The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 628
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
book reads as a series of choice selections of treasured stories or vignettes about
the war. Historians and longtime residents will recognize most of the stories, yet
there are a few new ones too.
This is a worthwhile book, both as an introduction to the topic and to assist in
comparisons with other states. Individual authors also incorporate a variety of
primary and secondary sources. One criticism, however, is that the tone of some
of the chapters is a little too glowing and comes close to boosterism, such as
Smith's comments about the war's impacts. For example the war did end re-
liance on extractive industries, but it also fostered dependence on the service
and construction industries. But there are critical voices here too, especially in
the chapter about the incarceration of Japanese Americans, which implicates
white Arizonans. In all, Arizona Goes to War is valuable for its rich details about
the war years in Arizona.
Tempe Historical Museum John Akers
A Sphinx on the American Land: The Nineteenth-Century South in Comparative Perspec-
tive. By Peter Kolchin. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003.
Pp. xi+124. Acknowledgments, afterword, notes, index. ISBN 0-8071-
2866-X. $22.95, cloth.)
This volume by the noted Peter Kolchin is the outgrowth of his three presen-
tations for the Walter Lynwood Fleming lecture series on Southern history at
Louisiana State University in 2000. In three chapters, he analyzes different com-
parative tools for studying Dixie's history. In chapter one, he compares the
South with the North (and uses the term South and "un-South"). In unit two, he
compares the variations within Dixie (and uses the term "many Souths"). In
chapter three, he focuses on Dixie in the context of societies outside the United
States, giving particular attention to comparisons and contrasts between the free-
ing of the South's slaves and the partial liberation of the serfs in Russia.
Importantly, Kolchin addresses the questions of definitions. What was/is the
South? How has it changed over time? Are all areas of Dixie the same when con-
sidering geography, economics, class, gender, and a myriad of other factors?
What holds the South together? Is it becoming more Americanized? Who was/is
a Southerner? What makes one a Southerner? Do Southerners differ when one
considers geography, class, gender, and a host of other factors? And, also impor-
tant: Why do so many historians, both past and present, tend to forget that
blacks in Dixie, most of them slaves until 1865, are also Southerners? These are
major questions, and Kolchin is to be congratulated for taking them on.
The author also tosses around major concepts that are revisionist (and to
some people, probably startling) in nature. For example, abolitionists could be
termed pro-Southern if one remembers that more than one-third of all South-
erners were black slaves. Radical Reconstruction could be termed pro-Southern
for the same reason. Why should pro-slavery, secessionist white be considered
pro-South when one looks at the Civil War and its aftermath-and the disasters
that consequently fell upon old Dixie? Some might even call pro-secessionists
traitors who ruined the South. Kolchin also holds that Texas may have been the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004, periodical, 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/m1/706/?rotate=270: accessed December 12, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.