Book Review: The Last Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and Reunion

Archives

by Peter S. Carmichael

Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2005. Pp. xiv, 342. Illus., notes, biblio., index. $39.95. ISBN:0-8078-2948-X

The Last Generation, Peter Carmichael looks at a group of male Virginians born between 1831 and 1843. Many of them, scions of slave owning upper middle class families, grew to manhood in the 1850s and then served as company and field grade officers in the Army of Northern Virginia. Carmichael depicts a generation of youth in the 1850s who were very much at odds with their elders, depicted as “old fogies” who stood in the way of the progress Virginia needed to make in order to regain her rightful national prominence.

Many of these young men saw Virginia as a place where all of the good jobs, and properties, were already held by men who had no intention of dying soon. In this regard, this “last generation” faced a situation that would be confronted by German youth in the 1890s and early 1900s.

Although many were not ardent secessionists, all who could served devotedly in the Army of Northern Virginia. After the war, many embraced the New South as a chance to secure about the progress they had wanted before the war.

Ultimately, however, they turned away from what they regarded as the excesses of the Southern youth of the “Gilded Age.” Thus, in their old age, they turned into “old fogies” themselves. If anything, this excellent study will confirm what teenagers have known forever; that parents are just not cool.

Reviewer: Richard L. DiNardo   


Buy it at Amazon.com




X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close