Saturday, July 27, 2013

John Barr reviews, "The Fall of the House of Dixie," by Bruce Levine for "Civil War Book Review"

Professor John Barr's book review of "The Fall of the House of Dixie," by Bruce Levine for Civil War Book Review is online at:

An extract from the review:
Levine’s account begins by delineating the characteristics of the House of Dixie, one of magnificent wealth, political power, and social influence, all based upon cruelly exploiting the labor of millions of enslaved African Americas. His description of the antebellum South is especially clear that, at least from the perspective of those who owned other human beings, “slaveholding was not simply an economic necessity,” but also “the unique basis of the particular outlook, assumptions, norms, habits, and relationships to which masters as a social class had become deeply and reflexively attached. It defined their privileges and shaped their culture, their religion, and even their personalities.” The first two chapters disprove the all too prevalent claims of those in American culture who hold that slavery was not, as Abraham Lincoln said in 1865, “somehow, the cause of the war.” American slaveholders were so devoted their peculiarly profitable institution and its associated status that they chose to fight to preserve it once Lincoln and the anti-slavery Republican Party won the 1860 presidential election. In establishing the dominant power of the white master class, indeed of all whites, over the relative societal weakness of blacks, slave or free, in the antebellum South, and how the fighting overturned this social order, Levine assists the reader in understanding more clearly the revolutionary nature of the American Civil War.

John Barr is the author of a soon to be published book by LSU Press, "Loathing Lincoln: An American Tradition from the Civil War to the Present," which covers the history of Lincoln hater's in America.(Spring 2014.)

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