The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

bach, Herff's connections in Europe included Alexander von Humboldt,
Prince Albert, Prince Frederick, and Maria Alexandra, a future czarina
of Russia. Arthur Finck's commendable translation (completed as an
M.A. thesis at UT in 1949) of this controversial man's ideas is long over-
due in print. This work of radicalism is only the tip of the iceberg of
such writings by Texas German intellectuals whose important connec-
tions have been hitherto overlooked by regional scholars unfamiliar
with the international context of their subjects. Donald E. Everett prop-
erly points out in the "Foreword" that a definitive intellectual and
cultural history of the Texas Germans still needs to be written. At any
rate, this carefully annotated publication of Herff's theory certainly dis-
pel the notion in Texas regional studies that "if you can't plow it, it's
not real."
University of New Orleans GLEN E. LICI
The Roots of Black Poverty: The Southern Plantation Economy after
the Civil War. By Jay R. Mandle. (Durham, North Carolina: Duke
University Press, 1978. Pp. xvi+ 144. Tables, bibliography, index.
A decade ago quantitative historians by the dozens were plowing
through census schedules and computer readouts in order to arrive at
some deeper understanding of the Old South's economy and society.
That rush of activity produced numerous interesting, revealing, and
sometimes controversial studies of slavery, staple-crop production, and
political power. In the last few years a different area of research has be-
gun to attract the attention of cliometricians and traditional historians
alike-the economics of the post-bellum South. At bottom, the question
that most students of this period are asking is, "Why was the post-Civil
WVar South so poor?" Some studies have stressed the destruction of cap-
ital during the war, others the counterproductive effects of racism, and
still others the sharecropping system of agricultural production. The
Roots of Black Poverty is a sophisticated Marxist approach to the prob-
lem of understanding southern, particularly black southern, poverty in
the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Using published government statistics and secondary studies of the
South, Mandle develops the thesis that black Americans were poor be-
cause most of them lived in a particularly underdeveloped economy,
the plantation South. Mandle concludes that the plantation system of
production survived the Civil War and emancipation with only a few

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed August 29, 2014.