A Year in the South

Jeanette

There's no way I could give this other than a 5. The research, the sources, the first person diary narrative connected, and the organizational skill to the material exposed was masterful.

We have 4 different Southern USA individuals recording their daily movements and living arrangements for the entire year of 1865, divided into four three month increments. So you read the history of each individual for each season of the year. After 1865 has ended the author gives biography synopsis for the rema

There's no way I could give this other than a 5. The research, the sources, the first person diary narrative connected, and the organizational skill to the material exposed was masterful.We have 4 different Southern USA individuals recording their daily movements and living arrangements for the entire year of 1865, divided into four three month increments. So you read the history of each individual for each season of the year. After 1865 has ended the author gives biography synopsis for the remaining years of their lives.This puts the picture for the defeated Southern USA states into realistic focus. How periods of near anarchy, mixed and revenge seeking loyalties, pure chance, and absolutely dire physical and mental states for provisions proceeded to play out in the year of the Civil War's ending. Really these people had no true measure of a semi-steady "now" until 1867 or 1868. It wasn't just the movement to new locations, but the possible choices to chance and further tragedy that centered this time in the defeated states. Infection, starvation, injury, isolation to any acceptance or supports- haggard and horrid memory compiled! New self-identity often at the core. Death of loved ones and no hope for knowledge to "what's next" follow consistently, even to the "faithful" in God seeking.It's a book I highly recommend. It will help you understand some of the legacies still existing and much of the long lasting connotations of immense mistrust. ...more

Myles

Writing history for a broad audience can be difficult, but is never impossible. Steven Ash uses a creative approach to tackle the end of the Civil War with A Year in the South 1865. He acknowledges in the preface that he forfeits any claim of comprehensiveness in focusing on only four Southern individuals, but he gains a lot in narrative. In his choice of subjects: a slave, Louis Hughes; a Confederate widow, Cornelia McDonald; a middle-aged minister and son of a planter, Samuel Agnew; and a refo Writing history for a broad audience can be difficult, but is never impossible. Steven Ash uses a creative approach to tackle the end of the Civil War with A Year in the South 1865. He acknowledges in the preface that he forfeits any claim of comprehensiveness in focusing on only four Southern individuals, but he gains a lot in narrative. In his choice of subjects: a slave, Louis Hughes; a Confederate widow, Cornelia McDonald; a middle-aged minister and son of a planter, Samuel Agnew; and a reformed soldier, John Robertson (who coincidentally has never had his memoir published or made available online); Ash makes a good case for that balance of bredth and depth without sacrificing the personal connection of history.

I'd read this before for a class and reread a Northerner's memoir fairly recently, but this was still fresh and engaging. Ash goes season by season, relating how circumstances and outside events influence the lives of his subjects through their own words as well as outside data from the public record or from the lives of their acquaintences and neighbors. Because Ash made it clear from the outset what he intended to accomplish with his limited scope it was simple to enjoy the relaxed pace of the narrative, the personal details of their lives and the casual reconstruction of daily life and reactions-of-the-moment. There is a lot out there for Civil War reading, but seldom are they light and informative. This is a book that allows one to really connect with ordinary people who lived through some harsh times in a creative fashion without having to suffer either the white-washing or lurid exaggeration of most historical fiction.

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Lucy

Excellent first hand historical accounts.

Christopher Walls

Quick read and a good look and ordinary folks during the American Civil War.

Remington Krueger

The book was not written about a subject that I am overly interested in. That being said, the style of the book was very unique. I have not encountered a book that has taken this approach to recounting history through four perspectives season by season. The book provides a glimpse of four very different walks of life in the immediate postbellum period. The pov are that of a successful slave, a high class woman who is relegated to poverty, a confederate soldier turned religious scholar, and a min The book was not written about a subject that I am overly interested in. That being said, the style of the book was very unique. I have not encountered a book that has taken this approach to recounting history through four perspectives season by season. The book provides a glimpse of four very different walks of life in the immediate postbellum period. The pov are that of a successful slave, a high class woman who is relegated to poverty, a confederate soldier turned religious scholar, and a minister who avoided war.

I

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would suggest this book to anyone with a burgeoning interest in the South during the civil war. I gave it an extra star for its unique style of presentation. (If I were more interested in the subject this would probably be a 5 star book)

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Kristin Huston

After the war has ended,what then? This book gives us a bit of information about the post war lives of 4 people in different places in the South. Most books about the Civil War focus on the battles, soldiers, and politicians. This tells us about how the lives of the people were affected by the aftermath of war on their home grounds.

Terri

An excellent book that follows the lives of four individuals during the end of the Civil War and reconstruction of a new United States. The four voices featured are from the writings of a slave, widowed women with children, Confederate solder and Southern Minister. Each person details their trials, faith, joys, sorrows, and view of the nation as it tries to heal and move forward. This book highlights the personal and political, social and racial, culture of the North and South, in a captivation An excellent book that follows the lives of four individuals during the end of the Civil War and reconstruction of a new United States. The four voices featured are from the writings of a slave, widowed women with children, Confederate solder and Southern Minister. Each person details their trials, faith, joys, sorrows, and view of the nation as it tries to heal and move forward. This book highlights the personal and political, social and racial, culture of the North and South, in a captivation and engaging read. This book is well researched and written resulting in a weaveing together each individual story while filling in historical facts....more

Aaron Elliott

A Year in the South was a good book. Keeping it from being a great book, was lack of suspense. The care and love of the material is evident in the author's handling, but most of the book was "all dressed up with no place to go." The concept of this book grabbed me but didn't keep me in its grasp. The narrative of the war widow was by far the most compelling of the four voices. I never got the feeling of the South having just been destroyed. I needed some desperation, some pluck, some fortitude.

T

I honestly could not finish this book. I completely understand the need to use footnotes and bibios so we don't confuse previously written words for an author's 'new' words, but this guy has it all wrong. There were so many inane footnotes (seriously, this is just one example: On Sunday mornings there were Bible lessons for the little ones, after which the whole clan marched off together to church.(52) page 44.) It was ridiculous. I stopped 3 months into the Year In the South. Bleck!!

Dara

Taken from diaries and memoirs, this is the account of four ordinary people on the home front of the Confederacy, and how they suffered and survived through the last year of the Civil War. Especially touching were the tales of Cornelia McDonald, a nearly destitute war widow, and Louis Hughes, a resourceful slave, who rescues his family from a grasping slave holder.

Mslogar

A story "told" by four different people who lived through the tumultuous year 1865-- based on actual diaries, letters, and other info gathered on these people. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learning about the year from the viewpoint of a Confederate widow, a minister, a slave, and rebel. I learned quite a bit about the south and the year after the war that I had never known.

Kathy

This book is a collection of diary transcriptions from four very different people who experience the Civil War and its aftermath. I loved it. The descriptions of Knoxville were of particular interest to me.

Terry

This was so interesting to step into the lives of four Southerners at the end of the War - the lowest time for the South. I am intrigued by how they each came out of that and were changed forever. I was wishing for even more detail into to their daily lives.

Bryan

This book perfectly marries the 1st hand accounts of 4 individuals to the broader context of what was happening in the South, as well as the entire nation, at the end of and immediately after, the Civil War. An easy read, but a powerful one.

Paige Henson

Stayed up until 3 a.m. ( midweek!) to finish this book.

Gloria

Vastly informative and interestingly written on the day-in, day-out lives of 4 decidedly different people.
Whenever I think my life is "hard," I will remind myself to reread this book.

Jessica Jewett

I found this book very useful in my research. The people featured came from a variety of backgrounds.

Linda

Very well done and very interesting

Daniel

A book about the South...what more can I say.

C.S. FerrierLisaAlexanderBrandy MontgomeryKatieLizzKelly ThompsonEllieAmyBrandonMichael


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