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The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil…

The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution…

by Bruce Levine

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Although the book provided a lot of information gleaned from the writings of individuals during the Civil War, the book just seemed like it took forever to get through - I read a lot of non-fiction, especially books dealing with war time, but this one I seemed to struggle with. Also, although after going back and looking at the jacket and some online information, I was surprised to see this book covered only the Civil War period in the south and did not cover any changes in the south much beyond the end of the war. I guess I was expecting, based on the subtitle of "the Social Revolution That Transformed the South" that there would be more coverage of the true social revolution in the south that has taken place in the 150 years since the end of the war - but that time period was not covered. Not a criticism of the book as I should have looked at the description ahead of time.... ( )
  highlander6022 | Mar 11, 2018 |
Wonderful addition to the study of the social history of the Civil War. ( )
  scatlett | Nov 28, 2016 |
A much different perspective on the Civil War, focusing on slavery and Southern Whites' relationship to it. Levine makes clear, as do some other recent books, that slavery was the reason for the civil war and that the post-war Southern revisionist view of the war as a fight for states rights was nonsense. As this narrative shows, however, Southern planters (the largest slaveholders) certainly did employ states' rights as a reason not to heed the Confederate Government's calls to provide slaves to help the army, build fortifications, and in the last resort, become soldiers. In each case, the large planters reacted with fury about an over-reaching government taking their personal property! The author shows that the breakdown of the slave system within the South as invading Northern armies caused slaveholders to flee, losing most of their slaves in the process, was a major factor in the hard fought and overlong Union path to victory. Levine also shows how an overly forgiving North handed their lands back to the large slaveholders or to Northern entrepreneurs who hired ex-slave labor at rock bottom prices and began the exploitation that lasted, in its worse form, for perhaps a hundred years.

If you are worn out on the Civil War and Civil War books, you should still pick up this one and have your eyes opened a bit. ( )
  datrappert | Nov 20, 2016 |
Really enjoyable read about how Southern culture and social structures affected the Civil War. Lots of anecdotes mixed in with the statistics to keep things interesting! ( )
  mrlzbth | Feb 7, 2014 |
5115. The Fall of the House of Dixie The Civil War and the Social Revolution That Transformed the South, by Bruce Levine (read 27 Jan 2014) I have read a lot on the Civil War but do not consider myself a Civil War buff. I do not think it was really necessary to read this book, but it struck me as probably an interesting book to read, and I was not wrong. It tells the story of the war from the standpoint of its effect on slavery. It shows conclusively what I have long known--the cause of the war was the desire to maintain slavery in the South. There can be no doubt of that. As usual, it was satisfying to read of the last days of the war, and that those who sought to maintain slavery had to face the truth in regard to the evil thereof and that it would be abolished despite the fact they thought such abolishment would be bad for them. It is true that in the years after the war the losers managed, after a time, to throttle the blacks of the South, but though it took a hundred years even that effort was eventually overcome. The book is carefully researched and fully footnoted, with an excellent bibliography. ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | Jan 27, 2014 |
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Decades after the Civil War ended, Katherine Stone recalled the "gay, busy life" she led at Brokenburn, her family's 1,200-acre plantation in prewar Louisiana.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, southern writers and politicians boasted often -- and with considerable justification -- that their states were the richest, most socially stable, and most politically powerful in the United States as a whole (Introduction)
The House of Dixie was an imposing thing indeed.  (Chapter One)
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In this major new history of the Civil War, Bruce Levine tells the riveting story of how that conflict upended the economic, political, and social life of the old South, utterly destroying the Confederacy and the society it represented and defended. Told through the words of the people who lived it, The Fall of the House of Dixie illuminates the way a war undertaken to preserve the status quo became a second American Revolution whose impact on the country was as strong and lasting as that of our first.

In 1860 the American South was a vast, wealthy, imposing region where a small minority had amassed great political power and enormous fortunes through a system of forced labor. The South’s large population of slaveless whites almost universally supported the basic interests of plantation owners, despite the huge wealth gap that separated them. By the end of 1865 these structures of wealth and power had been shattered. Millions of black people had gained their freedom, many poorer whites had ceased following their wealthy neighbors, and plantation owners were brought to their knees, losing not only their slaves but their political power, their worldview, their very way of life. This sea change was felt nationwide, as the balance of power in Congress, the judiciary, and the presidency shifted dramatically and lastingly toward the North, and the country embarked on a course toward equal rights.

Levine captures the many-sided human drama of this story using a huge trove of diaries, letters, newspaper articles, government documents, and more. In The Fall of the House of Dixie, the true stakes of the Civil War become clearer than ever before, as slaves battle for their freedom in the face of brutal reprisals; Abraham Lincoln and his party turn what began as a limited war for the Union into a crusade against slavery by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation; poor southern whites grow increasingly disillusioned with fighting what they have come to see as the plantation owners’ war; and the slave owners grow ever more desperate as their beloved social order is destroyed, not just by the Union Army, but also from within. When the smoke clears, not only Dixie but all of American society is changed forever.

Brilliantly argued and engrossing, The Fall of the House of Dixie is a sweeping account of the destruction of the old South during the Civil War, offering a fresh perspective on the most colossal struggle in our history and the new world it brought into being.

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In this major new history of the Civil War, Bruce Levine tells the riveting story of how that conflict upended the economic, political, and social life of the old South, utterly destroying the Confederacy and the society it represented and defended.

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