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Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War (Vintage Civil War Library) Paperback – November 3, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
It's simple. Saving Savannah is brilliant. I can't remember the last time I read a book that was at once exciting and compelling and also deeply intelligent and thoughtful. The stories stand alone for their entertainment value - you'll get into it no matter who you are. The complex issues of race and politics really got me thinking, so I think this book will appeal to even the most discerning of intellectual readers. Personally, I devour books on the civil war; it's fascinating to read the individuals stories and think about the nuances. This really added something new to the story for me. And thats hard to do.
I felt compelled to write something because I so enjoyed this book. It might just change the way you think about the civil war, or slavery, or how communities rise and fall, or our nation on a broder level. I'd put this on a list of must-reads for american history.
It's very Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Better, in my opinion!
The book begins with a fairly extensive survey of slavery in general and the rice culture in particular, on the eve of the Civil War, describes the effects of the war on Savannah, then addresses the post war struggle between whites and blacks for both political and economic power, which ultimately ended with newly freed slaves politically disenfranchised and economically disadvantaged until the 1960s.
The book was illuminating in a number of ways, first I had no idea that McIntosh County and the county seat, Darien, were black political strongholds until well into the 1890s. I also had no idea of the pre-War wealth of Liberty County. According to the 1850 census, Liberty was one of the wealthiest counties in Georgia. I was also fascinated to see so many familiar family names in the book. I grew up in Liberty County and went to middle and high school with kids named Walthour, Varnedoe, Jones and Gaulden, all family names that figure prominently in the book.
The book does have a few problems. First is lack of a coherent narrative. This is more of a writing style issue than anything else. While the author does a good job of laying out the facts, she is a bit short in synthesizing the overall narrative or story arc from them. This would have been a much better book had she started each chapter with a thesis or generalized summary, then used her facts and anecdotes to support the thesis or illustrate the summary. Of course the reader can do all this from himself, but it makes for a heavy slog of a read.Read more ›
The diligently written but unforgettable book, Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War, is about a misguided people who criminalized their very existence by brutalizing African American slaves right here in our own United States where "all men are created equal." The shackling irony of this immoral "in God we trust" behavior went wasted by a population that covered a huge territory, namely the residents of the counties of Georgia and the immediate environs of Savannah itself.
Believing that black Africans were not truly humans, the superior whites treated them much like they'd treat the horse, the donkey, or the mule used to tend their plantations. Since slave labor was cheap compared to labor in the industrialized North, plantation owners thrived. To ensure ongoing wealth, they taught their children, often by horrendous example, how to keep slaves disenfranchised and in their place.
In 1854, Savannah was dying because of an outbreak of yellow fever. Strangely enough, many blacks seemed immune to the mosquito carrying disease. Author Jacqueline Jones mentions that the very trait which made West African groups highly vulnerable to sickle-cell anemia seemed to protect these peoples from malaria and yellow fever.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was going on a trip and wanted some background information. But this was more than I wanted. More for someone who has a big interest in Savannah and the Civil War. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Sue Cleereman
This isn't an amateurish history book; it's a rich, engaging, eloquent, thoroughly researched book. Deeply fascinating for serious history buffs.Published on August 10, 2013 by TE02138
I found that the book had too many details and not an easy reading book. I was expecting a book about Savannah to be an easy, reading novel. Read morePublished on January 17, 2011 by Jim
This book should be a must read in all American History classes. Such detailed research and analysis. The professor writes well and knows the details.Published on May 25, 2010 by Heidi H. Varblow
This is a very tedious book. Good non fiction will keep one engaged, this one will make the reader glaze over with boredom.Published on November 10, 2009 by sallyport