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A Year in the South: 1865: The True Story of Four Ordinary People Who Lived Through the Most Tumultuous Twelve Months in American History
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A Year in the South: 1865: The True Story of Four Ordinary People Who Lived Through the Most Tumultuous Twelve Months in American History

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  165 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
A slave determined to gain freedom, a widow battling poverty and despair, a man of God grappling with spiritual and worldly troubles, and a former Confederate soldier seeking a new life. They lived in the South during 1865 -- a year that saw war, disunion, and slavery give way to peace, reconstruction, and emancipation.

Between January and December 1865, these four people w
...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 11th 2004 by Harper Perennial (first published November 1st 2002)
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Community Reviews

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Jeanette
May 12, 2015 Jeanette rated it it was amazing
There's no way I could give this other than a 5. The research, the sources, the first person diary narrative connected, and the organizational skill to the material exposed was masterful.

We have 4 different Southern USA individuals recording their daily movements and living arrangements for the entire year of 1865, divided into four three month increments. So you read the history of each individual for each season of the year. After 1865 has ended the author gives biography synopsis for the rema
...more
Myles
Aug 08, 2015 Myles rated it really liked it
Writing history for a broad audience can be difficult, but is never impossible. Steven Ash uses a creative approach to tackle the end of the Civil War with A Year in the South 1865. He acknowledges in the preface that he forfeits any claim of comprehensiveness in focusing on only four Southern individuals, but he gains a lot in narrative. In his choice of subjects: a slave, Louis Hughes; a Confederate widow, Cornelia McDonald; a middle-aged minister and son of a planter, Samuel Agnew; and a refo ...more
Christopher Walls
Mar 05, 2015 Christopher Walls rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Quick read and a good look and ordinary folks during the American Civil War.
Lucy
Aug 24, 2013 Lucy rated it really liked it
Excellent first hand historical accounts.
Remington Krueger
Apr 15, 2015 Remington Krueger rated it really liked it
The book was not written about a subject that I am overly interested in. That being said, the style of the book was very unique. I have not encountered a book that has taken this approach to recounting history through four perspectives season by season. The book provides a glimpse of four very different walks of life in the immediate postbellum period. The pov are that of a successful slave, a high class woman who is relegated to poverty, a confederate soldier turned religious scholar, and a min ...more
Kristin Huston
Aug 05, 2015 Kristin Huston rated it it was amazing
Shelves: civil-war
After the war has ended,what then? This book gives us a bit of information about the post war lives of 4 people in different places in the South. Most books about the Civil War focus on the battles, soldiers, and politicians. This tells us about how the lives of the people were affected by the aftermath of war on their home grounds.
Aaron Elliott
Feb 22, 2016 Aaron Elliott rated it liked it
A Year in the South was a good book. Keeping it from being a great book, was lack of suspense. The care and love of the material is evident in the author's handling, but most of the book was "all dressed up with no place to go." The concept of this book grabbed me but didn't keep me in its grasp. The narrative of the war widow was by far the most compelling of the four voices. I never got the feeling of the South having just been destroyed. I needed some desperation, some pluck, some fortitude.
Terri
Jan 25, 2011 Terri rated it it was amazing
An excellent book that follows the lives of four individuals during the end of the Civil War and reconstruction of a new United States. The four voices featured are from the writings of a slave, widowed women with children, Confederate solder and Southern Minister. Each person details their trials, faith, joys, sorrows, and view of the nation as it tries to heal and move forward. This book highlights the personal and political, social and racial, culture of the North and South, in a captivation ...more
T
Feb 26, 2012 T added it
Shelves: stupid-books
I honestly could not finish this book. I completely understand the need to use footnotes and bibios so we don't confuse previously written words for an author's 'new' words, but this guy has it all wrong. There were so many inane footnotes (seriously, this is just one example: On Sunday mornings there were Bible lessons for the little ones, after which the whole clan marched off together to church.(52) page 44.) It was ridiculous. I stopped 3 months into the Year In the South. Bleck!!
Mslogar
Aug 25, 2012 Mslogar rated it really liked it
A story "told" by four different people who lived through the tumultuous year 1865-- based on actual diaries, letters, and other info gathered on these people. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learning about the year from the viewpoint of a Confederate widow, a minister, a slave, and rebel. I learned quite a bit about the south and the year after the war that I had never known.
Dara
May 30, 2010 Dara rated it liked it
Shelves: history, reviewed
Taken from diaries and memoirs, this is the account of four ordinary people on the home front of the Confederacy, and how they suffered and survived through the last year of the Civil War. Especially touching were the tales of Cornelia McDonald, a nearly destitute war widow, and Louis Hughes, a resourceful slave, who rescues his family from a grasping slave holder.
Bonnie Walker
Jul 26, 2015 Bonnie Walker rated it liked it
Well researched and informative but I found it to be boring.
Terry
Mar 24, 2010 Terry rated it liked it
This was so interesting to step into the lives of four Southerners at the end of the War - the lowest time for the South. I am intrigued by how they each came out of that and were changed forever. I was wishing for even more detail into to their daily lives.
Bryan
This book perfectly marries the 1st hand accounts of 4 individuals to the broader context of what was happening in the South, as well as the entire nation, at the end of and immediately after, the Civil War. An easy read, but a powerful one.
Kathy
Sep 02, 2009 Kathy rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of diary transcriptions from four very different people who experience the Civil War and its aftermath. I loved it. The descriptions of Knoxville were of particular interest to me.
Gloria
Nov 29, 2011 Gloria rated it really liked it
Vastly informative and interestingly written on the day-in, day-out lives of 4 decidedly different people.
Whenever I think my life is "hard," I will remind myself to reread this book.
Jessica Jewett
Mar 25, 2015 Jessica Jewett rated it it was amazing
I found this book very useful in my research. The people featured came from a variety of backgrounds.
Grant
Sep 29, 2009 Grant rated it really liked it
4 great stories that stir a mixture of emotions and reactions
Paige Henson
Jun 19, 2012 Paige Henson rated it it was amazing
Stayed up until 3 a.m. ( midweek!) to finish this book.
Daniel
Feb 13, 2008 Daniel rated it really liked it
A book about the South...what more can I say.
Linda
Mar 26, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 1800-s
Very well done and very interesting
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