The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997

Book Reviews

resist Texas claims on the disputed region. From the machinations of the terri-
tory and statehood parties in Santa Fe, the partial success in behalf of Texas by
Robert S. Neighbors, to the clandestine mission of Taylor's agent, Col. George
A. McCall, the author skillfully presents a compelling story.
Finally, a senate bill was introduced to pay Texas ten million dollars for ceding
all land north and west of a boundary beginning at the 1 ooth meridian, where it
intersects the parallel of 360 30o, then running west to the lo3rd meridian,
south to the 32nd parallel, and from there west to the Rio Grande. Approved by
Texas voters, the act was signed by Governor Bell on November 25, 1850, and
the shape of Texas as we know it today was finally determined.
Fort Clark, Brackettvzlle, Texas BEN E. PINGENOT
Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholdzng South in the American Civil War. By
Drew Gilpen Faust. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.
Pp. xvi+326. Preface, acknowledgments, introduction, illustrations, epi-
logue, afterword, notes, bibliographic note, index. ISBN 0-2078-2255-8.
$29.95, cloth.)
Necessity being the mother of invention, the reader might expect the title of
Drew Gilpen Faust's new book to encounter determined women coping re-
sourcefully with the adversities of war on the Southern homefront. Faust, howev-
er, finds few traditional heroines as she examines the diaries, letters, memoirs,
and literary productions of more than 500 slaveholding women through the lens
of class and gender. Instead, she argues that elite women resisted and resented
the war-induced changes that threatened the perogatives of white Southern lady-
hood. If a few women found new accomplishments, many more felt over-
whelmed and longed for a restoration of the old order. They changed by
necessity, not by choice.
In the patriarchical and hierarchical society of the antebellum South, elite
women had been subordinated by sex but privileged by race and class; in return
for the dependence of ladyhood they had been guaranteed male protection.
The departure of husbands, fathers, and brothers for military service removed
this protection and forced them to shoulder male responsibilities for which they
felt unprepared and inadequate. Slave management proved to be one of the
most difficult and frustrating. (The experience of Lizzie Neblett of Texas fur-
nishes an extended and illuminating example.) Women who found themselves
succumbing to anger and violence grew increasingly disillusioned with slavery,
even as they lamented losing the comforts it had once provided. Those whose
slaves deserted them unhappily discovered their own incompetence as they
struggled with unfamiliar tasks such as cooking and milking.
Elite women likewise maintained an aversion to the bloody and distasteful
work of hospital nursing (at the time a lower-class and predominantly male occu-
pation) as a violation of feminine propriety and delicacy. Faust argues that as
hardships increased and the death tolls mounted, women's conviction that the
Confederacy had failed to preserve and protect their interests helped undermine

1996

257

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/. Accessed August 28, 2015.