It’s not Scarlett O’Hara but then again, perhaps you are thankful for such a thing, no? Tara Revisited: Women, War, & the Plantation Legend takes a look at women of color (term used in books) and the white women of the South during the time surrounding the Civil War. Author Catherine Clinton talks about heartache and loss, struggle and triumph – and not just what we were given to see on Hollywood’s screen.
Tara Revisited is a painful book to read at times, enlightening and even humorous in others. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and it does have some rather harsh facts. Nevertheless, I found it to be rather intriguing. One thing I liked about it (being the very adult and brainy reader that I am!) is that it had pictures and lots of them! I love it when history books such as these include pictures. It just helps to make stories come alive. Besides that, they wore cool dresses back then! And no, I wouldn’t want to have worn them myself. I can be grateful for the small things (or the big things) in life, yes I can!
This book is described as an essay and it is short and to the point. I learned more than I wanted and yet not enough. Thinking about slavery hurts and hearing what women of color had to go through on plantations is unpleasant at best. I dont’ think I was altogether surprised by the facts about the white women. I wasn’t really taken aback by anything. It is a story of struggle and yet all history is that. If you like reading about women’s roles throughout history and about how times have changed for women, then you’ll like this book. It does take a balanced approach in talking about women from all walks of life in the south which makes Tara Revisited stands out as being unique.
Catherine Clinton does take the approach that the south was romanticized a little bit much but for my part, I like some of the romance of it all. That’s what attracted me to the book in the first place! It’s just rather fun and otherworldly to me. I’m not one that likes to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” and I’m not ready to condemn the south and its culture as a whole. It’s intriguing to find out how women behaved and were treated back then. Some of it’s good and others not so much. But it’s what happened and its fascinating.
Carrie comes by her book obsession honestly, having descended from a long line of bibliophiles. She blogs about books regularly at Reading to Know.