A Consuming Fire The Fall of the Confederacy in the Mind of the White Christian South by Eugene Genovese (review)

A Consuming Fire The Fall of the Confederacy in the Mind of the White Christian South by Eugene Genovese (University of Georgia Press, 1999)

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A Consuming Fire The Fall of the Confederacy in the Mind of the White Christian South by Eugene Genovese (review)

by Annette Laing
Southern Cultures, Vol. 6, No. 3: Fall 2000

University of Georgia Press, 1999

Poor God. He must find it thoroughly tiresome to be constantly called upon to endorse all sorts of peculiar cases. Surely, few causes for which His blessings has ever been solicited (and assumed to be granted) were more peculiar than the “Peculiar Institution” itself, slavery in the antebellum South. After all of the Biblical justifications presented on its behalf, not to mention the supposed patronage of the Almighty, it is easy to imagine how devastating the South’s defeat in the Civil War was for many of slavery’s defenders. Yet not everyone was unprepared for this disaster. Southern Christian intellectuals had already sounded jeremiads in which they warned that the South was doomed unless it reformed slavery in accordance with Christian ideas.