The Renaissance of Southern History, or, The Life and Work of C. Vann Woodward

The Renaissance of Southern History, or, The Life and Work of C. Vann Woodward

Before the 1950s, southern history was, for the most part, a provincial backwater of American historiography. Only in its role as protagonist in the sectional controversy and the Civil War did the South receive much attention from mainstream interpreters of the American past. All that has changed. With the possible exception of the colonial and revolutionary periods, the South in the nineteenth century has become the liveliest and most creative field within American historical studies. This concentration of attention and talent on the South—Old and New—is due in large measure to the achievement and influence of C. Vann Woodward. In a series of books extending over almost half a century, Woodward has reinterpreted southern history, especially since Reconstruction, in ways that have inspired younger scholars (many of them Woodward’s students) and pointed them toward fruitful new questions and subjects for investigation. In the process, Woodward has come to be regarded by many as the most distinguished living historian of the United States.

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