The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

ploys two terms-honor and dignity-that reflect the values that be-
came closely tied to the economic and social systems in the two regions.
The South's hierarchical, rural society helped to sustain a system in
which men lived by honor. In that system a person had exactly as much
worth as others conferred on him. A slight to one's honor had to be
settled by direct, personal violence, which varied from the duels of the
aristocracy to the eye-gouging fights of the lower classes. In contrast to
the South, the North became more closely tied to capitalism and bour-
geois culture; there a system developed that emphasized dignity-"the
conviction that each individual . . . possessed an intrinsic value at least
theoretically equal to that of every other person" (p. 19). Dignity, which
emphasized self-control and restraint, became the antithesis of honor.
This valuable book on crime and punishment in the nineteenth-
century South has not exhausted the subject. Ayers has concentrated
largely on three locales in Georgia: Whitfield County in the upper hill
country, Greene County in the plantation belt, and the city of Savan-
nah. Much remains to be done in Georgia as well as in other southern
states. To cite one example, the author did not consider arson, which
became a widespread form of property crime in the South. This criti-
cism, however, is not intended to detract from what Ayers has accom-
plished. In the future, when historians undertake studies of southern
crime, they will find it essential to read Ayers's well-written book.
University of Georgia WILLIAM F. HOLMES
The Lost Land: The Chicano Image of the Southwest. By John R. Chavez.
(Albuquerque: The University of New Mexico Press, 1984. Pp. vii
+207. Acknowledgments, introduction, notes, bibliography, index.
$19.95, cloth; $9.95, paper.)
Ascertaining people's perceptions of themselves and their territo-
riality is always difficult. Individuals' world views differ according to
their social class, family upbringing, time of residence in a region, the
geography of an area, and other factors at play in a changing order.
The chore of reconstructing such attitudes is compounded if the group
under study leaves little in the form of written records helpful to the
historian. But the task of pinning down those feelings must be pursued
if a community's response to historical forces is to be understood. This
is John R. Chaivez's purpose in writing on Chicanos and the land which
they and their descendants have inhabited since the sixteenth century.
Chavez is not the only one to attempt an analysis of these feelings,
but he is the first to undertake an inquiry covering a span of four cen-

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117151/. Accessed September 24, 2014.