Northern England and the Scottish border area tended to settle in southern Virginia. They brought their customs with them which tended to make southern Virginia different from other areas settled by different people. For instance, the Tidewater area was settled by younger sons of the English nobility. These people came over to Virginia because under English law they were not going to inherit estates back home as the first born sons had that right. Different speech patterns developed in different areas as well as different ways of cooking and different forms of architecture, etc. The book also deals extensively with the lives of slaves and the institution of slavery and how the mass migrations out of Virginia involved many, many slaves being taken to other states with their masters or being sold. When the Virginia tobacco based economy began to falter in the late 1700's the sale of slaves to settlers in other states was a great source of income to the white people in Virginia who had fallen on hard times.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading Albion's Seed I was eager to read more about the English folkways. This book expands on that with information about German folkways and African folkways. This books gives a sense the people that expanded westward. There is also a philosophical current about the nature of historial inquiry. He addresses various ideas about frontiers and shows that the process of expansion is not open to one-size-fits all explainations. Though Fischer depricates purely materialist explainations of history, the interplay between the cultural values of the Virginians and the physical limitations of the land is a compelling explaination of the westward expansion.
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Format: Paperback
Fischer wrote _Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America,_ which is one of the best works published in several decades in comparative and local U.S. history, and in many ways this is a continuation of the "Virginia" section of that book. Which is a bit surprising, since the author is a New Englander and previously showed considerable preference for the folkways of Massachusetts over those in the South. Since I have numerous forebears in Virginia, I was particularly interested in the first three chapters: "Migration to Virginia," "Migration in Virginia," and "Migration beyond Virginia." All of those apply to my people and Fischer's coverage of the in-through-and-out process is first-rate. As before, he's an old-fashioned historian, spending a lot of time describing the concrete experiences of particular individuals and families, not spinning out historiographical theory. This is a must-read for anyone interested in Virginia's first couple of centuries.
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As a continuation of the ground-breaking Albion's Seed, this book is a mixed success. On the one hand, it follows the four threads of Albion's Seed (Cavaliers, Puritans, Quakers, Border) from old Virginia to the new frontiers. The demographic information is interesting and sometimes surprising. On the other hand, the book relies too often on biographies of a few Virginians and is very weak in explaining the massive migration to Ohio in the decades before the Civil War. It is much stronger in following Virginians to the south than to the west and upper midwest, even though Ohio was a major resettlement area. I have to wonder whether this is because Virginia migrants were not as culturally dominant when they moved to Ohio and other more northern states - were they absorbed in the Puritan-Quaker flow? My own Virginia ancestors made just such moves - from the frontier into Ohio from 1818 to 1850, and I had hoped to learn more about this flow. Still, Bound Away presents a strong challenge to the Turner thesis that the frontier was the source of American democracy and renewal. It is a worthwhile study of an important subject.
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Format: Hardcover
A fascinating history of migration to, within, and from Virginia, the Old Dominion. The "to" begins with the English colonization at Roanoke (the lost colony) and Jamestown. "Within" is movement of colonists to various parts of the region, including the tidewater, piedmont, southside, northern neck, and "the valley" (Shenandoah). And "from" is the movement of Virginians to all parts of the country, south, north, but mainly west. What happened to Virginia, the most populous and prosperous of states during the early U.S. Republic? Why the decline after four of the first five presidents were Virginians (Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe)? Part of the reason was a great migration west, both northwest and southwest. Why? The land was depleted from generations of farming, and there wasn't enough land for the growing population. But Virginia's emigrants and their descendants had great impacts on other territories and U.S. history: Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton, William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor, Stephen Austin and Sam Houston. The authors use Turner's theory of the frontier as the backdrop for a vivid portrayal of Virginia and U.S. history. One weakness is a section of name-dropping about now unknown families who migrated west. Other than that, a lively story recommended for those interested in Virginia and U.S. history. Plenty of pictures and maps--the book accompanied an exhibit at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond.
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