C. Vann Woodward (1908–1999) was a historian of the American South. He taught at Johns Hopkins and at Yale, where he was named the Sterling Professor of History. His books include Mary Chesnut’s Civil War and The Old World’s New World.

IN THE REVIEW

Dangerous Liaisons

White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century South

by Martha Hodes
Getting at the truth of such subjects as fornication, rape, bastardy, adultery, divorce, and domestic violence is difficult enough in any case. But when they are mixed with constantly changing attitudes about race, class, freedom, slavery, servitude, and male authority and honor, especially in times of civil war, invasion, defeat, …

We Unhappy Few

The House of Percy: Honor, Melancholy, and Imagination in a Southern Family

by Bertram Wyatt-Brown

The Literary Percys: Family History, Gender, and the Southern Imagination

by Bertram Wyatt-Brown
For two generations and more the Old South’s upper crust—call them planters, gentry, aristocracy, cavaliers, or simply the ruling class—along with their New South heirs have been rather an embarrassment to historians of the region. Before the 1930s, historians as a rule joined with novelists, poets, and movie makers in …

Wallace Redeemed?

George Wallace: American Populist

by Stephan Lesher
The meaning of the term “populist” has undergone remarkable changes during the past century, especially the latter half of it. In some ways these changes are comparable to those undergone by the term “democracy” during the previous century, except that the reputation of “democracy” changed distinctly for the better during …

The Inner Civil War

'…the real war will never get in the books': Selections from Writers During the Civil War

edited by Louis P. Masur

The Vacant Chair: The Northern Soldier Leaves Home

by Reid Mitchell
For a century and more after the Civil War American critics have worried the question of why the experience never inspired a literary classic worthy of the subject. The first to broach the problem were those to whom it must have caused the greatest embarrassment—the writers who lived through the …

Made in the U.S.A.

Truman

by David McCullough
The story of Harry Truman’s life is full of enough improbabilities and paradoxes to put an edge on the dullest curiosity. Here was a figure of obscure rural origins from the remote reaches of Missouri, dogged by debt most years, and with no more formal education than local public schools …

The Return of LBJ

Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908–1960

by Robert Dallek

The Triumph & Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson: The White House Years

by Joseph A. Califano Jr.
Among the presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to George Bush, Lyndon Johnson has no serious rival for the distinction of being held in lowest esteem in current public opinion. A recent Harris poll found him ranked at the bottom of nearly all categories named. These included high moral standards, in which …