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Fanny Kemble's Civil Wars

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  45 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
A British stage star turned Georgia plantation mistress, Fanny Kemble is perhaps best remembered as a critic of slavery--and an influential opponent of this institution during the years leading up to the Civil War. By the mid-1830s, American society was firmly in the grip of Kemble's celebrity as an actress--young ladies adopted "Fanny Kemble curls," a tulip was named in h ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 20th 2001 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2000)
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Annie Oosterwyk
Oct 05, 2013 Annie Oosterwyk rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
My school book club is reading Day of Tears by Julius Lester, so I wanted to get familiar with the back matter. This biography was a great start. The writing was clear and chronological and I was impressed by how many famous people Fanny Kemble had in her circle. The rags to riches to rags cycle was dizzying, but I was left with an impression of how important it was to record the day to day events of life, along with notable political affairs. This was then what reality TV is today.
Fanny Kemble
Sue Tretter
Sep 06, 2014 Sue Tretter rated it it was amazing
I found the book highly readable but others might be turned off by the name-dropping and self-indulgence of Fanny and family.
Within the covers of this book, I found much I hadn't known about the day-to-day life of owners and slaves of a Civil War era Georgia plantation, some laws and customs governing marriage/divorce, and the lives of the rich and famous. Or in the case of Fanny and many of her family, those who wanted to live the rich-and-famous lifestyle though money was scarce at times. Mos
Colette Byfield
Jul 11, 2015 Colette Byfield rated it it was amazing
This is a very fast-paced book and is drastically different from "Fanny and Adelaide". The author of "Fanny and Adelaide" (reviewed separately) even mentions the differences in the preface of her book.

"Fanny Kemble's Civil Wars" focuses almost exclusively on Fanny's dramatic marriage and divorce to slaveowner, Pierce Butler, her troubled relationship with her daughters, and discusses, in graphic detail, slave conditions on the Pierce Estate and in America.

The writer of this book is sympathetic
This is the amazing life of remarkable and independent nineteenth century British actress Fanny Kemble. As an actress, author, abolitionist and social commentator, Kemble beguiled thousands and alienated an equal number through her books about the United States, in particular, the South. She knew everyone who was anyone in the U.S. and Europe, was the grandmother of Owen Wister, Jr., author of The Virginian and in her old age was Henry James' best friend. Kemble lived fully and reported much of ...more
Layla Gravely
Good until the last few chapters. Then it was just rambling on.
Feb 26, 2014 Deb rated it really liked it
Getting to know Fanny Kemble was an educational and interesting experience. Liked reading about her perspective of the American Civil War. I had not thought to delve into the opinions of other countries on the war. Amazing the various "luminaries" she meets during the course of her life. Now I have to read Fanny's publications!
Kathryn Hall
Jun 24, 2013 Kathryn Hall rated it it was amazing
Simply excellent. This is my third Catherine Clinton book in the last two months. Her biographies of Harriet Tubman and Mary Lincoln were so well written I was inspired to read the story of Fanny Kemble, about whom I knew nothing. As I am presently steeping myself in Civil War history this turned out to be an excellent and revealing choice. Highly recommended.
Amy Ridenour
Sep 01, 2013 Amy Ridenour rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating biography - it makes me want to read Fanny Kemble's works. This biography reads like a novel and gives a nice illustration of the 19th century.
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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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