Divided Houses: Gender and the Civil War

Catherine Clinton, Author, Catherine Clinton, Editor, Nina Silber, Editor Oxford University Press, USA $39.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-19-507407-9
In these 18 essays, historians and other academics examine not just gender and its part in the Civil War, but the effects of race and class too. The oft-discussed ``separate sphere'' of women in that period is shown to have been a ``privilege'' only of upper-class white women, and a close reading of Harriet Beecher Stowe's portrait of Sojourner Truth explains how Stowe's view of Truth as a regal and noble character, even while portraying her as a naive, semiliterate creature, reflected used the expectations of her own upper-class, white, educated social circle. to represent Truth as a regal and noble character, even while portraying her as a naive, semiliterate creature. Most of these essays, though, follow a distinct pattern. The writers take up interesting topics (the role of women spies, changes in divorce patterns following the war) and open them to further exploration by quoting extensively from fascinating primary sources (such as diaries and court records), but then fail to draw meaningful conclusions. An admirably comprehensive bibliography is obviously meant to stimulate further research, and fortunately, as Clinton ( Plantation Mistress ) states in her open-ended discussion of black women's status after the war, ``there is no statute of limitations on historians'' as they set out to uncover and explicate the past. Silber is assistant professor of history at Boston University. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1992
Release date: 12/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-19-508034-6
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