History Faculty Publications and Presentations

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date



By revealing the inner world of Sallie McNeill, a young woman of the planter class living in Brazoria County, Texas, this diary provides rich insights into life in south central Texas in the turbulent years surrounding the Civil War. This watershed event and the South's ultimate defeat prompted Sallie to write, "Slowly, we are awakening from die feeling of utter despair, which overwhelmed all classes, upon receipt of the 'news' of the fall of the Confederacy" (125). For the South (and Texas specifically) , in the span of a few short years, everything had changed. In addition to insights on the war and its aftermath, this diary is especially valuable in exposing the often-unexplored world, or "terra incognita," of a young woman who described herself as "not remarkable for anything" (1). On the contrary, Sallie's diary is an indispensible resource for those interested in the gender and class dynamics present in the Old South, including both the opportunities and limitations afforded young elite woman during this period.


Original published version available at https://doi.org/10.1353/swh.2010.0038

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Publication Title

Southwestern Historical Quarterly



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History Commons



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