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Tara Revisited: Women, War, & the Plantation Legend

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  95 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
This volume cuts through romantic myth, combining period photographs and illustrations with new documentary sources to tell the real story of Southern women during the Civil War. Drawing from a wealth of poignant letters, diaries, slave narratives, and other accounts, Catherine Clinton provides a vivid social and cultural history of the diverse communities of Southern wome ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 1st 1997 by Abbeville Press (first published March 1st 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 272)
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Donna Davis
First of all, if you are planning to visit Georgia with your family, don’t ask the tourist bureau to help you find Tara! It isn’t there. Neither is Scarlett or Mammy. They’re all fictional.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for the ARC.

Thank you; I feel much better having cleared the air. But nobody can make it clearer than author Catherine Clinton, who bursts the myth of the antebellum belle and her loyal house-slaves better with greater heat and light than I have ever seen done by any
Diane S ☔
Aug 21, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it liked it
I knew quite a bit about the plantation system and it's history, but I learned plenty in this book too. Like many of us their was always something of the romantic tone when one thought of the old South. Even with Gone with the Wind, the picnics, large parties, huge houses, hoop dresses and corsets, made it seem like everything was rosy until the Civil War. Even slavery was given short shift, as Mmamie was treated as one of the family, there was no cruelty going on in Tara. Well most of us know n ...more
Bonnye Reed
Apr 28, 2016 Bonnye Reed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-or-pdf
GABN I received a free electronic copy of this true look at Southern women from Netgalley and Catherine Clinton. Thank you, for sharing you work with me. I look forward to an entertaining and educational read.

And this was an insightful journey into the lives of many southern women, black and white, from pre-to-post Civil War. This is a book I will buy for friends, and keep to read again when I need to put my world into perspective. Catherine Clinton has obviously spent much time researching the
Connie Anderson
Accolades go to Ms. Catherine Clinton for her incredible history of Southern women of all colors, their men, and the serious toll the Civil War absolutely took on each and every one. Northerners, back in time, may only have heard about the federal troops and how hard it was to keep them supplied with uniforms, boots, and blankets. This is a rare account of most if not all of the sacrifices not only made on the battlefield, but to the families left to fend for themselves back home in the South. T ...more
Jun 10, 2014 MeriBeth rated it liked it
Shelves: history, netgalley
Tara Revisited is Ms. Clinton's attempt to dismantle and interpret the Plantation myths of the South which developed after the Civil War over the years of the Reconstruction but reached their heights after the release of the movie version of Gone with the Wind. While she attempts to present a balanced history of women in the Antebellum South, like many others Ms. Clinton focuses more and more on white upper class women over both poor women and slaves. This is mainly due to the disparity of sourc ...more
May 10, 2016 Amy rated it it was amazing
Tara Revisited explodes the myth of women’s role, both black and white, during the turbulent years of the Civil War and Reconstruction. From the “mammy” ideal and the idealized “happy darkies” content with plantation life to the notion of “steel magnolia” plantation mistresses proud and happy to lead in their husband’s absence, both are revealed as romanticized myth and propaganda that continues in various forms into the modern era. Relying heavily, to her credit, on primary sources involving le ...more
Dec 28, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it
Catherine Clinton delves behind the myths and legends of the antebellum South to attempt to find some historical truths in this interesting book. She studies the facts about slavery, the women of the plantations and the cruelty of the Union forces to the people in the Confederacy. She notes that the Lost Cause remains popular even today, and how some of these myths are still promoted.

In the great TV mini-series, "North and South", one of the men from a plantation-owning family travels to the Nor
Ellen Klock
Jun 20, 2015 Ellen Klock rated it really liked it
I originally wanted to read this ARC from Abbeville Press and Netgalley (in exchange for an honest review) because of the title Tara Revisited. I thought it would focus on the movie Gone With the Wind and other southern based films about the Civil War era and be full of illustrations. While the author does touch upon such topics and has numerous photographs, this book is actually about the southern myth surrounding plantation life and delves into the reality of life behind the Mason Dixon line b ...more
Michelle Kidwell
Jul 09, 2014 Michelle Kidwell rated it it was amazing
Tara Revisited
Women, War & the Plantation Legend

Tara Revisited gives us a look at southern woman during the Civil War. This book shows what it was like both for the enslaved Women and their mistresses while thd men of the plantation were away fighting.

We learn that most white southern wome even wives of slave owners did not usually live on plantations but in more modest dwellings.

In Tara Revisited we will learn that 200,000 colored men served iin the Union Army.

By the end of th
Mar 11, 2014 Norma rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
For many of us, we have certain images in our mind how the South was back before the Civil War. We have images of women sitting on porches drinking mint juleps and have lavish parties and balls.

Unfortunately, that is just an illusion that Hollywood created to gloss over the harsh facts of reality. Catherine Clinton shows us through crystal clear lenses the truth of how women (of all races) were treated back in the Antebellum South.

It wasn't all days of wine and roses even for the wives of the P
Jun 22, 2014 Tracy rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This look at the south during the America Civil War with rose colored glasses removed was fascinating to read and at the same time slightly uncomfortable. It trains a great deal of its focus on the women of the plantations and what it was like for them throughout the many years of hardship during and after the war. The issue of slavery in this country is such a a huge and complex subject that it is impossible for any one book to cover everything, but I think this one did a wonderful job of looki ...more
Peggy Geiger
Jun 26, 2015 Peggy Geiger rated it liked it
Genre: History, Civil war era

I was disappointed in the book, I expected it to be based on actual history based on diaries and letters of both white and black women who lived in the antebellum south during and after the Civil War as indicated in the preview synopsis.

Instead, the premise of the book seems to be debunking the myth of "Gone With the Wind". The book demonstrates bias to anything southern.

The author presents in her book the idea that southern women who were wives of slave-holding pl
Jul 21, 2013 Mandy rated it really liked it
Any mention of the American Civil war instantly brings to mind scenes from Gone with the Wind, romantic southern belles and devoted black slaves. That Hollywood image has been perpetuated through countless misleading films and books, and here Catherine Clinton attempts to put the record straight. The book examines the lives of southern women, both black and white, as they really were, and describes the often devastating but sometimes empowering effect the war had on them.
Drawing on a number of h
Joyce Lagow
Jul 28, 2009 Joyce Lagow rated it really liked it
Shelves: civil-war, history
When thinking of the South before the Civil War, the images that immediately come to mind are those of Scarlett O Hara, Rhett Butler, and Mammy from the book but most especially from the very popular movie, Gone With The Wind. Clinton calls it the myth of Tara , claiming that the Hollywood images are not only misleading but represent revisionist history, rewritten to serve the interests of the defeated Southern population.[return][return]Clinton looks at the beginning of the myth of indolent whi ...more
Jim Drewery
Dec 22, 2013 Jim Drewery rated it really liked it
The place and status of women, both Black and White, in Southern society has long been steeped in the myth and folklore of the confederacy. While the plight and status of Southern women was of course highly dependent upon which side of the color line one views it from, any study of southern femininity must take into account a variety of factors besides the most obvious of race. Certainly White women were afforded far greater reverence and protection in the eyes of southern society and its laws a ...more
Sep 26, 2014 Marjorie rated it liked it
Given To Me For An Honest Review

Tara Revisited: Women, War, & the Plantation Legend by Catherine Clinton really was not what I thought it was going to be about. I feel that using Gone With The Wind as an example of the South shouldn't be. You have to remember that movie was just "Hollywood". I don't think it should be used to look at that time of history.
This book seems to be one-sided and I feel that is could be re-written to give a clearer view of the South.
Sep 18, 2013 Celia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found it very readable, informative and enjoyable. A lot of the book was about how the myth of the happy plantation was created.

However, I felt the book really two book that were combined into one.
One part of the book was trying to find out about the lives of white plantation women and their experiences of running plantations and the war. These women were presented in a somewhat sympathetic way.

The other part of the books was on the evils of slavery and that it is a myth about the "happy" slav
Eileen Hall
Dec 23, 2015 Eileen Hall rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book charting life in the Southern States during the Civil War.
Focussing on the women who lived, worked and fought with and for the Confederate Army.
A great document using narrative and photographs of a little known account of the so called Southern Belles who are not written about in Hollywood films.
I was given a digital copy of this book by the publisher Abbeville Press via Netgalley in return for an honest unbiased review.
Mar 20, 2014 Ginni rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
I received this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book was an amazingly fast read for being a history book. It was nicely written and I loved the pictures in the text to show the details being discussed. I learned a lot about the Civil War that I did not know. Since I was not raised in the south, I did not know there were other names for the Civil War and how that came to be. I do now as they are discussed in the book. I also did see where the "southern gentleman" came from as
Thanks to the publisher for an advance ebook reading copy.

I was only vaguely aware of the Lost Cause movement in the South, and really enjoyed learning more about the efforts of Southerners to re-imagine their history after the Civil War, and how Northerners encouraged it. The historic sites I've visited while living in the South have made sure to point out the slave labor that was utilized to build and maintain these homes, but most people visit because they're caught up in the "romance" of the
Diana Petty-stone
Jun 29, 2015 Diana Petty-stone rated it it was amazing
The true story about white and black women during and after the Civil War. Photographs, drawings, narratives from slaves and memoirs from plantation mistresses make for a very riveting story. Loved Gone With The Wind but this is the real story!!
Jan 19, 2016 Stacy rated it liked it
Well written, easy to read, and informative, this book did a great job of reviewing myths while gently reminding us of reality. And the variety of photographs was excellent for illustration.
Aug 15, 2013 Naomi rated it really liked it
Read my full review:

My opinion: Although I knew the better chunk of this information already, I loved the first hand accounts and the plentiful pictures the author provided to supplement this well researched book. I love putting a face/name of the Civil War. I have already read several hundred books on the Civil War. This book would be awesome to show the strength of women during this period of time instead of only focusing on Rosy the Riveter from WWII.
Apr 10, 2008 Mardell rated it liked it
Hollywood movies like "Gone with the Wind" glorified the Southern antebellum plantation. Reality, there were few glamorous plantations like Tara. Although not the best historical account, I did get a lot out of it including some referrals for further reading, eg "Wind Done Gone" -- the black version to GWTW.
Jan 24, 2015 Robin rated it really liked it
A good discussion of the Plantation Myth and the women who were caught up in it. The Tara immortalized in film is a depiction of a myth of southern living. This book explores how and why that myth has come about and how if affected forever how we saw the prewar and war years.
Oct 21, 2010 Erin rated it it was ok
This book discusses the reality of plantation life both for white and slave women during the antebellum and reconstruction eras. It was interesting, but seemed to take a long time and lot of words to convey the ideas. I enjoyed the personal histories it included from women of the time. It appears life wasn't quite as romantic as I like to envision...but I do think I knew that already. :)
Patricia Nickols
Dec 26, 2012 Patricia Nickols rated it really liked it
Shelves: civil-war
n interesting book written on the social and economical changes women in the south went through during the course of the Civil War. Many went through so much, from losing famliy members to practically starving and how they changed as women and how that then affected their society at the close of the war and through reconstruction.
Jun 04, 2009 Aly rated it liked it
The author uses primary sources and includes lots of photographs to dissect the myth of the plantation and the southern belle. Lots of interesting things to learn here about southern plantations, slavery, and the Civil War from the perspective of women. Includes foreword by renowned historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Nov 28, 2007 Graceann rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: History Lovers
Shelves: history
In-depth examination of the myths of the plantation mistress, mammy and southern belle as seen at the time of the Civil War and through to the present day. Very interesting, and dispels a lot of misconceptions.
Nov 03, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Catherine Clinton offers a refreshing take on Southern Women's roles in the South during a time of conflict. She shows how powerful they were and not the shrieking violets that they're portrayed as.
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Professor of history at Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Specializes in American history, African-American history, the Civil War, and women's history. Previously taught at Brandeis and Harvard universities. Born in 1952, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. Studied sociology and history at Harvard, earned a master's degree from Sussex and a doctorate from Princeton.
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