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A Secret Society History of the Civil War by Mark A. Lause (review)

A Secret Society History of the Civil War by Mark A. Lause (review) REVIEWS source of interpretive inspiration certainly marks out a path that others might do well to follow. This book is based on considerable, painstaking historical detective work. Dorsey consulted an impressive range of archival sources in order to compose a portrait of this hard-to-follow population. To be sure, free African Americans on the upper Eastern Shore constituted a fairly compact community, and some readers may wonder about the utility of focusing on such a distinctive and small group. Nevertheless, Dorsey convincingly illustrates how this cohort formed an interconnected community, operated in a regional labor market, made what they could of an economic boom, and suffered in a declining economy. While there is much to admire about Hirelings, readers may find the subtlety of its argumentation frustrating at times. Dorsey's rich case studies of free individuals and families are tantalizing, but they do as much to cloud as to clarify the themes of this volume. She nods occasionally to a generational approach, but leaves room to doubt whether there was significant change over time before the economic downturn that followed the War of 1812, or if the period under consideration should be treated as a unified whole. Nevertheless, this http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

A Secret Society History of the Civil War by Mark A. Lause (review)

Journal of the Early Republic , Volume 33 (2) – Apr 17, 2013

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620
Publisher site
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Abstract

REVIEWS source of interpretive inspiration certainly marks out a path that others might do well to follow. This book is based on considerable, painstaking historical detective work. Dorsey consulted an impressive range of archival sources in order to compose a portrait of this hard-to-follow population. To be sure, free African Americans on the upper Eastern Shore constituted a fairly compact community, and some readers may wonder about the utility of focusing on such a distinctive and small group. Nevertheless, Dorsey convincingly illustrates how this cohort formed an interconnected community, operated in a regional labor market, made what they could of an economic boom, and suffered in a declining economy. While there is much to admire about Hirelings, readers may find the subtlety of its argumentation frustrating at times. Dorsey's rich case studies of free individuals and families are tantalizing, but they do as much to cloud as to clarify the themes of this volume. She nods occasionally to a generational approach, but leaves room to doubt whether there was significant change over time before the economic downturn that followed the War of 1812, or if the period under consideration should be treated as a unified whole. Nevertheless, this

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Apr 17, 2013

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