Carolina Cavalier: The Life andnMind of James Johnston Pettigrewnhy Clyde N. WilsonnAthens and London: The Universitynof Georgia Press; 303 pp., $35.00nEven in these dreariest of days innacademia, when American historynhas largely become a plaything for cantingnideologues, the Old South continuesnto attract outstanding talent. Finenbooks and articles continue to appear, asnClyde Wilson’s Carolina Cavalier attests,nnotwithstanding the pressurenfrom a kind of Gresham’s Law. Thentimes call for adherence to the correctnideological line, which at its increasinglynpopular extreme regards the OldnSouth as a rehearsal for Nazi Germanynand demands for the eradication of allntraces of the conservative voices thatnhave loomed so large in Southernnhistory. And in our leading professionalnassociations, their journals, and collegenclassrooms the correct line prevails.nThe continued interest in the OldnSouth proceeds from the worst andnbest of reasons. The worst includes thenstep-by-step domination of departmentsnof history in our Southern asnwell as northern universities by thosenfor whom the Southern Tradition, asnRichard Weaver aptly called it, and allnits works represent an evil past to benexorcised by all means, fair and foul. Itnis no longer enough to reject slavery,nsegregation, and racism. Virtually everynpositive feature of the mainstreamnSouthern experience must be rejectednas well in order to avoid charges ofnindulging in racist and pro-slaverynapologetics. We are being lavishly entertainednby a new philosophy of historynthat has the supreme merit of reducibilitynto four words: “Black, good;nwhite, bad.”nThe prevalence of this view in thenEugene D. Genovese is distinguishednscholar in residence at The UniversitynCenter in Georgia.nA Representative Mannby Eugene D. Genovesen”A well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one.”n— Thomas Carlylennorth need not agitate us, for it hasnever been thus. Its prevalence in thenSouth is another matter, about whichnprudence dictates silence from carpetbaggersnlike myself Prudence nevernhaving been my strongest suit, however,nI shall risk the suggestion that mynfellow carpetbaggers, who today inundatenSouthern universities with generallynunfortunate consequences, havennnmuch less to answer for than do thenscalawags who seem to think that ansearch for identity requires total repudiationnof a great and noble, if deeplynflawed, regional culture. That such antotal repudiation could only flow fromntransparent self-hatred does not seemnto deter them. Nor do they seem tonunderstand that self-hatred is no morenattractive in white Southerners than itnis in Jews, blacks, Sicilian-Americans,nor anyone else.nThe best reasons for the continuedninterest in the Old South include notnonly a perennial quest for the origins ofnthe War that remains our greatestnnational trauma, but a strong sense thatnthere is much to be learned here aboutnthe tragic nature of the historical dimensionnof the human condition.nHonest historians, whatever their specificnviewpoint, cannot avoid a confrontationnwith that tragic dimension,nfor there is abundant evidence of anhegemonic slaveholding class (and anyeomanry) that, notwithstanding itsnfull share of ogres and timeservers,nboasted a host of extraordinary mennand women: God-fearing, courageous,nsocially and morally responsible, andntough. Such historians cannot avoid anconfrontation with the lives of thenslaveholders who embodied those qualitiesnand yet proved to be the agents ofnthe greatest enormity of the age —nmen and women who, whatever theirnvirtues, were periodically, if not daily,ndriven to the acts of savagery towardnblack people that their very survival asnowners of human flesh required.nThe coexistence of these qualities,nwhich defined the slaveholders — andneven many of the yeomen — who acceptednthe slave society into whichnthey were born, manifested itself differentlynin accordance with region,nincome, social status, personal temperament,nand much else; still, in onenmanifestation or another, those qualitiesnconstantly recurred. The elitenslaveholders of the Virginia tidewaternor the Carolina low country might notnqualify as “typical,” but they did em-nOCTOBER 1990/33’n