Among the most pervasive of stereotypes imposed upon southern highlanders is that they were white, opposed slavery, and supported the Union before and during the Civil War, but the historical record suggests far different realities. John C. Inscoe has spent much of his scholarly career exploring the social, economic and political significance of slavery and slaveholding in the mountain South and the complex nature of the region's wartime loyalties, and the brutal guerrilla warfare and home front traumas that stemmed from those divisions.
The essays here embrace both facts and fictions related to those issues, often conveyed through intimate vignettes that focus on individuals, families, and communities, keeping the human dimension at the forefront of his insights and analysis. Drawing on the memories, memoirs, and other testimony of slaves and free blacks, slaveholders and abolitionists, guerrilla warriors, invading armies, and the highland civilians they encountered, Inscoe considers this multiplicity of perspectives and what is revealed about highlanders' dual and overlapping identities as both a part of, and distinct from, the South as a whole. He devotes attention to how the truths derived from these contemporary voices were exploited, distorted, reshaped, reinforced, or ignored by later generations of novelists, journalists, filmmakers, dramatists, and even historians with differing agendas over the course of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
His cast of characters includes John Henry, Frederick Law Olmsted and John Brown, Andrew Johnson and Zebulon Vance, and those who later interpreted their stories -- John Fox and John Ehle, Thomas Wolfe and Charles Frazier, Emma Bell Miles and Harry Caudill, Carter Woodson and W. J. Cash, Horace Kephart and John C. Campbell, even William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor. Their work and that of many others have contributed much to either our understanding -- or misunderstanding -- of nineteenth century Appalachia and its place in the American imagination.
""Meticulously researched, unfailingly judicious and balanced, these essays highlight Inscoe's defining strengths as a scholar." -- Robert Tracy McKenzie, Logan Family Chair of American History, University of Washington" --
"This collection demonstrates how and why, for two decades, John Inscoe has been one of the most perceptive and creative historians of the southern highlands. With essays ranging from antebellum slavery in Appalachia to the wrenching effects of the Civil War on family life in the region and the lingering scars of the war in the region's historical memory, Race, War, and Remembrance in the Appalachian South enriches our understanding of both the human dimension of the Civil War and the southern highlanders, white and black, who got caught up in it.--W. Fitzhugh Brundage, author of The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory" --
""This fascinating collection of essays and articles is much more than a handy assemblage of previously scattered writings by one of Appalachia's leading historians. Bringing them together in effect creates a new synthesis in our understanding of how Appalachian history relates to regional identity. Deftly combining telling detail with cautious generalization, Inscoe offers us a nuanced interpretation of race, war and remembrance in the era of Appalachia's "discovery" and describes how ideas born in this era survive today to shape Appalachia's problematic but persistent identity, both as a region apart and as a part of the South. The book is essential reading for anyone fascinated by this special and complicated part of the world."--John Alexander Williams, Professor of History, Appalachian State University" --
""For a quarter of a century John Inscoe has dedicated himself to rescuing nineteenth-century Appalachia, and its involvement in the sectional conflict in particular, from the disdain of history. These fine essays demonstrate how successfully he has accomplished that task. Each makes essential reading; together they provide a compelling overview of the political, racial, and familial imperatives governing upcountry survival in the crucible of war." Martin Crawford, Keele University" --
""No American "ethnic group" is so encrusted with contradictory legend as are Appalachians -- who are frequently depicted as violent primitives, pastoral utopians, loyal, slavery-hating Unionists during the Civil War, sympathetic to slaves, virulently racist. In these wide-ranging, lucid, shrewd, fair-minded and engaging essays, John Inscoe thoroughly dispels such frequently condescending as well as romantic stereotypes. What emerges in his two hundred year long history of race, war and remembrance, is a complex society that is more Southern, less isolated, unitary and timeless than the legends would have it. Inscoe brings a sophisticated historian's methods and a delightful writer's touch to bear on a wide range of topics, from the history of slavery, to women's roles in the brutalities of guerrilla warfare, to the analysis of modern novels and films concerning Appalachia."--Michael Fellman, author of The Making of Robert E. Lee" --
""Over the last two decades, John Inscoe's path-breaking scholarship did nothing less than redefine what scholars thought and wrote about life in antebellum and Civil War Appalachia. Consistently exciting and enlightening, these essays not only represent penetrating historical research at its best, but stand as milestones in an ongoing revisionist conversation that continues to revolutionize southern history."--Kenneth W. Noe, author of Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle" --
""No other historian better captures the complex conjunction of Appalachia, race, and the American South before and after the Civil War than does John Inscoe. His greatest contribution in this fine volume of essays lies in his ability, amidst lucid analysis and explication, to still illuminate the contradictions and ambiguities inherit in this fascinating region." Durwood Dunn, Tennessee Wesleyan College" --
"This fine collection of essays confirms John Inscoe's status as the dean of Appalachian studies. He has a knack for turning such complex issues as slavery, unionism, race, and guerrilla warfare into understandable, personal stories. This is southern history at its best, reliable, perceptive, and thoroughly engaging.--Daniel E. Sutherland, author of Seasons of War: The Ordeal of a Confederate Community, 1861-65 " --
""John Inscoe's broad imagination, deep research, and engaging writing over the past two decades have given us new ways to think about Appalachia and the South. He has led the way in shaping how we understand race and the Civil War in these contexts. He writes with grace. His deep empathy for the people he studies is balanced by a careful analysis of their thoughts and actions. John Inscoe clarifies the complex history of Appalachia and, by extension, enables us to see more clearly the South and the United States." --David C. Hsiung, Juniata College, author of Two Worlds in the Tennessee Mountains: Exploring the Origins of Appalachian Stereotypes" --
""Ever since the publication of his path breaking Mountain Masters, Slavery, and the Sectional Crisis in Western North Carolina in 1989, John Inscoe has pioneered in bringing the topics of racialization and slavery into prominence in Appalachian studies. The penetrating and insightful essays in this collection brilliantly probe a rich archive of travelers' accounts, memoirs, eye-witness reports, and oral histories as well as novels, plays, and even Hollywood film to examine the myths, realities, representations, and remembrances of race and racism, slaveholding, sectionalism, and the experience of civil war in the Mountain South. Each essay is a gem of historical and critical analysis that adds greatly to our understanding of the Appalachian past and how it has been deployed."--Dwight Billings, coeditor of Appalachia in the Making: The Mountain South in the Nineteenth Century" --
""Inscoe's writing style is engaging, and his interdisciplinary approach to Appalachian themes will intrigue readers" --Mary A. Waalkes, North Carolina Historical Review" --
""Inscoe is at his best in this and other essays examining class interests, regional leadership and history, and gendered responses to war" --Mary A. Waalkes, North Carolina Historical Review" --
""Readers will be reminded that some historians approach the past with creativity and that Inscoe has made a significant contribution to the current understanding of southern Appalachia's place within the South and the nation." --Tom Lee, The Journal of American History" --
""[Inscoe] uses a wide range of relative case studies to support his insights about wartime conditions in the unusual case of Appalachia. Furthermore, the work is especially valuable because no other book deals with this broad topic." --John Cimprich, American Historical Review" --
""Using letters, journals, and memoirs of slaves, slaveholders, and abolitionists, Inscoe explores the reality of slavery and racial attitudes of the times, and how these beliefs have been misunderstood and distorted from the 19th century up to the present day." --Goldenseal" --
""Throughout the collection Inscoe successfully challenges previous perceptions of Appalachia, showing how it is both less coherent as a separate region and more southern than commonly thought. Race, War, and Remembrance will change how people conceptualize Appalachia." --West Virginia History" --
""What ultimately charms the reader is Inscoe's wonderful eye for stories."--Virginia Magazine of History and Biography" --
""This book will be a boon to readers interested in easily accessing some of the region's most important scholarship." --Ohio Valley History" --