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Never Surrender: Confederate Memory and Conservatism in the South Carolina Upcountry

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Near Appomattox, during a cease-fire in the final hours of the Civil War, Confederate general Martin R. Gary harangued his troops to stand fast and not lay down their arms. Stinging the soldiers' home-state pride, Gary reminded them that "South Carolinians never surrender." By focusing on a reactionary hotbed within a notably conservative state--South Carolina's hilly west Near Appomattox, during a cease-fire in the final hours of the Civil War, Confederate general Martin R. Gary harangued his troops to stand fast and not lay down their arms. Stinging the soldiers' home-state pride, Gary reminded them that "South Carolinians never surrender." By focusing on a reactionary hotbed within a notably conservative state--South Carolina's hilly western "upcountry"--W. Scott Poole chronicles the rise of a post-Civil War southern culture of defiance whose vestiges are still among us.The society of the rustic antebellum upcountry, Poole writes, clung to a set of values that emphasized white supremacy, economic independence, masculine honor, evangelical religion, and a rejection of modernity. In response to the Civil War and its aftermath, this amorphous tradition cohered into the Lost Cause myth, by which southerners claimed moral victory despite military defeat. It was a force that would undermine Reconstruction and, as Poole shows in chapters on religion, gender, and politics, weave its way into nearly every dimension of white southern life. The Lost Cause's shadow still looms over the South, Poole argues, in contemporary controversies such as those over the display of the Confederate flag. Never Surrender brings new clarity to the intellectual history of southern conservatism and the South's collective memory of the Civil War.


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Near Appomattox, during a cease-fire in the final hours of the Civil War, Confederate general Martin R. Gary harangued his troops to stand fast and not lay down their arms. Stinging the soldiers' home-state pride, Gary reminded them that "South Carolinians never surrender." By focusing on a reactionary hotbed within a notably conservative state--South Carolina's hilly west Near Appomattox, during a cease-fire in the final hours of the Civil War, Confederate general Martin R. Gary harangued his troops to stand fast and not lay down their arms. Stinging the soldiers' home-state pride, Gary reminded them that "South Carolinians never surrender." By focusing on a reactionary hotbed within a notably conservative state--South Carolina's hilly western "upcountry"--W. Scott Poole chronicles the rise of a post-Civil War southern culture of defiance whose vestiges are still among us.The society of the rustic antebellum upcountry, Poole writes, clung to a set of values that emphasized white supremacy, economic independence, masculine honor, evangelical religion, and a rejection of modernity. In response to the Civil War and its aftermath, this amorphous tradition cohered into the Lost Cause myth, by which southerners claimed moral victory despite military defeat. It was a force that would undermine Reconstruction and, as Poole shows in chapters on religion, gender, and politics, weave its way into nearly every dimension of white southern life. The Lost Cause's shadow still looms over the South, Poole argues, in contemporary controversies such as those over the display of the Confederate flag. Never Surrender brings new clarity to the intellectual history of southern conservatism and the South's collective memory of the Civil War.

30 review for Never Surrender: Confederate Memory and Conservatism in the South Carolina Upcountry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Never Surrender is an interesting and incisive examination of Southern Conservatism, particularly in the context of South Carolinas Upcountry region. Poole starts by examining the roots of South Carolina "romantic Conservatism" in the colonial era and traces its development through the antebellum American years, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and its eventual transformation and death in the post-Reconstruction era. The "Lost Cause" and Confederate memory are also examined in their own right and Never Surrender is an interesting and incisive examination of Southern Conservatism, particularly in the context of South Carolinas Upcountry region. Poole starts by examining the roots of South Carolina "romantic Conservatism" in the colonial era and traces its development through the antebellum American years, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and its eventual transformation and death in the post-Reconstruction era. The "Lost Cause" and Confederate memory are also examined in their own right and in relation to romantic Conservatism and eventually to the new Conservatism that arose in the New South. While the book is thick with academic language and references to the work of other cultural historians, the writing is accessible. It will help to have some familiarity with studies of Southern cultural history of the 19th Century, but is not essential to understanding Pooles analysis and points. If you're not familiar with that field, this book could serve as a good jumping off point to works by other historians that Poole references such as Stephanie McCurry or Drew Gilpin Faust. This is not to say that Never Surrender doesn't stand on its own merits or can be enjoyed on its own. The book achieves surprising depth in exploring its topic, given its relative brevity, and provides interesting challenges and analysis of established attitudes and beliefs about the history of Southern Conservatism, Confederate memory, and the place of Confederate memory in said Conservatism. If you're interested in American politics, history, or Southern culture, you will find interesting reading here.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sean Chick

    This is the work of a promising historian. The ideas are half-baked and often confused, but with more experience, I see Poole becoming one of his generation's best historians. I espcially liked his tying of intellectual conservatism to the Lost Cause. This is the work of a promising historian. The ideas are half-baked and often confused, but with more experience, I see Poole becoming one of his generation's best historians. I espcially liked his tying of intellectual conservatism to the Lost Cause.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    3.5 Read for my local history class, fascinating topic but personally did not find the writing to always be clear and straightforward.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kim Fleming

  5. 5 out of 5

    James Hill Welborn III

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  8. 5 out of 5

    Irene

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  10. 5 out of 5

    Faheydj1

  11. 4 out of 5

    April Taylor

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sherry

  14. 5 out of 5

    BookDB

  15. 5 out of 5

    David Rothmund

  16. 4 out of 5

    Crazyarms777

  17. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

  18. 5 out of 5

    Devowasright

  19. 4 out of 5

    Colin Chapell

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eric French

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jb3

  22. 5 out of 5

    Laurance

  23. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elsa

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Kilby Vannette

  26. 5 out of 5

    William Hunter

  27. 4 out of 5

    Akiva Malamet

  28. 5 out of 5

    P

  29. 5 out of 5

    A Young Philosopher

  30. 4 out of 5

    Luke

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