William L. Beiswanger, Peter J. Hatch, Lucia Stanton, Susan R. Stein. Thomas Jefferson's Monticello . Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002. xxi + 218 pp. $45.00 (hardcover).
The dust jacket to this magnificent book would have especially interested Thomas Jefferson, for it is an aerial view of his house and the surrounding lawns, gardens, and fields-a view that he never enjoyed in his lifetime. There are a few other aerial views among the 225 color photographs, but, on the whole, it is thoroughly grounded. The book's authors, each a member of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation's talented scholarly staff, are experts in their respective fields, and for their essays they also draw on what is now decades of comprehensive research under the foundation's aegis about life at Monticello.
The book is also literally grounded by its emphasis on Monticello as an agricultural community. The gardens gave (and still give) pleasure with flowering annuals and perennials, fragrant herbs, and trees of all sorts. Jefferson was also the master of a plantation where slave laborers produced tobacco, corn, and other crops. This approach avoids the risk that the photographs of the interiors of Monticello and the beautiful objects with which Jefferson decorated his house (described effectively by Stein) would mislead readers into thinking of it as a static, antiseptic monument.
Indeed, there is a two-page spread by painter G. B. McIntosh illustrating typical activities in the house-with Jefferson, his family, their visitors, and the numerous slaves collectively making the place bustle. And yet, Monticello is also Thomas Jefferson's very personal creation, and the book reveals the man through his design for the house, the objects he collected for it, and the experimental gardens that surround it.
The book is worthy of its subject. The essays are substantial works of scholarship, which the book's designer, Gibson Design Associates, incorporated smoothly into the -illustration-heavy format of a coffee-table book. Short illustrated chapters on subjects such as Jefferson's family, the slaves' gardens, wine at Monticello, and so on, separate the essays and add to the book's appeal.
- reviewed by John T. Kneebone, Director, Division of Publications and Educational Services
Ellen McCallister Clark, Martha Washington: A Brief Biography . Mount Vernon: Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, 2002. 61 pp. $9.95 (softcover).
Helen Bryan, Martha Washington: First Lady of Liberty . New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002. xiii + 417 pp. $30.00 (hardcover).
The first First Lady of the United States, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, is receiving a great deal of well-deserved attention these days, what with two new biographies already here and one reportedly on the way from historian Patricia Brady.
For Martha Washington: A Brief Biography , a succinct and slender paperback, Ellen MacAllister Clark expanded and revised her introduction to Joseph E. Fields' "Worthy Partner": The Papers of Martha Washington (1994). The result is a thorough, straightforward account of Washington's life, enhanced by a small but choice selection of illustrations. Forty-seven pages of text are bolstered with seventy-three endnotes and a bibliography. The book is published by the keepers of Washington's home, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, and distributed by the University of Virginia Press. This new arrangement will bring a variety of scholarship about the Washingtons to interested readers.
In the second book, Martha Washington: First Lady of Liberty , author Helen Bryan covers the same ground at considerably more length. Bryan is a London barrister who was born in Virginia. Her biography is comprehensive and detailed. The supporting cast is fascinating and important to history: George Washington, Abigail and John Adams, Virginians named Bassett and Fairfax, the extended Custis and Washington families (including Martha's children, grandchildren, and a wide circle of other kinfolk), and the enslaved African Americans.
One intriguing figure is identified as a half-sister to Martha, a woman named Ann Dandridge Costin, who reportedly was the child of Martha's father and an enslaved woman of black and Indian heritage. Other people on the fringe appear from time to time, such as George Washington's rumored illegitimate children, black and white, and women with whom he supposedly had extramarital liaisons.
Any biography should certainly discuss such issues, but here one limitation of Bryan's book emerges: the paucity of documentation. For example, four substantial paragraphs about Ann Dandridge in Chapter 14 are not bolstered by a single endnote. Only ten notes, in fact, accompany the entire ten-page chapter. The text also contains a great deal of speculation about things that Martha may have done or said. Unless backed up by substantial sources, this approach treads on thin historical ice.
Another limitation emerges when the author discusses the late eighteenth century and slips into idioms and customs of the late twentieth century. References to "dysfunctional" families and George Washington's "reckless good-old-boy courage" and Elvis-Presley--like charisma brought this reader to a screeching halt. The eye also stumbles over repetitions, such as frequent mentions of the reported drunkenness and unreliability of Mount Vernon's overseers, and over a whopper of a misspelling-"Hemming," instead of the correct "Hemings" when referring to Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson's slave and probable mistress.
Keeping these things in mind, the reader will find Bryan's book readable and informative and will learn a great deal about Martha Washington and her times. Those seeking a thorough historical analysis, however, should await Patricia Brady's forthcoming biography.
- reviewed by Julie A. Campbell
Thomas E. Buckley, S. J. The Great Catastrophe of My Life: Divorce in the Old Dominion . Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002. xi + 346 pp. $59.95 (hardcover), $19.95 (softcover).
Before 1851, Virginians seeking divorces had to petition the General Assembly. Despite compelling testimony supporting their requests, petitioners were often refused by a legislature reluctant to dissolve the marriage bond. Thomas Buckley's The Great Catastrophe of My Life: Divorce in the Old Dominion examines these petitions and legislative divorce in Virginia. Divided into three sections, the work discusses the framework in which the petitions were made, presents the reasons divorces were requested, and provides a case study of a particular divorce.
In the first section, Buckley places divorce in a political and religious context. A conservative legislature viewed marriage as the linchpin of a stable, republican, religious society and therefore did not want to grant divorces without strong reason. Petitioners provided that strong reason with plenty of testimony, evidence, affidavits, and depositions, but still found their petitions denied and divorces not granted. Families and localities, however, often recognized de facto divorces when the state legislature refused to grant de jure ones. Husbands and wives who failed to receive a legislative petition on grounds of adultery, desertion, or abuse might remarry without social stigma within their communities.
The second section examines the broad reasons for divorce. Interracial sexual relations, adultery, physical abuse, desertion, or a combination of these were the usual grounds. A double standard existed regarding interracial relations, with men benefiting if they could prove their wives had illicit relations with non-white males. Adultery and desertion were sometimes successful reasons, provided the petitioner had made no attempt to reconcile with his or her spouse. Women had a more difficult time getting a divorce unless they could prove severe physical abuse; doing so improved their chances for divorce but did not guarantee it. Buckley reiterates that localities and families at times recognized divorces even if the legislature did not.
The last section of Buckley's work is a case study of the marriage and divorce of Sally McDowell and Francis Thomas, whom McDowell married despite her parents' reservations. Soon afterwards, James McDowell, Sally's father, became governor of Virginia, and Thomas became governor of Maryland. The private difficulties between the Thomases became public and resulted in a physical confrontation between the two governors. The marriage ended in a sensational divorce and trial. Thomas ruined his reputation with attacks upon his wife, and McDowell's family rallied to support her. Overcoming the social stigma of divorce, she later met and married John Miller, a Presbyterian minister. Supported by his fellow clergymen, Miller overcame dismissal from his Philadelphia congregation to continue his career. The Millers had a successful marriage, strengthened by their hardships while courting.
The Great Catastrophe of My Life is an insightful look into legislative divorce in the Old Dominion. Buckley deftly draws upon the divorce petitions in the Library of Virginia, the journals of the state assembly, and private sources to create an informative, interesting work.
- reviewed by Trenton Hizer, Senior Finding Aids Archivist
John Alexander Williams, Appalachia : A History. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002. xviii + 473 pp. $49.95 (hardcover), $19.95 (softcover).
A professor of history at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, Williams has researched and published other works on Appalachia. In this informative and readable history, he emphasizes that Appalachia is not so much a region defined by boundaries as a "zone of interaction" between people and the land that accommodates the fluidity of the region's history. In his introduction, Williams quickly reviews the concept of Appalachia as a "territory of images," a "distinctive and important regional variant of American culture," and a mental construct.
The focus of the book is the regional core of 164 counties in six states-Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. Williams traces the history of Appalachia from the days of contact between native peoples and European explorers to the turn of the twenty-first century.
The Appalachian Studies Association and other scholarly groups study Appalachian culture not only to document the folk culture, but also to chart the changes in the region as its economy and population changed. Extensive footnotes, a bibliography, and a hefty index to nearly 400 pages of text make this a substantial piece of scholarship that features the human history of the residents of Appalachia, in Virginia and its neighboring states.
- reviewed by Barbara Batson, Exhibitions Coordinator
Clarita S. Anderson, American Coverlets and Their Weavers: Coverlets from the Collection of Foster and Muriel McCarl . Athens: Ohio University Press in association with Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 2002. xiv + 247 pp. $39.95 (hardcover).
American Coverlets and Their Weavers is a useful book for several reasons. First, it is a catalog of one of the premier private collections of American coverlets, that of the McCarls, which began almost by accident in 1959. Second, the book provides a handy biographical dictionary of over 700 coverlet weavers. For the latter reason, the book will be a necessary acquisition for collectors and collections of reference sources on textile and decorative arts.
Woven coverlets and patchwork quilts are two types of household objects that can give us a sense of the color of pre-twentieth century American life. Too often, our images of the past come to us through faded black-and-white or sepia photographs. This book provides clear, color photographs of the full-size coverlets. In addition, there is an excellent detail of each coverlet, which illustrates its pattern, color, weaving technique, or some other feature.
The book is written with both the textile connoisseur and the general reader in mind. The essays will enlighten readers at both levels. Descriptive essays with historical documentation accompany each coverlet. The documentation immediately distinguishes this book from similar works devoted to American quilts. Several observations can be made as a result. For one, almost exclusively men made coverlets; there is only one documented woman weaver. For another, coverlets were made commercially, whereas quilts were typically homemade and not intended for sale. Third, as the author notes, the production of coverlets radically declined following the American Civil War.
The coverlets are presented by state of origin, although this organization is not explained in the introductory materials nor is it obvious in the table of contents. The geographical range covers the Middle Atlantic States, with most examples from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, and only one documented Virginia/West Virginia example. A geographical index to accompany the biographical dictionary of weavers would have been helpful. Nonetheless, this book is highly recommended for browsing collections, as well as for textile reference and research collections.
- reviewed by Tom H. Ray, Cataloging Coordinator
Susan H. Godson, Serving Proudly: A History of Women in the U.S. Navy . Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 2002. xvi + 453 pp. $38.95 (hardcover).
Women have been called everything-yeomanettes, lady sailors, petticoat pets, lady hell cats, skirt Marines, and worse. "I never did like this 'ette' business," bellowed Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, who ordered the admission of women to the service in 1917. "If a woman does the job, she ought to have the name of the job." "These women," Rear Admiral Samuel McGowan agreed, "are as much a part of the Navy as the men who have enlisted."
In Serving Proudly , Susan H. Godson, a resident of Williamsburg, has taken on a daunting task-to write a history of women's naval service in the United States. Women commonly sailed on whaling, merchant, and pirate ships, and volunteered as nurses in national conflicts, beginning with the American Revolution. The first documented navy nurses, Mary Allen and Mary Marshall, were wives of crewmen on Stephen Decatur's frigate United States.
Nearly 35,000 American women served overseas during World War I: 21,000 enlisted in the U.S. Army and Navy Nurse Corps; 13,000 joined the Navy Active Reserves and the Marine Corps to perform clerical work; and more than 200 were deployed to Europe with the Army Signal Corps as telephone operators. Some 1,071 women enlisted in the Naval Reserve were from Virginia. They treated patients, took dictation, fried doughnuts, drove ambulances, and operated switchboards. All, except members of the Navy Nurse Corps, were discharged from active duty immediately after the war ended.
Serving Proudly tells the story of these path-breaking women through World War II and Korea to Vietnam and the Persian Gulf. The book was commissioned by the Naval Historical Center, which has previously published several titles on women in the service. Godson works chronologically, devoting sections of each of the book's eleven chapters to the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and the Navy Nurse Corps.
An extensive bibliography, footnotes, an index, and sixty illustrations round out the volume. An epilogue briefly addresses the Tailhook scandal and the status of women at the Naval Academy, but coverage of events since 1990 is slight, given the scarcity of available documentary sources. The scholarly text would have benefited by including more of the words of the women themselves from letters, diaries, and interviews. Instead we hear men's opinions of women's naval service-reflecting the ongoing fight of female sailors for equal opportunities. Serving Proudly provides a wealth of useful reference material and would be helpful to those interested in the history of women, nursing, and the navy.
- reviewed by Jennifer Davis McDaid, Archives Research Coordinator
Alexander S. Leidholdt, Editor for Justice: The Life of Louis I. Jaffé . Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2002. xv + 507 pp. $49.95 (hardcover).
In his previous book, Standing Before the Shouting Mob: Lenoir Chambers and Virginia's Massive Resistance to Public-School Integration , Alexander Leidholdt wrote about the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot editor who received a Pulitzer Prize in 1960 for his five-year editorial campaign opposing Virginia's massive resistance to school integration. Leidholdt's new book, Editor for Justice , focuses on Chambers' predecessor, Louis I. Jaffé, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1929 for his anti-lynching editorial campaign. By drawing on Jaffé's own experiences with injustice and prejudice as a Jew, Leidholdt instills personal meaning into Jaffé's crusade while providing a complex portrait of one of the South's leading liberal and Jewish journalists.
The book begins with the chilling tale of the brutal lynching of Raymond Bird, a Wytheville farmhand and father of three, accused of raping two young white women and fondling their twelve year-old sister. This and other acts of Virginia mob justice motivated Jaffé to spawn a series of dynamic editorial barrages criticizing the Wytheville citizenry, targeting the advocacy of newly elected governor Harry Byrd Sr. and other Virginia lawmakers, and culminating in the passage of Virginia's anti-lynching bill on March 14, 1928. For his efforts, Jaffé was awarded the Pulitzer Prize the next year. Until his death in 1950, he continued to utilize his editorial position to lobby successfully for civil rights and civil liberties in Virginia and the Southeast.
Leidholdt's focus rests not only on Jaffé's professional and political actions but also on the influence of his often-painful personal life on his public career. The book contains depictions of the anti-Semitism he and his Lithuanian-American parents faced in turn-of-the-century Michigan and Durham, North Carolina, and of injustices he suffered as a soldier during World War I.
The author also includes a detailed discussion of his taxing and strained first marriage to Margaret Davis. The erratic behavior of Margaret, a diagnosed schizophrenic, caused lasting effects, evidenced not only by their divorce but also in the estrangement of their son from his father. Leidholdt's exploration of these character-shaping events help to humanize Jaffé while also providing an ethical background for the actions and words of an otherwise over-ambitious editor.
This historical narrative benefits tremendously from meticulous research into a number of primary and secondary sources. Leidholdt draws extensively from interviews, newspapers, and personal papers, such as the Harry F. Byrd Sr. Papers at the Library of Virginia and the Louis I. Jaffé Papers at the University of Virginia. As a result, Editor for Justice instantly becomes an important contribution to the historiography of Virginia's Jewish and civil-rights history.
- reviewed by Alex Lorch, Private Papers Archivist
David E. Johnson, Douglas Southall Freeman . Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican Publishing Company, 2002. 476 pp. $27.50 (hardcover).
Douglas Southall Freeman (1886-1953) was one of the most famous and influential Virginians of the first half of the twentieth century. Editor of the Richmond News Leader from 1915 to 1949, he held a Ph.D. in history and wrote multi-volume, Pulitzer prize--winning biographies of Robert E. Lee and George Washington. He composed thousands of editorials, gave hundreds of speeches, spoke twice a day on a Richmond radio station, and taught journalism at Columbia University. Freeman also wrote and kept thousands of letters and a diary that record his professional life and provide valuable insights into his family life. This first biography of the journalist and historian exploits the rich written record to explain how he achieved success.
Author Johnson of Midlothian, Virginia, is a senior counsel to the attorney general of Virginia. He wrote this book with the approval and cooperation of Freeman's family, interviewing friends and relatives and reading just about everything the scholar wrote. To complete the project, he temporarily joined the faculty of the University of Richmond, Freeman's alma mater.
To get a sense of this many-faceted man, Johnson even tried to replicate his subject's famous schedule, whereby Freeman arose at 4:30 A.M. (at the latest) and made effective use of every working hour, to the point of scheduling each day's work down to the minute. Freeman gained national renown as a journalist and an international reputation as a biographer and historian. His four-volume biography of Lee and his three-volume companion set, Lee's Lieutenants , mark a high point in the writing of Civil War military history.
Based on thorough, rigorous scholarship, the books captured and held the field for decades. They presented with maximum force a strong pro-Confederate interpretation of the war. In the opinion of many readers, even though the South lost the Civil War, Freeman's books won the history of the Civil War for the South.
The importance of his distinguished editorial career fades into the past with time, but his influence on the way the Civil War is remembered has already survived him by nearly fifty years. First a historian and second a journalist, Freeman not only would have understood, he probably would have wanted it that way.
- reviewed by Brent Tarter, Editor , Dictionary of Virginia Biography
Civil War Bookshelf
Carol Kettenburg Dubbs, Defend This Old Town: Williamsburg During the Civil War . Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2002. xiii + 406 pp. $49.95 (hardcover).
On March 24, 1862, General Robert E. Lee received the startling news that more than twenty steamers were disembarking Union troops at Old Point Comfort. Soon it was evident that those 35,000 soldiers were but the advance guard of General George McClellan's massive Army of the Potomac. The Union general was determined to pilot his army up the peninsula to Richmond and bring the full weight of his twelve divisions to gain the city's capture. Directly in his path lay the picturesque colonial capital of Virginia, Williamsburg.
Carol Dubbs's gracefully written, comprehensively researched history examines Williamsburg's experiences from the secession crisis to the folding of the flags at Appomattox. She focuses in particular on McClellan's Peninsula Campaign and the townspeople, black and white, Unionist and secessionist, who struggled with the trauma of warfare as the town was overrun by both armies.
The richness of the book derives from the interesting, and sometimes remarkable, persons with whom the author populates her story. Sifting through letters and diaries and other family papers, as well as military records, newspaper accounts, memoirs, articles, and histories, Dubbs has knitted together a narrative that resonates with their voices, creating a convincing portrait of wartime Williamsburg.
One of the book's most fascinating accounts has to do with the controversial Bowden family. Intense political partisans and uncompromising Unionists, Lemuel Bowden and his younger brother Henry were frequently at odds with their neighbors in Williamsburg, a situation that became more volatile as war came. When McClellan took possession of the town, Lemuel was appointed mayor, earning the epithet of traitor. Henry then had to seek refuge in some woods nearby. When McClellan's army retreated, the Bowdens fled with them.
In 1863, Lemuel was elected to the U.S. Senate from the Restored Government at Wheeling, Virginia, and his son was elected the government's attorney general. After the war, African Americans elected Henry to represent Norfolk in the 1867-1868 Constitutional Convention, and his son was later elected to the House of Representatives. By any measure, this family saga constitutes one of the more unusual stories to come out of wartime Virginia and reminds us of the complexities that lie just beneath the convenient historical stereotypes.
Defend This Old Town is the only full-length treatment of Williamsburg during the war years. The volume will please those who enjoy military history and readers who delight in a well-made book.
- reviewed by Don Gunter, Assistant Editor , Dictionary of Virginia Biography
Paul Christopher Anderson, Blood Image: Turner Ashby in the Civil War and the Southern Mind . Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2002. xxii + 258 pp. $34.95 (hardcover).
John Reuben Thompson, a native Richmonder and antebellum editor of the Southern Literary Messenger , eulogized Confederate cavalry commander Turner Ashby as a "hero fit for song and story." After his death in battle, souvenir hunters gathered relics-a lock of his beard, bones from his dead horse-by which to remember the newly made martyr, and a posthumous photograph taken at Port Republic became a haunting, disturbing icon of Confederate sacrifice. In Blood Image , Paul Christopher Anderson explores the legends that grew up around Ashby in life and in death and examines what they meant in Southern and, more generally, in American culture.
Born in Fauquier County on October 23, 1828, Ashby operated a mercantile business before the Civil War. He farmed a small plot of fifty acres and owned ten slaves. In 1853 he helped quell a riot by Irish laborers at Markham Station, an early preparation for the vigilantism he employed to great effect during the Civil War. In the wake of John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, Ashby formally organized a company of local cavalrymen called the Mountain Rangers, which became part of the 7th Regiment Virginia Cavalry in July 1861. His brilliant participation in Stonewall Jackson's Shenandoah Valley campaign won him promotion to brigadier general in May 1862. The charismatic Ashby was killed the next month, on June 6, 1862, in action near Harrisonburg.
Blood Image is not a traditional, chronologically organized biography. Instead, the complex narrative outlines Ashby's life through four topical chapters that examine Ashby as a superior horseman; Ashby as defender of hearth and family; Ashby as the epitome of knightly chivalry, romance, and the natural man; and Ashby as a partisan Confederate warrior. The author demonstrates that Ashby's fame was not the result of postwar, Lost Cause mythmaking. Instead, he became a legend during his lifetime because he embodied ideals valued generally in Victorian America and specifically in the Confederate South.
Anderson consulted an impressive number of primary and secondary sources in his research, many of which were not available to Ashby's previous five biographers. Blood Image is published in Louisiana State University Press's series, Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War, edited by T. Michael Parrish.
- reviewed by Sara B. Bearss, Senior Editor , Dictionary of Virginia Biography
Robert K. Krick, The Smoothbore Volley That Doomed the Confederacy: The Death of Stonewall Jackson and Other Chapters on the Army of Northern Virginia . Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2002. x + 274 pp. $34.95 (hardcover).
With the exception of James I. "Bud" Robertson, Jr., Robert K. Krick is arguably the best known living historian of both Robert E. Lee's famed Army of Northern Virginia and the immortal Stonewall Jackson. The author of fourteen previous books on the Civil War, he demonstrates his broad grasp of both topics in his latest offering.
Krick covers a lot of turf in this collection of ten essays, seven of which have been published previously. He devotes two essays apiece to Lee's primary lieutenants: Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet. Two lesser-known Confederate generals, Maxcy Gregg and Robert E. Rodes, and one cowardly cavalryman, Richard Welby Carter, are also the focus of individual chapters. Krick transports the reader to the Shenandoah Valley campaign of 1864 in another essay to examine the troubles between the cantankerous Jubal Early and the cavalrymen who fought under him. The two remaining essays are devoted to book reviews and how to find and use Confederate records.
Well-written, researched and footnoted, The Smoothbore Volley That Doomed the Confederacy should be a natural addition to any library trying to establish or maintain a substantial Civil War section. Although only the chapters on Rodes, Carter, and Longstreet's 1863 Knoxville campaign are appearing in print for the first time, each of the seven other essays has been revised and expanded for this volume.
- reviewed by Dale F. Harter, Assistant Editor , Virginia Cavalcade
If you think the computer has replaced the printed finding aid as the primary means for locating archival materials, the second edition of A Guide to Church Records in the Library of Virginia might make you think again (Gerald P. Gaidmore, comp., Richmond: Library of Virginia, 2002. x + 188 pp. $20.00 softcover). A revision of the 1981 edition compiled by Jewell T. Clark and Elizabeth Terry Long, the guide provides more than just a listing of church records acquired by the library in the last twenty years. In addition to detailed descriptions of the records, it provides brief histories of each denomination found in Virginia, as well as individual parishes and congregations.
- reviewed by Dale F. Harter, Assistant Editor , Virginia Cavalcade
Louisiana State University Press has become a haven for Virginia poets. It turns out handsome editions of verse that should find their way into as many Virginia libraries as possible. Stephen Cushman, professor of English at the University of Virginia, is the author of Cussing Lesson (2002. 52 pp.). Claudia Emerson publishes Pinion: An Elegy (2002. 55 pp.); she is an assistant professor of English at Mary Washington College. Julia Johnson, an assistant professor of English at Hollins University, is a Henry Hoyns Fellow at the University of Virginia. Her collection is Naming the Afternoon: Poems (2002. 56 pp.) All of the books are $22.95 hardcover, $15.95 softcover.
The trio writes about everything from the Civil War (Cushman's "Skirmish at Rio Hill") to New Orleans (Johnson's "Revisiting Saint Louis Cemetery") to life in a Southern family (Emerson's "Curing Time"). Readers of poetry should be grateful to these gifted writers for their work and to LSU Press for making them available.
- reviewed by Julie A. Campbell