The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950 Page: 219
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of travel accounts of the Civil War period, the initial volume,
will prove an indispensable tool for historians of those crucial
This book ably achieves the difficult two-fold task of selection
and of evaluation. As the compiler remarks, "Not again until the
twentieth century, if then, were there as many travelers in the
South or in any other part of America as during the Civil War.
.. And never have as many travel accounts been written dealing
with so short a period of American life as appeared on the Con-
federacy." The choice of the 492 items comprising the volume
involves a familiarity also with the vast body of material excluded
because insignificant. "No work has been considered travel ma-
terial whose author was not present on the trip he describes
(except for a few instances in which the author made most of
the trip and finished his narrative from other sources)." The
question, what was the South like during the war years? is an-
swered by soldiers-chiefly Federals, for intimidation and poverty
tended to silence the South-as well as by various non-military
observers, such as journalists and foreigners. Particularly signifi-
cant are accounts by foreigners, mainly English, who, though
usually sympathetic with the Confederacy, wrote from a pecu-
liarly fresh and detached viewpoint. All in all, Professor Coulter's
evaluation depends rightly upon the education and background
of the author and upon the time when he wrote. Diaries, unless
palpably written as propaganda, are more reliable than are regi-
mental histories or late memoirs, for example, because the diarist
is close to the event or other matter recorded. "Time," remarks
Professor Coulter, "is of the very essence of reliability in remi-
niscences, but as a few people fell in the reminiscent mood until
many years have elapsed since the event, there is constant danger
that a treacherous memory will produce distortion of events."
The nearly five hundred authors appear in alphabetical order,
their dates from Library of Congress cards. After the title and
full bibliographical description of the travel narrative, Professor
Coulter indicates briefly its contents and probable value. There
is perhaps too much attention to the route of the traveler, too
much geography to the loss of psychology. "There is no major
area in the South through which some traveler included in this
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950, periodical, 1950; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/m1/267/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.