The Plain People of the Confederacy
by Bell Irvin Wiley, Paul D. Escott
The Plain People of the Confederacy – Read More
- Release date: May 1, 2000
- Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
- Genres: history, war
- Author: Bell Irvin Wiley, Paul D. Escott
- Language: english
- Format: paperback, 128 pages
- ISBN: 9781570033629 (1570033625)
About The Book
Wiley’s most critical examination of the effects of the Civil War on the lives of its participation
Widely hailed for his realistic portrayals of the common soldier of the Civil War, Bell Irvin Wiley upset carefully cultivated, deeply held southern myths about the Lost Cause with the 1944 publication of The Plain People of the Confederacy. His engaging and timeless look at the Confederate experience of soldiers, African Americans, and women also sparked a debate about the reasons for southern defeat that continues among historians to this day. Republished here with Paul Escott’s new introduction and fresh appraisal of the book’s influence, this classic work reveals a far more complex, conflicted, and intriguing society than the unified and idealized version created and perpetuated in the wake of surrender.
Wiley broke new ground by challenging southern myths about a contented and loyal slave population, a self-sacrificing citizenry united in support of states’ rights, and a military unmarred by cowardice and vice. Unearthing a wealth of correspondence, government documents, and other firsthand accounts, Wiley brought to center stage the question of popular morale and insisted on its importance in shaping the fate of the Confederacy. He showed that the Confederacy was racked by dissension and that the heart of the South’s problems lay in class resentments and poor governmental policy rather than in military reverses.
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