Topsy-Turvy: How the Civil War Turned the World Upside Down for Southern Children

Anya Jabour, Ivan R. Dee, $28.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-56663-632-2
University of Montana professor Jabour explores the American Civil War through its effects on children, both black and white, from the time before the war to Reconstruction. Jabour's extensive use of journals, diaries, and records of interviews with adults who lived through the war as children enlivens her text considerably. The recollection of a former slave girl's comment to a passing white boy—"Bottom rail on top now!"—is but one example of the power of Jabour's anecdotes. Given the efficacy of these recollections, it‘s unfortunate that Jabour chose not to expand more on the people she includes. Instead, her writing suffers from an overtly academic style with a tendency toward obvious statements such as, "…children's attitudes toward the national conflict were shaped by their families and their identities." While the unique topic is intriguing, and the use of primary sources admirable, the ultimate result is nonetheless disappointing. 28 b&w illustrations. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011
Release date: 09/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-4422-4908-0
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