The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

Book Reviews

annotations and fine editing also make the volume easy to follow and enjoyable
to read. However, given the lack of discussion by Lizzie and Will on the subject
of secession and southern nationalism, and given that Lizzie's "sex . . . always
troubled" her, a more apt title for the volume might have been "A Rebellious
Wife in Texas" rather than A Rebel Wife in Texas.
Henderson State Unzversity ANGELA BOSWELL
Reading Southern History: Essays on Interpreters and Interpretations. Edited by Glenn
Feldman. (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2001. Pp. 336. Ac-
knowledgments, introduction, notes, select bibliography, contributors, in-
dex. ISBN o-8173-1101-5. $24.95, paper.)
The South exists as a distinctive area in the United States. While many might
agree with this statement, defining the central themes of southern history con-
tinues to create disagreement. The historiography of these arguments provides
the focus for the essays in Reading Southern History: Interpreters and Interpretations,
edited by Glen Feldman.
Each essay presents a biography of a notable contributor to southern history.
The biographies strive to illustrate how personal experiences affected profes-
sional perspectives of the South and southern history. Additionally, the authors
include details about the professional training to illustrate each person's intel-
lectual journey. Importantly, the essays stress the power of mentors on the for-
mation of theories and research. These emphases serve to illuminate southern
historiography in a fresh way. As each person struggled to form their own views,
they did so in the context of their individual experiences as well as in reaction to
or support of those who preceded and often mentored them.
The subjects of the essays are not all historians. Influential figures in southern
and American history are covered in the essays on Ulrich B. Philips, Broadus
Mitchell, E. Merton Coulter, C. Vann Woodward, John Hope Franklin, Anne
Firor Scott, A. Elizabeth Taylor, David H. Donald, David Potter, Kenneth
Stampp, Charles S. Snydor, Samuel S. Hill, and George B. Tindall. However, the
essays also include scholars who drew from sociology, political science, and other
social sciences such as V. O. Key, Frank Owsley, Robert Vance, W. J. Cash, and
W. E. B. Dubois. This diversity illuminates the influence of many fields of study
ranging from political, economic, women's and African American history as well
as the social sciences with their differing methods of analysis.
The essays trace the shifting assessment of important themes in southern his-
tory. Race remains an ever-important consideration in historiography. However,
the growing recognition of the importance of class, plain folks and folkways, reli-
gion, women, and role of African Americans in shaping the South are clearly il-
lustrated in the careers of these scholars. Even when their ideas are discredited
later, as in the racial ideas of Ulrich B. Philips or the defense of white southern
culture of E. Merton Coulter, these writers helped frame the discussions and re-
search in southern history. They provided ideas and analyses to react against.
They also reacted vigorously to criticism and forced detractors to defend their

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed August 1, 2014.