The Expansion of Everyday Life, 1860-1876

Daniel E. Sutherland, Author HarperCollins Publishers $21.95 (290p) ISBN 978-0-06-016023-4
The period encompassing the Civil War, Reconstruction, Western expansion, foreign migration and the shift in U.S. population centers from rural to urban areas was also a time of extensive industrial and social development, records Sutherland, professor of history at McNeese State University in Louisiana. Yet, as this excellent third volume of the Everyday Life in America series illustrates, most people, though affected by the major upheavals of history, simply pursued their personal lives. Sutherland chronicles dating and marriage customs, the dangers and discomforts of mining and life in the gambling dens, saloons, dance halls and ``cathouses'' of the period. Living conditions of soldiers on both sides in the Civil War are portrayed vividly, as are the necessities of life on the home front--dwellings from town houses to prairie dugouts; food; clothing; and the characteristic work and play of American families. The author also details the experiences of industrial and agricultural laborers (including children), professionals and merchants and the roles assumed by church and school in urban, rural and immigrant communities. Culminating with a description of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, this lively study should inspire renewed interest in the social history of the U.S. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
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