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Civil War wives : the lives and times of Angelina Grimké Weld, Varina Howell Davis, and Julia Dent Grant

Author: Carol Berkin
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Summary:
In the life stories of three "accidental heroes"--Women whose marriages provided them with position and perspective they would not otherwise have had--one of the nation's premier historians offers a unique understanding of the tumultuous social and political landscape of their time.
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Genre/Form: Biography
History
Named Person: Angelina Emily Grimké; Angelina Emily Grimké; Varina Davis; Varina Davis; Julia Dent Grant; Julia Dent Grant; Varina Davis; Julia Dent Grant; Angelina Emily Grimké
Material Type: Biography, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Carol Berkin
ISBN: 9781400044467 1400044464
OCLC Number: 335678795
Description: xiv, 361 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm
Contents: Angelina Grimké Weld. "We are a nation of changes": America at the crossroads in the 1830s --
"I think much suffering awaits me": Angelina Grimké's journey to reform --
"Make me instrumental in the great work of emancipation": Angelina Grimké's letter to The liberator --
"This is all like a dream now; but I can't undream it": Angelina becomes an abolitionist --
"I laid my difficulty at the feet of Jesus": The burden of being a woman --
"You have had my whole heart": A season of surprises --
"We abolition women are turning the world upside down": Triumphs and retirement --
"I cannot tell thee how I love this private life": Angelina and domesticity --
"Innumerable, horrible, unspeakable, earthy, sensual and devilish distortions of married life": The crisis years at home --
This is not an in memoriam, it is a war-cry": The last years of Angelina Grimké. Varina Howell Davis. "The happy fireside": The deep South before the Civil War --
From the briars to the hurricane: Varina Banks Howell and Jefferson Davis --
"The desire I have to be with you every day and all day": The courtship of Jefferson Davis and Varina Howell --
"Calmer, discreeter, happier & lovelier": The months at Brierfield --
"How grand and blasé the people all looked": The first Washington experience --
"The heart at last, if it is well governed, makes the heaven": War, injury, and domestic discord --
"The Southern rights cause is the losing one now": The return to Washington, D.C. --
"We felt blood in the air": Personal and public tragedies --
"Everybody is scared": John Brown, the fire eaters, Lincoln, and secession --
"Civil war has only horror for me": Varina becomes the first lady of the Confederacy --
"The people of our country rose in their might": From first lady to refugee --
"I never report unfit for duty": Varina begins her campaigns for freedom --
"I saw Mr. Davis's shrunken form and glassy eyes": The reunion at Fortress Monroe --
"The business is finished": Jefferson Davis goes free --
"Our once happy homes": Varina's postwar odyssey --
"In the course of human events I shall probably go down to Mr. Davis's earthly paradise": Separation and reconciliation --
"Other refuge have we none": Life and death at Beauvoir --
"Her conversation is superlatively interesting": Varina's years of independence. Julia Dent Grant. The winds of change, the shelter of tradition --
"One long summer of sunshine": Growing up in Missouri --
"But one sweetheart in his life": The courtship of Julia Dent Grant --
"His loving little wife": Creating a home and starting a family --
"Cheer up, make the best of this": The return to civilian life --
"As I was a Democrat at that time": The opportunities of war --
"The horrid old Constitution": Julia's personal war --
"If your mind is made up": Marital relations in wartime --
"There will be an outbreak tonight": Victory and assassination --
"What shouts went up!": A hero and his wife --
"Ulys, do you wish to be President?": The early White House years --
"Nice people, questionable people, and people who were not nice at all": Weddings and scandals in the White House --
"A waif on the world's wide common": Julia becomes a world traveler --
"Do you not desire success?": From politics to poverty --
"Warmed in the sunlight of his loyal love and great fame": Julia becomes a widow --
"Living again, with the aid of my fancy and my pen": Julia Dent Grant writes her memoirs.
Responsibility: Carol Berkin.
More information:

Abstract:

In the life stories of three "accidental heroes"--Women whose marriages provided them with position and perspective they would not otherwise have had--one of the nation's premier historians offers a unique understanding of the tumultuous social and political landscape of their time.

"Here are the life stories of three women who connect us to our national past and provide windows onto a social and political landscape that is strangely familiar yet shockingly foreign. Berkin focuses on three "accidental heroes" who left behind sufficient records to allow their voices to be heard clearly and to allow us to see the world as they did. Though they held no political power themselves, all three had access to power and unique perspectives on events of their time. Angelina Grimké Weld, after a painful internal dialogue, renounced the values of her Southern family's way of life and embraced the antislavery movement, but found her voice silenced by marriage to fellow reformer Theodore Weld. Varina Howell Davis had an independent mind and spirit but incurred the disapproval of her husband, Jefferson Davis, when she would not behave as an obedient wife. Though ill-prepared and ill-suited for her role as First Lady of the Confederacy, she became an expert political lobbyist for her husband's release from prison. Julia Dent Grant, the wife of Ulysses S. Grant, was a model of genteel domesticity who seemed content with the restrictions of marriage and motherhood, even though they led to alternating periods of fame and disgrace, wealth and poverty. Only late in life did she glimpse the price of dependency. Throughout, Berkin captures the tensions and animosities of the antebellum era and the disruptions, anxieties, and dislocations generated by the war and its aftermath."--Jacket.

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