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Cover

The Making of a Confederate

Walter Lenoir's Civil War

William L. Barney

Publication Date - November 2007

ISBN: 9780195314359

272 pages
Hardcover
4-3/4 x 6-3/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $25.95

In this compelling story, Barney focuses on the life of one man, Walter Lenoir of North Carolina, to examine the origins of southern white identity alongside its myriad ambiguities and complexities.

Description

Despite the advances of the civil rights movement, many white southerners cling to the faded glory of a romanticized Confederate past. In The Making of a Confederate, William L. Barney focuses on the life of one man, Walter Lenoir of North Carolina, to examine the origins of southern white identity alongside its myriad ambiguities and complexities.

Born into a wealthy slaveholding family, Lenoir abhorred the institution, opposed secession, and planned to leave his family to move to Minnesota, in the free North. But when the war erupted in 1860, Lenoir found another escape route--he joined the Confederate army, an experience that would radically transform his ideals. After the war, Lenoir, like many others, embraced the cult of the Lost Cause, refashioning his memory and beliefs in an attempt to make sense of the war, its causes, and its consequences. While some Southerners sank into depression, aligned with the victors, or fiercely opposed the new order, Lenoir withdrew to his acreage in the North Carolina mountains. There, he pursued his own vision of the South's future, one that called for greater self-sufficiency and a more efficient use of the land.

For Lenoir and many fellow Confederates, the war never really ended. As he tells this compelling story, Barney offers new insights into the ways that (selective) memory informs history; through Lenoir's life, readers learn how individual choices can transform abstract historical processes into concrete actions.

Features

  • Reveals the ways that many white southerners cling to the faded glory of a romanticized Confederate past, despite the advances of the civil rights movement
  • Focuses on the life of one man, Walter Lenoir of North Carolina, to examine the origins of southern white identity alongside its myriad ambiguities and complexities
  • Offers new insights into the ways that (selective) memory informs history and informs readers how individual choices can transform abstract historical processes into concrete actions

About the Author(s)

William L. Barney is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is author of The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Student Companion (OUP, 2001), The Passage of the Republic, Battleground for the Union, Flawed Victory, The Secessionist Impulse, and The Road to Secession. He is coauthor of The American Journey, Second Edition, and editor of A Companion to 19th-Century America.

Reviews

"In this fascinating and beautifully written portrait...William L. Barney breathes life into many key aspects of the Civil War era as it was experienced in the Upper South. A major achievement."--Bruce Levine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, author of Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves during the Civil War

"An enormously intelligent, sensitive, interesting, [and] significant biography of a minor character that takes us inside one white Southerner's life, family, and mind."--Mina Carson, Oregon State University

"[An] excellent biography of Walter Lenoir [that] illustrates the dynamics of Lost Cause mythologizing in the postbellum South."--South Atlantic Review

Table of Contents

    Illustrations
    Foreword
    Acknowledgements
    The Lenoir Families
    Prologue
    One. Dutiful Sons and a Wavering Southerner
    Two. Confederate Soldier
    Three. Agony at Ox Hill
    Four. Mountain Farmer
    Five. Unreconstructed Confederate
    Six. Land Promoter and Dreamer
    Afterword
    Recommendations for Further Reading
    Index