Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Winner of the Francis Parkman Prize
Winner of the Avery Craven Prize
In the ante-bellum South, women from elite slaveholding families were raised to consider themselves not so much as " women" but as " ladies, " models of dependent femininity. But that ideal was to prove impossible to maintain during the social upheaval of the Civil War, when they found themselves suddenly assuming unaccustomed roles as workers, protectors, and providers. Through the use of hundreds of moving and eloquent letters, memoirs, and diary excerpts, Drew Gilpin Faust, one of the foremost historians of the American South, illuminates the lives of a wide array of Confederate women: from Lizzie Neblett, a housewife facing a life of physical labor for the first time, to Sallie Tompkins, a Virginia aristocrat turned military nurse, to Belle Boyd, a ruthless teenaged spy. An intensely personal work of scholarship, Mothers of Invention gives voice to the hitherto silent half of the Confederacy's ruling class and explains how its ethos continues to influence the lives of Southern women even today.
On April 25th from noon to 3PM From My Shelf Books & Gifts will be hosting a duel author event with William P. Robertson and Jeffrey Stayton. William P. Robertson is the author of the Bucktail series and Jeffrey Stayton is the author of the recently published This Side of the River.
This Side of the River tells the story of a group of young, angry Confederate widows who band together at the end of the Civil War, take up arms, and march north to Ohio to burn down the home of General William Tecumsah Sherman.
It draws from the rich tradition of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and Charles Baxter's The Feast of Love as it interweaves themes of gender, revenge, and redemption. It's a masterfully-written debut from a bold new literary voice.