The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002 Page: 374
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Long Gray Lines: The Southern Malitary School Tradition, 1839-1915. By Rod An-
drew Jr. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2ool. Pp.
viii+184. Acknowledgments, introduction, conclusion, appendix, notes, bib-
liography, index. ISBN 1-58544-103-1. $29.95, cloth.)
The South remains, in many ways, a distinctive region of America. Why that
is so, so many years after the conclusion of the Civil War, is a matter of great
interest. Invoking the image of the long gray battle lines of Confederate sol-
diers, Rod Andrew Jr. has crafted an excellent study exploring major aspects
of this nation as a whole within a nation. Too, the author examines the rea-
sons why our nation as a whole is able to embrace Rebel leaders such as
Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson and include them in
the pantheon of American heroes. While Andrew uses the legend of the Lost
Cause, the valiant, though ultimately doomed, effort of Southern states to
preserve their distinctive lifestyle, as an organizing theme for the book, and
while Long Gray Lines focuses on Southern military schools, ultimately the
book is a critical examination of the military tradition in America.
The author's research provided several unexpected results, at least for this
reviewer. One was that the military school tradition was actually quite liberal.
When thinking of the military, one expects blind obedience. Many times vari-
ous student bodies at a number of military schools staged protests including
mass boycotts of classes. Another surprise, and one which certainly deserves
further study, was the significant number of military schools that had African
American student bodies. Hampton Institute and Florida A&M, for example,
provided blacks an opportunity to become army officers at a time when there
was virtually no opportunity for them to attend West Point. Finally, while the
military's officer corps is perceived as an elite, the Southern military schools
provided an avenue for students from lower- and lower-middle-class families
to attain an education and to enter a profession where success, for the most
part, is based solely on one's performance. In this regard, the Southern
schools did not strive to perpetuate an already existing elite as one might ex-
In some respects, Long Gray Lines might serve as an outline for a series of
studies dealing with the nation's military schools. A subsequent volume might
focus on private military schools, another with military prep schools for high
school students, and a third, as mentioned earlier, on those programs at histor-
ically black institutions. There are tantalizing hints and the briefest mention of
long-forgotten military schools, Bastrop Military Institute for one, that provoke
a natural desire to learn more. The sheer number of schools, ninety-six in
186o, and then a post-Civil War boom because of the Morrill Act, precludes
any in-depth coverage of all but the most prominent schools such as the
Citadel, Clemson, and Virginia Military Institute. Texas A&M and its Corps of
Cadets receive their due, though one might add a study of Texas military
schools to the wish list of follow-up studies.
Long Gray Lines is an important contribution to the historical and cultural
studies literature about the South. The author traces one thread in the
tapestry that constitutes the Southern heritage, illuminating the whole of the
Southern experience. The prose is tight and the stories engaging; as with any
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/m1/404/?rotate=270: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.