The Sweetness of Life
Southern Planters at Home
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This book examines the home and leisure life of planters in the antebellum American South. Based on a lifetime of research by the late Eugene Genovese (1930–2012), with an introduction and epilogue by Douglas Ambrose, The Sweetness of Life presents a penetrating study of slaveholders and their families in both intimate and domestic settings: at home; attending the theatre; going on vacations to spas and springs; throwing parties; hunting; gambling; drinking and entertaining guests, completing a comprehensive portrait of the slaveholders and the world that they built with slaves. Genovese subtly but powerfully demonstrates how much politics, economics, and religion shaped, informed, and made possible these leisure activities. A fascinating investigation of a little-studied aspect of planter life, The Sweetness of Life broadens our understanding of the world that the slaveholders and their slaves made; a tragic world of both 'sweetness' and slavery.Read more
- Provides an in-depth examination of the domestic and social lives of the antebellum planter class
- Reveals how the sectional crisis affected white Southern leisure activities
- Includes vivid descriptions of aspects of Southern life, such as theatre, vacations, horse racing, dancing, parties, and more
Reviews & endorsements
'In crafting The Sweetness of Life, the late Eugene D. Genovese drew upon a long, illustrious career of research into the lives of white and black southerners. Agree with his conclusions or not, no historian played a larger role in recovering the complicated, turbulent world of antebellum cotton slavery. Gracefully edited by Douglas Ambrose, this brilliant and insightful study serves as a capstone to Genovese’s fifty years of distinguished scholarship. A masterful achievement.' Douglas R. Egerton, Le Moyne CollegeSee more reviews
'Sparkling with insight and humanity, Eugene D. Genovese again delivers, this time posthumously. This book continues his examination of the slaveholder class, describing in detail the essential ways in which it created its own definition of hospitality, of manners, of leisure, and more as it rushed toward civil war. As usual for Genovese over a career of fifty years his writing is engaging and crystal clear, and the scholarship rich. The academy owes Genovese’s devoted student, Douglas Ambrose, a debt of gratitude for shepherding this sweet, final bit of Genovese’s oeuvre to publication. It is well worth the read.' Orville Vernon Burton, Clemson University, and author of The Age of Lincoln
'In this subtly provocative work, Genovese pulls back the curtain on the lives of leisure planters made on the backs of black labor. A fitting coda to a corpus of immeasurable impact, The Sweetness of Life offers crucial insight into the mind of the Old South’s master class.' Kathleen Hilliard, Iowa State University
16th Jul 2017 by Barb1073
This work represents a lifetime of research on Antebellum Planters and their lives at home in leisure, pleasure and activities. Dr. Genovese also delves into the cultural and social lives of Planters and their families from across the South, which presents a new and fresh interpretation of Antebellum Southern History. This is a welcome addition to the study of Southern History prior to the Civil War.
Review was not posted due to profanity×
- Date Published: September 2017
- format: Adobe eBook Reader
- isbn: 9781108515351
- availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
Table of Contents
1. A gracious people
2. Dining room, parlor, and lawn
3. Horses and hounds
4. Vignettes: sundry pleasures
5. Vignettes: charms of high life
6. Home away from home
7. Matters not so sweet
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