I found Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman’s March and America’s Memory from a search for travel memoirs. It seemed like it was going to be a history book, but it is actually a memoir, a collective memoir. It focuses on our memory of Sherman’s March. Anne Ruben uses many primary sources. She tells the story from different points of view, union soldiers, confederate soldiers, newly freed slaves, rich and poor civilians that were free – white and black. She tries to separate myths from actual events, to tell the story of how the march affected people’s lives. I found many things I had believed were not true – the devastation was bad, but not as large as I had thought. Also I thought that poor blacks and whites would not have been affected – but their houses were burned and all of their food taken just like the rich.
Rubin also show how American thoughts on the march have changed though out the years. How most of Americans now have a Gone With The Wind view of the march.
The book is well written. If you want a history book you would probably be disappointed. I guess the best way to describe the book would not be so much of a book used in an American History class but one used in an American Studies class.
Availability: COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by: Shelley Clark