The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 324

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

closest thing to liberal democracy the South had ever known-or would know
again for a hundred years-and the blighted hopes of millions of black people.
Twitchell's story speaks to the white South's stubborn persistence in the 1870s,
as in 1861, in choosing the road that guaranteed the greatest suffering for the
greatest number of its people" (p. 307).
"I believe my fellow scholars will find much that is fresh and exciting in this bi-
ography," Tunnell writes. "I have tried to write, however, with a broader audi-
ence in mind. . . . It is time that our entire culture, not solely academic
historians, looks at men like Twitchell and knows them by their deeds" (p. 7).
He succeeds magnificently. His research thoroughly exploits available resources
and the Louisiana University Press conveniently formats the documentation in
footnotes. Accounts of internecine parish politics might tire some readers, but
generally the story moves at a sprightly pace. Edge of the Sword removes another
stone from the mythological edifice constructed to defend white terrorism in the
Reconstruction Era.
East Texas State Universzty Tom Wagy
The Southern Agrarians and the New Deal. Edited by Emily S. Bingham and Thomas
A. Underwood. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2oo0. Illustra-
tions, abbreviations, acknowledgments, editorial method, introduction, index.
$45, cloth.)
Published in 1930, I'll Take My Stand generated both admiration and contro-
versy among Southern intellectual and political leaders. Laying out their version
of the "New South," the writers of the book, who came to be known as the Agrar-
ians, proposed a return to subsistence farming. They also stressed the mainte-
nance of strong local and regional culture, and an ardent defiance of the
encroaching Northern industrial and urban order.
Although I'll Take My Stand is generally considered the apex of Southern
Agrarianism, The Southern Agrarians and the New Deal, edited by Bingham and Un-
derwood, demonstrates that Agrarianism did not disintegrate during Roosevelt's
second term. In fact, six of the original Agrarians continued to formulate and re-
fine their social policies throughout the 1930s. Thus, the work provides a collec-
tion of post-I'll Take My Stand writings from three original Agrarians-Donald
Davidson, John Crowe Ransom, and Allen Tate-and three who formulated
their views and joined the movement during the New Deal-Andrew Nelson Ly-
tle, Herman Clarence Nixon, and Frank Lawrence Owsley. Thus, throughout the
New Deal era, these six men "were responsible for promoting the Southern agri-
cultural economy as a practical political and economic model for America" (p.
7). According to the editors, the Southern Agrarians were both reactionary and
radical. They endeavored to fundamentally alter the government and society
and were not apolitical. Firmly within the revisionist school, the editors find ele-
ments of the Agrarians' program that are meritable; yet, the editors also believe
that Southern Agrarianism was limited by faulty logic, restrictive social views, and



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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. ( accessed May 28, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.

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