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James Henry Hammond and the Old South: A Design for Mastery
From his birth in 1807 to his death in 1864 as Sherman's troops marched in triumph toward South Carolina, James Henry Hammond witnessed the rise and fall of the cotton kingdom of the Old South. Planter, politician, and partisan of slavery, Hammond built a career for himself that in its breadth and ambition provides a composite portrait of the civilization in which he flour ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published July 1st 1985 by Lsu Press
(first published 1982)
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Great book. As histories go there are a few places where evidence runs thin, but less so that most comparable books on the old south. Hammond's life is the model for southern gentleman mastery and paternalism, and it demonstrates how that ideal is completely impossible. Seriously, modern fiction writers can't make more interesting characters than this historic figure. A must read.
In this extremely well researched and written biography, Faust has painted a picture of a Southern slave owner that gives great incite into the world as Hammond saw it. Rising from humble beginnings to great wealth and fame, Hammond was never happy. Although he resented his father's badgering him which caused him never to be happy with his accomplishments, still he did the same with his own sons. Hammond married for money and position and later admitted that he had made a mistake; that he had ne ...more
This is such a readable -- and beautiful -- biography. Faust chose her subject because he represents in microcosm all of the cultural ambition and misguidance (at least by modern standards) of the Old South. What an achievement. I don't know the entire history of this book -- seems like it might have come out of her Ph.D. dissertation, which must have been a mighty fine one.
This biographical sketch of a South Carolina plantation owner, slave owner, and politician delivers to the reader a deeper understanding of the antebellum mindset and how even those adamantly for the institution of slavery found themselves at odds with their own confederate government during the war.