Book Review Wade Hampton: Confederate Warrior to Southern Redeemer by Rod Andrew

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Drew

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Has anyone else read this book? What did you think of it?
Yes, I have. Normally, I count on you, @Pat Young , to show us what was. You haven't done so here, unfortunately.

Rob Andrew's book is way deeper than your "review" implies. I'm not going to do it tonight, but this is a marker, I'm challenging you on each of your posts.

You chose to leave out what he said in his preface and shame on you for that. You also chose to leave out what he said about many of the issues you yourself have invoked.

Rob Andrew's book was not written to wag a finger at slavery, but to understand a man who lived in the middle of the 19th century. We'll use his text to show this, moving forward.

Stay tuned...
 
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Drew

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"For some academic readers (that's you @Pat Young), my use of the term 'paternalism' will prove the most problematic. I am aware that a growing body of current scholarship treats claims of the southern master class to be paternalistic providers as masks for oppression."

- Source: Rob Andrew, Wade Hampton; Confederate Warrior to Southern Redeemer, p. xi
 
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Patrick H

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I somehow missed all of this in the spring. Thanks for this, Pat. This next bit means nothing, except that it's a coincidence. Years ago I had a friend of my father's generation who was named for Wade Hampton. The gentleman was immensely proud of this fact. Oddly, at the time I met him I had never heard of his namesake. That came quite a bit later.
 
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Pat Young

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And it's dismaying when the 10% addressed is 'cherry picked' to advance the reviewer's agenda.
A book review is not a chapter by chapter recounting or synopsis of a book.

Generally, in my experience, "book reviews" take several forms:

1. The "Book Report"-We are all familiar with these from elementary and middle school. These are brief summaries of the book's author's plot or thesis, perhaps with a short assessment by the reviewer.
2. The daily newspaper review-These are similar to a movie review in a regional newspaper. They are typically 500-1000 words long and are primarily aimed at letting a reader know if he or she will like the book. They are a sort of consumer's guide to the book.
3. The weekly newspaper book review supplement style review-These are found in supplements like the New York Times Book Review-They are longer-form, typically 1,000-2,500 words long. While they focus on the book under consideration, they often also introduce information from outside the book. They also may focus, in historical works, on the subject of the book and not just the book itself.
4. Academic Reviews-Generally written by an academic expert on the subject matter that is the focus of the book. Written for credentialed specialists.
5. Long Form Reviews-Found in periodicals like the New York Review of Books. These discuss the subject of the book generally, as well as the book itself. These reviews are often 3,000-5,000 words.

Most of my reviews are of the third and fifth types.
 

Patrick H

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A book review is not a chapter by chapter recounting or synopsis of a book.

Generally, in my experience, "book reviews" take several forms:

1. The "Book Report"-We are all familiar with these from elementary and middle school. These are brief summaries of the book's author's plot or thesis, perhaps with a short assessment by the reviewer.
2. The daily newspaper review-These are similar to a movie review in a regional newspaper. They are typically 500-1000 words long and are primarily aimed at letting a reader know if he or she will like the book. They are a sort of consumer's guide to the book.
3. The weekly newspaper book review supplement style review-These are found in supplements like the New York Times Book Review-They are longer-form, typically 1,000-2,500 words long. While they focus on the book under consideration, they often also introduce information from outside the book. They also may focus, in historical works, on the subject of the book and not just the book itself.
4. Academic Reviews-Generally written by an academic expert on the subject matter that is the focus of the book. Written for credentialed specialists.
5. Long Form Reviews-Found in periodicals like the New York Review of Books. These discuss the subject of the book generally, as well as the book itself. These reviews are often 3,000-5,000 words.

Most of my reviews are of the third and fifth types.
Earlier, I was going to say that your sections read more or less like a synopsis. At least, they strike me that way. I should add that I think that's really nice.
 
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For the records, I read it. I got it in early 2017, many many weeks after ordering it. As I occasionally cross-read several history books at once and alternatively have phases where I don´t read any at all and thus extend my reading list; I for some reason stopped around 1868, maybe being a little reluctant to get deeper into post-war state politics as that is totally not my field of studies. However, currently having a reading phase (also as my computer is down), I took it up again and continued over the last week, having finished two days ago (now reading the much shorter President Lincoln's Recruiter: General Lorenzo Thomas and the United States Colored Troops in the Civil War). I stumbled over Hampton pretty early in my ACW studies. And I grew to like him as a general, being one of those to favor him over Stuart. And at some point I came to this book.

Being just my purely subjective, and definitely non-academic, thoughts and opinions about the book. With Hampton we have a prominent figure both during and long after the war with loads of material availalble; reports, correspondence, official records and newspapers from both South Carolina and beyond. Lots of stuff to be included in a nice heavy book that can, after reading, be used to balance a table or for self defence. Not speaking against the book at all, I really liked it.

The parts about the family are really interesting. We are fortunate to have that much personnal correspondence (and occasional news or records) available. From the various Wades, from the nefarious/oppertunistic (the other American Dream personified) up to the one the book is about (and beyond with Wade IV). From the really tragic case of the abused sisters, which was solved in so much as it wasn´t at all. Because while female honor of course means family honor it is still subjective to the former and if it becomes a problem for that it suddenly is worth nothing at all. To the losses in war and peace, both material and very much personal, up to the dog vanishing in the old Hampton´s house (along with his eyebrows when he ran back into the house trying to save him, and apaprently other stuff).

The wartime years are the easy part of the book, using lots of correspondence for details and being the enjoyable civil war part.

As @Pat Young said there are some central positions, values or reasons that the author emphasises a lot, which can get a little repetitive as not just the same content but also the exact words and expressions are repeated - I think not just by the dozens but by the hundreds. The reader simply has to deal with it. Mr. Andrew came to that conclusion and he has the good right to do so, be it with our approval or not. His book, his opinion. I think it often is impossible to get answers on people´s reasons and values as they either didn´t leave them in writing or kept that on a level either superficial or still not carving deep enough - ideals and realpolitI think that the book does not say that he was perfect, with that goal it would be an utter failure. He was complex, the issues were complex - the books isn´t why to call him a racist but isn´t shy to follow that with a "but". As it is a historical view into another time were the same words didn´t have exactly the same meanings, needing context, the buts are important. Complex, aye?

The book speaks of values, though, and depicts him in a rather favorable light. As said, it is complex. Hero worshipping, idols and glorious days of a perfect past seldomly stand the test of time if unfalsified and unmystified information (or in ideal cases proper records) is preserved and available - a fact that the last decades have emphasized when it comes to the civil war and the antebellum. Bigly, if some presidential language is allowed. Beside the repeated points it shows Hamton as a moderate in a world of extremes. It depicts him personally not as Messiah (though the word is used) and I think that it is understood that by modern standards he would fare less. But modern standards can be superficial as well and often are when looking backwards - Hampton is shown as about the best a flawed class in an flawed society with a flawed honor system have to offer. In a political sense this is also made very clear not just as "lesser evil" in comparison to the other players like Gary, Tillmann or partially Chamberlain (or Hammond for that matter) but by looking both to personalities, political positions and respective actions. There are voices against Hampton in the book, not just from direct political enemies but also from countless newspapers, though their points are mostly shown as wrong (be that with or without intent). I agree that the African-American perspective is both limited and rather one-sided about Hampton. However I simply don´t know if negative opinions have been written down and preserved when it comes to Hampton in person. No doubt about the horrible times and tribulations for them though. What I think could have been more fleshed out as well were his official doings and positions while being governor and senator.

As said before post-war state politics aren´t my thing but as it is kept about Hampton or at least gives related and really needed (at least for me) background it stays interesting. The tone is, as said, very pro-Hampton. I´d think writing detailed book about Hampton`s whole life with a really negative conclusion would very difficult (also why should anybody want to write negative books?). Of course it could have been more critical about him, but in the end without giving more (or different) information this would "just" be another opinion as well. I for one enjoyed the book very much, even the post-war half. It is the only book I read about Hampton so far so I cannot compare it to others. Perfect? No, just like the subject. But interesting (just like the subject).

EDIT: What I forgot, the portrayal of the Republican state government is also pretty one-sided, to the negative. I´m not sure how correct that is, and corruption clearly wasn´t limited to them. Probably both a simplification and a focus as the book is about Hampton and his part and perception; and not politics in general.
 
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