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Customer Review

on August 1, 2000
Progressing from his study of slaveholding in Western North Carolina (Mountain Masters) and other explorations of Southern Appalachian History, John Inscoe has teamed up with Gordon B. McKinney, the editor of the microfilm version of the Zebulon B. Vance Papers and author of Southern Mountain Republicans to produce the first scholarly synthesis of the Civil War in Western North Carolina. The book breaks new ground in relying on the scholarship of the past twenty years to revise the portrait of a part of North Carolina that was considered to be staunchly Unionist. It explores mountaineers attitudes toward slavery, secession, and the war in general in very broad strokes; these insights are fleshed out with details from specific locales. From the historian's point of view, the authors have not met the rigorous burden of proof in many cases, choosing to base their conclusions on just one or two primary sources; in some cases, they are forced to draw from examples outside of the region (such as Tennessee) which would fail to satisfy the most demanding of those who want conclusive evidence. However, the book is a wonderful tale and in many cases shows the myriad of responses to what has been described as the most influential historical event in United States History.
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