Southern Honor by Bertram Wyatt-Brown
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Southern Honor
By Bertram Wyatt-Brown

Southern Honor

Ethics and Behavior in the Old South 25th Revised edition

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Format: Paperback

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Southern Honor by Bertram Wyatt-Brown

Book Description

A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award, hailed in The Washington Post as "a work of enormous imagination and enterprise" and in The New York Times as "an important, original book," Southern Honor revolutionized our understanding of the antebellum South, revealing how Southern men adopted an ancient honor code that shaped their society from top to bottom. Using legal documents, letters, diaries, and newspaper columns, Wyatt-Brown offers fascinating examples to illuminate the dynamics of Southern life throughout the antebellum period. He describes how Southern whites, living chiefly in small, rural, agrarian surroundings, in which everyone knew everyone else, established the local hierarchy of kinfolk and neighbors according to their individual and familial reputation. By claiming honour and dreading shame, they controlled their slaves, ruled their households, established the social rankings of themselves, kinfolk, and neighbors, and responded ferociously against perceived threats. The shamed and shameless sometimes suffered grievously for defying community norms. Wyatt-Brown further explains how a Southern elite refined the ethic. Learning, gentlemanly behavior, and deliberate rather than reckless resort to arms softened the cruder form, which the author calls "primal honor." In either case, honor required men to demonstrate their prowess and engage in fierce defense of individual, family, community, and regional reputation by duel, physical encounter, or war. Subordination of African-Americans was uppermost in this Southern ethic. Any threat, whether from the slaves themselves or from outside agitation, had to be met forcefully. Slavery was the root cause of the Civil War, but, according to Wyatt-Brown, honor pulled the trigger. Featuring a new introduction by the author, this anniversary edition of a classic work offers readers a compelling view of Southern culture before the Civil War.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780195325171
ISBN-10: 0195325176
Format: Paperback
(203mm x 135mm x 30mm)
Pages: 640
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 22-Nov-2007
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Bertram Wyatt-Brown

Genteel Rebel by Bertram Wyatt-Brown Genteel Rebel, Paperback (January 2004)

This biography depicts the combined effect of social structure, character and national crisis on a woman's life. Mary Greenhow Lee (1819-1907) was raised in a privileged Virginia household. A Confederate sympathizer, she ran an underground postal service, hid contraband and abetted the Rebel cause.

House of Percy by Bertram Wyatt-Brown House of Percy, Paperback (October 1996)

Although the novels of Walker Percy represent some of the most prominent work in 20th-century Southern fiction, the Percy family itself has a history that is arguably as compelling as anything he could have created. This title combines intensive research and telling insights to produce the unforgettable story of this gifted family.

» View all books by Bertram Wyatt-Brown


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Author Biography - Bertram Wyatt-Brown

Bertram Wyatt-Brown is Richard J. Milbauer Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida and a Visiting Scholar at Johns Hopkins University. The author of House of Percy: Honor, Melancholy, and Imagination in a Southern Family and The Shaping of Southern Culture: Honor, Grace, and War, he is past president of the Southern Historical Association, the Society for Historians of Early American History, and the St. George Tucker Society. He lives in Baltimore.

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