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A Diary From Dixie (1905)

de Mary Boykin Chesnut

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One of the most important documents in southern history, this is a day-by-day diary of the Civil War years. It rings with authenticity while evoking the nostalgia, bitterness, and comedy of the Confederacy.

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I picked this book up because when I was younger, someone told me how interesting it was to read a firsthand account of what the Civil War was like. While I appreciated reading all the details and plans about the war and getting an insight into the opinions and thoughts of the Confederates, I wasn’t very impressed by this book. It’s rather boring, mostly because Chesnut is so disconnected from the true atrocities of the war and comes across as very superficial and arrogant without having any real substance about her.

The other problem is that this book is said to be heavily edited so as not to contain anything that would be unflattering to the Confederates, which is entirely ridiculous to me. It most likely would have been much more interesting if it contained everything, but it really just talks about inflation, traveling from one city to another, and the parties the higher up Confederates threw for each other.

Overall, I could see using snippets of this to supplement a civil war lesson in a class, but it’s not worth reading the diary in its entirety.

Also posted on Purple People Readers. ( )
  sedelia | Nov 15, 2019 |
This book was very good. I am an avid reader and among my interest is first hand accounts of the civil war. Mary Chestnut does a good job through the words in her diary presenting an account of the war from inside the circles of the Confederate's presidency. She expresses how slavery was truly represented during the war for both sides showing that the north and south didn't differ much in their sentiments about slavery. She showed many cases of inhuman behavior and generosity from both sides. It supports a common analogy about the civil war being a war about state's rights. But after saying all of this, one has to realize that the book is bastardized from a southern prospective, regardless of how that is altered from modern day reality. ( )
  josmith16 | May 27, 2015 |
The author was a friend and admirer of Jefferson Davis on the eve of the Civil War, but was great enough as a conscious person to realize her admiration was abused. This is a personal diary of a Southern Lady. She also recognized that the white men were not really fighting for "state's rights", but for enslavement of Africans, from which they drew their "black harems".

This single diary pretty much gives The Lie to the propaganda which Southern plutocrats dispensed to the poor white males upon which they depend for their political support, then and to this day. Poor white male Southerners are poor, ignorant, and kept that way.

In writing about the actual events in her life and privy to the rulers of the South, Ms Chesnut has done a great service. Her diary should be studied by the Tea Party to sober them up.
  keylawk | May 7, 2013 |
What a fascinating memoir by a woman who lived in the South during the turmoil of the Civil War. We are given insight into how the progress of the War was perceived by Southerners. Chestnut was close friends with Jefferson Davis and his wife, General Hood, Custis Lee and other notables of the Southern leadership. Because of her friendship with the President Davis, she seemed to overlook his weaknesses and defends him against all critics. She also chronicles the infighting amongst the Confederate leadership and although she doesn't seem to recognize it herself, the downside of the Confederacy's insistence on state's rights. Boykin is very clear from the beginning of her diary that she thinks slavery is over no matter who wins the war because it is unsustainable. However, her view of the Africans, as she calls them, is condescending and once the Proclamation is issued by Lincoln, she thinks the slaves are just waiting to steal her valuables and flee to the Yankee side even though there is amble evidence from her experience with her own servants that this is not occurring. To her credit, there are moments in the Diary that she mentions having read earlier portions of it and realizing that she was wrong in her conclusions about the leadership of certain officers or individuals. There are also moments that we are permitted to see the strains the War has wrought on her marriage; however there are also moments when we see she & her husband have a warm, passionate relationship. A truly inside look at the Civil War from a the Civilian side. ( )
1 vota lamour | Sep 21, 2010 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Mary Boykin Chesnutautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Avary, Myrta LockettDissenyadorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Isabella D. MartinEditorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Williams, Ben AmesEditorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Charleston, S.C., November 8, 1860 - Yesterday on the train, just before we reached Fernandina, a woman called out: "That settles the hash." Tanny touched me on the shoulder and said: "Lincoln's elected." "How do you know?" "The man over there has a telegram."
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One of the most important documents in southern history, this is a day-by-day diary of the Civil War years. It rings with authenticity while evoking the nostalgia, bitterness, and comedy of the Confederacy.

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Mitjana: (3.77)
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