"To Live and Die in Dixie": How the South Formed a Nation

Article excerpt

"To Live and Die in Dixie": How the South Formed a Nation. Edited by Archie P. McDonald. Journal of Confederate History Book Series, Vol. XX. (Murfreesboro, Tenn.: Southern Heritage Press, c. 1999. Pp. [xiv], 173. Paper, $16.95, ISBN 1-889332-23-2.)

The average informed student of Civil War history is familiar with the issue of states' rights within the Confederacy, the difficulties Jefferson Davis experienced in forming and sustaining a government, and the problems that vexed commanders, especially of the Army of Tennessee and the Trans-Mississippi. If such a student judged a book by its title, then the student would expect that these matters were within the province of this book's thirteen essays. The student, however, would be wrong. This collection consists of thirteen state histories: Missouri and Kentucky are included, Maryland is left out. The general starting point for analysis is each state's role in the Union, followed by a discussion of how its citizens responded to the election of 1860 and the secession crisis. Some of the authors make a nod to Reconstruction, but most do not. The scholars involved provide useful outlines of state history during the war years, bolstered by a list of suggested readings following each essay. However, there is no thematic relation between the essays and no comparative analysis at the end. Hence, at no place in any of the narratives does an author address the subject of the subtitle, "How the South Formed a Nation. …