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Southern History Course Essentials

Southern History Course Essentials

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Civil War MemoriesCivil War Memories: Contesting the Past in the United States since 1865

Robert J. Cook

Drawing on an array of textual and visual sources as well as a wide range of modern scholarship on Civil War memory, Robert J. Cook charts the construction of four dominant narratives by the ordinary men and women, as well as the statesmen and generals, who lived through the struggle and its tumultuous aftermath. Written in vigorous prose for a wide audience and designed to inform popular debate on the relevance of the Civil War to the racial politics of modern America, Civil War Memories is required reading for informed Americans today.

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Selma's Bloody SundaySelma’s Bloody Sunday: Protest, Voting Rights, and the Struggle for Racial Equality

Robert A. Pratt

Selma’s Bloody Sunday offers a fresh interpretation of the ongoing struggle by African Americans to participate freely in America’s electoral democracy. Jumping forward to the present day, Pratt uses the march as a lens through which to examine disturbing recent debates concerning who should, and who should not, be allowed to vote. Drawing on archival materials, secondary sources, and eyewitness accounts of the brave men and women who marched, this gripping account offers a brief and nuanced narrative of this critical phase of the black freedom struggle

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Nat Turner

Nat Turner and the Rising in Southampton County

David F. Allmendinger Jr.

Students of slavery, the Old South, and African American history will find in Nat Turner and the Rising in Southampton County an outstanding example of painstaking research and imaginative family and community history. Drawing upon largely untapped sources, David F. Allmendinger Jr. reconstructs the lives of key individuals who were drawn into the uprising and shows how the history of certain white families and their slaves—reaching back into the eighteenth century—shaped the course of the rebellion.

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 Living HellLiving Hell: The Dark Side of the Civil War

Michael C. C. Adams

Living Hell presents a stark portrait of the human costs of the Civil War and gives readers a more accurate appreciation of its profound and lasting consequences. Adams examines the sharp contrast between the expectations of recruits versus the realities of communal living, the enormous problems of dirt and exposure, poor diet, malnutrition, and disease. He describes the slaughter produced by close-order combat, the difficulties of cleaning up the battlefields—where tens of thousands of dead and wounded often lay in an area of only a few square miles—and the resulting psychological damage survivors experienced.

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 Plantation KingdomPlantation Kingdom: The American South and Its Global Commodities

Richard Follett, Sven Beckert, Peter Coclanis, and Barbara Hahn

Plantation Kingdom traces the rise and fall of America’s plantation economy. Written by four renowned historians, the book demonstrates how an international capitalist system rose out of slave labor, indentured servitude, and the mass production of agricultural commodities for world markets. Vast estates continued to exist after emancipation, but tenancy and sharecropping replaced slavery’s work gangs across most of the plantation world. Poverty and forced labor haunted the region well into the twentieth century.

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Slavery's Ghost

Slavery's Ghost: The Problem of Freedom in the Age of Emancipation

Richard Follett, Eric Foner, and Walter Johnson

Written by three prominent historians of the period, Slavery’s Ghost forces readers to think critically about the way we study the past, the depth of racial prejudice, and how African Americans won and lost their freedom in nineteenth-century America. They ask important and challenging questions: How did slaves and freedpeople respond to the promise and reality of emancipation? How committed were white southerners to the principle of racial subjugation? And in what ways can we best interpret the actions of enslaved and free Americans during slavery and Reconstruction? Collectively, these essays offer fresh approaches to questions of local political power, the determinants of individual choices, and the discourse that shaped and                                                defined the history of black freedom. 

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Secession Winter

Secession Winter: When the Union Fell Apart

Robert J. Cook, William L. Barney, Elizabeth R. Varon

The essays by three senior historians in Secession Winter explore the robust debates that preceded these events. For five months in the winter of 1860–1861, Americans did not know for certain that civil war was upon them. Some hoped for a compromise; others wanted a fight. Many struggled to understand what was happening to their country. Robert J. Cook, William L. Barney, and Elizabeth R. Varon take approaches to this period that combine political, economic, and social-cultural lines of analysis. Rather than focus on whether civil war was inevitable, they look at the political process of secession and find multiple internal divisions—political parties, whites and nonwhites, elites and masses, men and women

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Planting an Empire

Planting an Empire: The Early Chesapeake in British North America

Jean B. Russo and J. Elliott Russo

Planting an Empire explores the social and economic history of the Chesapeake region, revealing a story of two similar but distinct colonies in early America. Linked by the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia and Maryland formed a prosperous and politically important region in British North America before the American Revolution. Yet these "sister" colonies—alike in climate and soil, emphasis on tobacco farming, and use of enslaved labor—eventually followed divergent social and economic paths. Jean B. Russo and J. Elliott Russo review the shared history of these two colonies, examining not only their unsteady origins, the powerful role of tobacco, and the slow development of a settler society but also the economic disparities and political jealousies                                        that divided them.

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Baptism of Early Virginia

The Baptism of Early Virginia: How Christianity Created Race

Rebecca Anne Goetz

In The Baptism of Early Virginia, Rebecca Anne Goetz examines the construction of race through the religious beliefs and practices of English Virginians. She finds the seventeenth century a critical time in the development and articulation of racial ideologies—ultimately in the idea of "hereditary heathenism," the notion that Africans and Indians were incapable of genuine Christian conversion. In Virginia in particular, English settlers initially believed that native people would quickly become Christian and would form a vibrant partnership with English people. After vicious Anglo-Indian violence dashed those hopes, English Virginians used Christian rituals like marriage and baptism to exclude first Indians and then Africans from the                                                        privileges enjoyed by English Christians—including freedom.

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Hubs of Empire

Hubs of Empire: The Southeastern Lowcountry and British Caribbean

Matthew Mulcahy

Mulcahy argues that it is useful to view Barbados, Jamaica, and the British Leeward Islands, along with the South Carolina and Georgia Lowcountry, as a single region. United by shared history and economic interest, these territories formed the Greater Caribbean. The plantation system achieved its fullest and harshest manifestation in the Greater Caribbean. Enslaved Africans outnumbered Europeans in all of the affiliated colonies, often by enormous ratios, enabling Africans to maintain more of their traditions, practices, and languages than in other parts of British America, resulting in distinct creole cultures. This volume is an ideal introduction to the complex and fascinating history of colonies too often neglected in standard textbook accounts.

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