This book reflects the best of contemporary scholarship on the history of the American South. Each contributor is an authority-one a Pulitzer Prize winner. The essays examine what life was like for the slaves; for the victims of terror and lynchings; for workers who dared strike and demand fairness; and for dissenters who challenged the accepted truths. The essays are grouped around three major research areas: history and the social sciences, history and biography, and the new labor history. This is a unique collection of essays by some of the world's leading historians of the South, together with work by younger scholars. All contributors, however, are working at the cutting edge of their particular methodological approaches. The book, for example, includes both an essay by Pulitzer Prize winner Rhys Isaac, and one by Rutgers University graduate student Beth Hale. Yet, both have a common concern to explore the reaches of the Southern past through the dimension of ethgraphy. The essays in the book are grouped according to theme. The largest section, the social sciences and Southern history, includes essays drawing heavily on the insights of anthropology of ethgraphy and of statistical analysis. Each essay in the second section is designed to illustrate how life history can be used to illuminate much larger histoical themes and processes. The essays in the last section on labor in the new South all illustrate, among other things, the importance of drawing on the insights of historians of women in order to redress the masculinist presuppositons of labor historians. All the essays in the book, in fact, reflect current concerns with gender and race in the re-interpretation of the Southern past.
BRUCE CLAYTON is Professor of History at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA. JOHN SALMOND is Professor of American History at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.