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Yankee saints and Southern sinners /
Bertram Wyatt-Brown.
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, c1985.
xi, 227 p.
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Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, c1985.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1986-06:
Wyatt-Brown assesses forces in the antebellum era that produced a Calvinist-dominated, abolitionist, reform-minded society in the North and simultaneously created a rural, Protestant, slaveholding white South that cast its lot with racist ideology, extreme individualism, and a defensive but spirited sense of sectional honor. The first section, ``Yankee Saints,'' sets the tone with an intriguing historiographical analysis of S. Elkins's Slavery (1963) and its impact on the school of ``consensus'' historians. This section also offers a discussion of the common threads of evangelical Protestant religion as it became the medium that concurrently produced God-centered missionaries and man-centered abolitionists. There is a case study of the Tappan family as archetypically successful reform-minded adults, and an analysis of antinomian purification rites that John Brown, a self-indulgent Calvinist, believed necessary to purify his and the nation's soul. In the second part, ``Southern Sinners,'' Wyatt-Brown reassesses W.J. Cash's Mind of the South (1941) so readers are reminded that ``consensus'' historians must be able to rationalize broadly to establish necessary commonalty. He also reminds readers that proslavery defenses emanated from the same source as abolitionist arguments-Christian evangelical missionizing-but assumed a defensive face-saving posture in the fantasy worlds of southern religious and secular luminaries. Last, Wyatt-Brown reveals how short the distance from piety, to fantasy, to southern ``honor.'' The book deserves praise for organization, style, and the author's unique ability to combine multidisciplinary data to create a provocative but perceptive, sense of the past. College, university, and public libraries.-J.D. Born Jr., Wichita State University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 1986
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