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Good Books

Suggested reading for a well-rounded impression

This is an accumulation of books which we have read & enjoyed over the past couple of years. We have left out the standard books such as Mary Chesnut's journals and the trilogy by Shelby Foote. We have listed books which are not often found in mainstream lists. We hope you find them interesting & helpful.

Who Wore What? Women's Wear, 1861-1865
by Juanita Leisch. Available from Thomas Publications, P.O. Box 3031, Gettysburg, PA 17325
for $29.85 plus $3.00 shipping and handling (price as of November 1995)
This may well become the "bible" for female living historians who seek to portray the Civil War years. Using a database of thousands of period images, statistically indexed, Ms Leisch has created a factual, unbiased overview of the "look" of the times. All external details of dress are covered.

Cracker Culture-Celtic Ways in the Old South
by Grady McWhiney. ISBN 0-8173-0458-4
For Americans of Celtic descent, Southerners particularly, an explanation of why we do the things we do! For the rest of you - of course we are odd, but there are reasons behind it all.

Lucy Breckinridge of Grove Hill-The Journal of a Virginia Girl, 1862-1864
Mary D. Robertson, Editor. ISBN 0-87249-999-5
Lucy is a spirited young lady who reveals that at least one proper Southern lady took regular target practise both before and during the War! She is a bit of a tomboy and very refreshing.

Motherhood in the Old South-Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Infant Rearing
by Sally G. McMillen. ISBN 0-8071-1517-7
Consider this: 19th century mothers were pregnant for up to a dozen years of their adult lives (sometimes more)!!

They Saw the Elephant-Women in the California Gold Rush
by Jo Ann Levy. ISBN 0-8061-2473-3
Ms. Levy allows the women to speak for themselves in extensive quotations from journals and letters. Her commentary is insightful, her bibliography is a great resource.

The Colonel's Lady on the Western Frontier-The Correspondence of Alice Kirk Grierson
Shirley Ann Leckie, Editor. ISBN 0-8032-7929-9
Barely post-war, a record of how a woman coped with army and family life.

The Secret Eye-The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889
Virginia Ingraham Burr, Editor. ISBN 0-8078-4273-7
Georgia's own Mary Boykin Chesnut.

A Blockaded Family-Life in Southern Alabama During the Civil War
by Parthenia Antoinette Hague. ISBN 0-8032-7254-5
A good record of how Southern women "made do" with homemade items replacing blockaded goods.

Neat Pieces-The Plain-Style Furniture of 19th Century Georgia
Atlanta Historical Society, Publishers
A beautiful book, the furnishings used by typical Georgians.

Three Months in the Southern States - April-June 1863
by Lt. Col. Arthur J. L. Fremantle
A lively account of a young Brit's travels. History reveals that he was in his late twenties and wore a battered brown hunting suit for three months straight (regardless of what you may have seen at re-enactments around the south).

Growing Up in the 1850's-The Journal of Agnes Lee
Mary Custis Lee deButts, Editor. ISBN 0-8078-4243-5
One of Robert E. Lee's daughters, of course, and the appropriate age of many living historians. Read how you might have spent your teen-age years.

Women's Life & Work in the Southern Colonies
by Julia Cherry Spruill. ISBN 0-393-00662-X
Information from an earlier period, but still appropriate for many rural impressions.

Early American Antique Country Furnishings
by George C. Neumann. ISBN 0-517-66183-7
Not just furniture, but the smaller objects of daily life. Zillions of photographs.

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