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The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies Paperback – August 1, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bynum (Unruly Women: The Politics of Social and Sexual Control in the Old South), a historian at Texas State University, offers an analysis of home front schisms in three Confederate regions: Big Thicket in eastern Texas, Piedmont North Carolina's Quaker Belt, and the counties in Mississippi's Piney Woods known as the Free State of Jones. Geographically and culturally isolated, they were largely populated by nonslaveholding subsistence farmers whose relationships with slaves and free blacks often generated a lively interracial subculture and even interracial family networks. Conscription policies favoring planters and manufacturers, together with food requisitions and taxes collected in kind by force, contributed to a sense of rich man's war, poor man's fight that made civilian-supported desertion and draft-evasion endemic. Defiance escalated to insurgency; Bynum quotes one unrepentant de facto Unionist: we fought [Confederates] like dogs, and we buried them like asses.... The collapse of Reconstruction left these dissenters marginalized by a race-based legal system and a lost cause mythology. Bynum highlights the solid South as a construction and even more successfully presents the importance of kinship, community, and place in sustaining resistance to oppression. 9 illus., 1 map. (Apr. 15)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Bynum's emphasis on individual characters makes this story come alive. . . .The Long Shadow of the Civil War is a fascinating account of southern Unionist activity and fills a large hole in Civil War historiography." --The Journal of Southern History



Sophisticated, multi-layered analysis of class relations. . . .An intriguing narrative about small, local bands of citizens who believed in the Union and strove to counter Confederates, white supremacists, and other southern conservatives.--Civil War Monitor



A masterful community study. . . . Based on exhaustive and innovative research. . . . [That] brilliantly demonstrates that common men and women, yeoman farmers, poor whites, slaves, and freedpeople left their stories behind for historians to excavate.--Arkansas Historical Quarterly



Historians wishing to pursue such comparisons and questions will find great value in Bynum's careful research.--Journal of the Civil War Era



Supported by impressive research and crafted to enlighten rather than celebrate or condemn, this book offers a penetrating portrait of the dissenters and their world. A strong addition to upper-level Civil War collections, it will also serve as a lively read for the general public. . . . Highly recommended.--Choice



Bynum highlights the 'solid South' as a construction and even more successfully presents the importance of 'kinship, community, and place' in sustaining resistance to oppression.--Publishers Weekly



The bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth has come and gone, and with it a flood of books about the sixteenth president. But the sesquicentennial of the Civil War now looms on the horizon, promising its own deluge of books of every size, shape and description. We will be fortunate indeed if in sheer originality and insight they measure up to . . . The Long Shadow of the Civil War, [a] new work by . . . Victoria Bynum . . . on the Confederate experience.--Eric Foner, The Nation



Bynum maps a road that few took, but the evocative stories of these families demand notice.--Virginia Quarterly Review



This volume offers insights into the complexities of southern dissent, gender roles, race relations, and the influences that shaped memories.--Southwestern Historical Quarterly



Bynum has plunged deeply into the primary sources on these interesting individuals, family groups, and local communities. . . . Valuable . . . because it proves that dissent was not rare and insignificant.--H-Civil War



A solid contribution….an engagingly written exposition of buried and contested histories….Bynum has done a great service to Southern history." --Southern Historian



Fascinating. . . . Bynum demonstrates an impressive, intricate knowledge of the case. . . . The book is an interesting read and opens up avenues for scholars who wish to trace kinship migrations throughout the South and the cultural linkages those migrations may have established.--The Review of Politics



An interesting read and opens up avenues for scholars who wish to trace kinship migrations throughout the South and the cultural linkages those migrations may have established.--The Review of Politics



[This book] ranks among the most innovative in its methods and its findings….[Bynum] is to be commended for her sheer doggedness as a researcher and her creative use of methods and sources.--The Journal of American History



Offers vivid examples of the different Souths that fought, endured, and remembered the war.--North Carolina Historical Review



Those who enjoy the study of Reconstruction social and political battles as much or more than the military conflicts of the Civil War will find a wealth of material here for further study. . . . [Bynum's] engaging writing style will no doubt interest many readers of her book as well.--TOCWOC



The book is an interesting read and opens up avenues for scholars who wish to trace kinship migrations throughout the South.--The Review of Politics

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; Reprint edition (August 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1469609878
  • ISBN-13: 978-1469609874
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Payne on May 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I hesitated about submitting a review for "Long Shadow of the Civil War" since I provided some research and comments to the author and am mentioned in the acknowlegements. With that as a caveat, I am posting a review by Paul Escott of Wake Forest University as originally published on H-Net. I feel it provides a very balanced and insightful overview of the work:

Reviewed by Paul Escott (Wake Forest University)
Published on H-CivWar (May, 2010)
Commissioned by Matthew E. Mason

"Few histories," writes Victoria Bynum, "are buried faster or deeper than those of political and social dissenters" (p. 148). The Long Shadow of the Civil War disinters a number of remarkable dissenters in North Carolina, Mississippi, and Texas. It introduces the reader to stubbornly independent and courageous Southerners in the North Carolina Piedmont, the Mississippi Piney Woods, and the Big Thicket region around Hardin County, Texas. These individuals and family groups were willing to challenge their society's coercive social conventions on race, class, and gender. They resisted the established powers when dissent was not only unpopular but dangerous-during the Civil War and the following decades of white supremacy and repressive dominance by the Democratic Party. Their histories remind us of two important truths: that the South was never as monolithic as its rulers and many followers tried to make it; and that human beings, though generally dependent on social approval and acceptance by their peers, are capable of courageous, independent, dissenting lives.

Bynum begins by focusing on the fierce, armed resistance to Confederate authority that developed in the North Carolina Piedmont, in Mississippi's "Free State of Jones," and in Texas' Big Thicket counties.
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Victoria Bynum is an uncompromisingly honest historian who has spent twenty-five years researching Civil War dissenters and their descendants in North Carolina (Quaker Belt), Mississippi (the Free State of Jones), and Texas (the Big Thicket jayhawkers). In The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies, with a sharp historian's eye, a novelist's sensibility, and a deep commitment to the people she studies, she tells the story of the dissenters' local wars within the Big War and, using archival research and interviews, traces the influence of that crisis-ridden time down the generations.
Bynum has an eye for the detail that brings history to life: the backyards that "ran with blood," dissenters serving pie to Yankee soldiers, starving women stealing flour, poverty-stricken Martha Sheets calling the rich slave-holding sheriff a "nasty old whelp." Placing the individual in the context of a time is not easy. Bynum is a master at this. She knows how to analyze motives and emotions of the long dead without resorting to the kind of psychological analysis that does violence to an accurate picture of past time.
Bynum challenges the myth of the "Solid South." Dissenters included evaders and deserters and civilians who were against the war; they were black, white, and multi-racial. This is a war that is not just about battlefields where Yankees fought Confederates, but communities where southerner fought southerner for food as well as for principle - wars within the Big War. The dissenters' stories are quite different - different according to individual temperaments, the groups they belonged to, and the situations in which their actions were embedded.
This is also a story of the complexity of race relations in the South of the Civil War and after.
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Format: Hardcover
I so appreciate the task that Bynum undertook with the research necessary to put this story together. The enlightenment about the social climate of the South during and after the Civil War told in stories about real people has sparked my interest. I wanted to find out more about this time in the history of our country that I now see has been hugely misrepresented by the education system. It seems that over the last 150 years changing political platforms and religious doctrines reinforced by prejudice and private agendas have served to dictate the social stigmas attached to the end of slavery in this country. The racial issues created and how they were addressed have been the excuse to bury and distort the history of our country during and after the Civil War. To learn the South was not a united front for Secession - what an eye opener this book is!
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I found this book very interesting, particularly the information about women in Randolph County NC where my family is from. While I was aware this county had been reluctant to join the fighting and that as a Quaker stronghold it had been supportive of abolition and the UGRR, I was not aware of the strong feminist anti-war activity. This was a wonderful piece of information to learn and will spur me to research other similar stories in the area. [Margo Lee Williams, author: Miles Lassiter (circa 1777-1850) an Early African American Quaker from Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Backintyme: 2011).]
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`The Long Shadow of the Civil War'. What a treat! But only if one enjoys great story telling......The subtitle of this book provides a big clue. `Southern dissent and it's legacies". And dissent they did. All the way into the 20th Century. Vikki is one great myth buster. Perhaps it has something to do with her willingness to pore over thousands of old documents and then sort out fact from fiction. Even a review of her bibliography makes for interesting reading.

Vikki is my kind of historian. A wordsmith who can also tell a great story. And yes, also a very sad story. Who can read any details about the Civil War and not be moved by the needless suffering and deaths that went on and on and on. Still, this is our collective American history. And regardless of age, we need to know these facts. Socialists in TX early 20th century? Who knew? Want enlightenment? This is the book to read!

A treat listening to Dr G and his Mud Cats as I type away on this blog.

Vikky Anders in San Diego
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