De Bow's Review
The Antebellum Vision of a New South
In De Bow's Review: The Antebellum Vision of a New South, author John Kvach explores how the editor's antebellum economic and social policies influenced Southern readers and created the framework for a postwar New South movement. By recreating subscription lists and examining the lives and livelihoods of 1,500 Review readers, Kvach demonstrates how De Bow's Review influenced a generation and a half of Southerners. This approach allows modern readers to understand the historical context of De Bow's editorial legacy. Ultimately, De Bow and his antebellum subscribers altered the future of their region by creating the vision of a New South long before the Civil War.
About the Author
"Kvach fills a surprising gap in the history of the nineteenth-century South with this elegantly written biography of the enigmatic J. D. B. De Bow. The work represents an important contribution to a growing historiography exploring the presence of a middle-class commercial culture in the pre–Civil War South and challenging long-held views of a static socioeconomic world of planters and plain folk."—Bruce W. Eelman, author of Entrepreneurs in the Southern Upcountry: Commercial Culture in Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1845-1880
"This is an insightful, original, deeply researched work of scholarship. Examining not only the career of journalist J. D. B. De Bow but also the readers who responded enthusiastically to his call for economic diversification, John F. Kvach helps us see the nineteenth-century South in a new way, undistorted by the stark, artificial line so many historians have drawn to separate the so-called Old South from the New."—Stephen V. Ash, author of A Massacre in Memphis: The Race Riot That Shook the Nation One Year after the Civil War
"J.D.B. DeBow was the antebellum South's most prominent advocate of economic modernization and industrialization, and one of its most vitriolic secessionists. John Kvach explores this seeming paradox, and gives us as well a careful description of DeBow's subsribers and followers"—J. Mills Thornton, University of Michigan
"Kvach introduces us to more than a mere editor. Kvach sees his subject as a man who believed the South could use industry and innovation to build its economy beyond plantation agriculture...Kvach tells a compelling story."—The South Carolina Historical Magazine
"Kvach's account of De Bow's life and writings has tremendous merit. Historians will especially appreciate Kvach's spadework in finding out about the Review's readers and connecting the content of the periodical to the concerns of its audience. This study should be read by anyone interested in understanding how slaveholders thought about their world and its future."—American Historical Review
"[. . .] [A]n indispensable source for historians studying the economic, intellectual, and cultural life of the Old South.
[. . .] Based in methodical research and written in clear prose, De Bow's Review will be the standard work on this man and his influential paper for some time."—Florida Historical Quarterly
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