The last generation : young Virginians in peace, war, and reunion Peter S. Carmichael Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c 2005 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xiv, 343 p. : ill., 1 map ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. -329) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
Challenging the popular conception of Southern youth on the eve of the Civil War as intellectually lazy, violent, and dissipated, Peter S. Carmichael looks closely at the lives of more than one hundred young men from Virginia’s last generation to grow up before the northern invasion. He finds them deeply engaged in the political, economic, and cultural forces of their time. Age, he concludes, created special concerns for young men who spent their formative years in the 1850s.
Before the Civil War, these young men thought long and hard about Virginia’s place as a progressive society. They vigorously lobbied for disunion despite opposition from their elders, then served as officers in the Army of Northern Virginia as frontline negotiators with the rank and file.
After the war, however, they sublimated shed their Confederate principles to pursue the political goals of restoring home rule and revitalizing Southern economic development. Not until the turn of the century, when these men were nearing the ends of their lives, did the members of the last generation recast themselves once more as true sons of the South.
By examining the lives of members of this generation on a personal level as well as a generational and cultural level, Carmichael sheds new light on the formation and reformation of Southern identity during the turbulent last half of the nineteenth century.