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03.03.04 Inscoe, John C., Mountain Masters, Slavery, and the Sectional Crisis in Western North Carolina, published in 1989

Notes Concerning the Author

John C. Inscoe is a native of Morganton, North Carolina and serves as the Albert B. Saye Professor of History and University Professor at the University of Georgia.  He received his Ph. D. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1985.  He is the editor of the on-line New Georgia Encyclopedia, has edited the Georgia Historical Quarterly for fifteen years and served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Southern Historical Association from 2000 through 2014. Dr. Inscoe has written 10 books, including: Mountain Masters: Slavery and the Sectional Crisis in Western North Carolina; Race, War, and Remembrance in the Appalachian SouthWriting the Southern through the Self: Explorations in Southern Autobiography, and co-author of The Heart of Confederate Appalachia: The Civil War in Western North Carolina.

My Review

Dr. Inscoe’s book was written in effort to show how Western North Carolinians views concerning the issues leading up to and on the War Between the States itself were in-line with their fellow Carolinians and with the South in general.  This is an important counterview to the often-misleading theory that since slavery was not as prevalent in Western North Carolina then the loyalties of the people of this area were not in-line with her eastern counterparts nor with other Southerners.  He draws from a multitude of primary, and secondary sources, as well as numerous period Newspapers and Journals to back-up his points.

This book is worth reading as his conclusions run counter to popular myth on Western North Carolinian’s views and loyalties during this period. His conclusions are derived from a wealth of valid resources and he even covers where possibly this popular myth came from, hint a Yankee.  

Dr. Inscoe provides a comprehensive background of the area prior to the War related to its agriculture, commerce, and politics.  He centers on how Western North Carolina was more involved with neighboring states north, west and south in their everyday life though when push came to shove their loyalties stood with their fellow Carolinians and the greater South.  He shares how western North Carolinian politicians of this period knew this and would utilize it to their benefit.

I enjoyed this book as it shared facts counter the myth mentioned previously which is still held and pushed by modern PC historians and his coverage of the views of various social-economic groups living in the area provided new insight on often incorrectly held view.

Availability of this Book

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Reviewed by Jonathan Varnell