Wetherington, Mark V. 1949-

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Wetherington, Mark V. 1949-

PERSONAL:

Born September 28, 1949.

ADDRESSES:

E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer and historian. Filson Historical Society, Lexington, KY, director.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Herbert Feis Award, American Historical Association, for The New South Comes to Wiregrass Georgia: 1860-1910.

WRITINGS:

The New South Comes to Wiregrass Georgia: 1860-1910, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1994.

Plain Folk's Fight: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Piney Woods Georgia, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

Mark V. Wetherington is a writer and historian. Wetherington, who was born on September 28, 1949, serves as the director of the Kentucky-based Filson Historical Society, which aims to record and relate historical and cultural stories of significance about Kentucky and the Ohio Valley.

In 1994, Wetherington published his first independent book, The New South Comes to Wiregrass Georgia: 1860-1910. The book was the recipient of the American Historical Association's Herbert Feis Award.

A little more than a decade later, he published Plain Folk's Fight: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Piney Woods Georgia. The book looks at the wiregrass region of Georgia during the American Civil War, focusing particularly on the experiences of landless white citizens, yeoman farmers, and those who owned a comparatively small number of slaves. He argues that this group, living in Pulaski, Telfair, Wilcox, Coffee, and Irwin Counties of Georgia, were in favor of secession due to their support of white supremacy and localism, not alternative reasons relayed by other scholars of the region's history.

Timothy M. Jenness, writing in H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, found that the book uses "nuanced discussion" to relate Wetherington's points. Jenness stated: "In Plain Folk's Fight, Mark Wetherington demonstrates the importance of giving agency to rural Americans whose voice has, until recently, been often overlooked. While slaveholding planters may have been the leaders of secession in 1861, many white yeomen offered them the support they sought. As Wetherington suggests, the Civil War was not simply ‘a rich man's war and a poor man's fight,’ but rather a war that featured the complicated and conflicting tugs of localism and nationalism. For the plain folk, defense of ‘family, home, and property,’ and not class, was the central issue of the war." Jenness noted that "for those scholars and general readers more interested in the intricacies of the Confederate home front than in the dryness of battlefield tactics, Plain Folk's Fight is a must-read."

A contributor to the Midwest Book Review found that the book is "not for the casual" reader of Civil War history but did find it useful "for any serious discussion or collection." Chandra Manning, writing in the Journal of Southern History, commented that "it is a measure of the book's success that it provokes questions in some areas and persuades in others." Manning found the discussions on black Georgians, women, and localism to be "uneven" throughout the text. However, he said that "these shortcomings are outweighed by its important contribution: well-supported analysis of why ordinary white piney-woods men supported slavery and white supremacy." Manning concluded that "this analysis enriches knowledge of the Confederate South."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, April, 1996, Walter J. Fraser, review of The New South Comes to Wiregrass Georgia: 1860-1910, p. 573; June, 2006, Anthony Gene Carey, review of Plain Folk's Fight: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Piney Woods Georgia, p. 839.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, April, 1995, M. Rothstein, review of The New South Comes to Wiregrass Georgia, p. 1370; July 1, 2006, S.C. Hyde, review of Plain Folk's Fight, p. 2064.

Civil War History, March, 1996, Kenneth W. Noe, review of The New South Comes to Wiregrass Georgia, p. 68.

Journal of American History, December, 1995, Robert Tracy McKenzie, review of The New South Comes to Wiregrass Georgia, p. 1224; September, 2006, Kenneth W. Noe, review of Plain Folk's Fight, p. 539.

Journal of Southern History, August, 1996, Roderick N. Ryon, review of The New South Comes to Wiregrass Georgia, p. 586; February, 2007, Chandra Manning, review of Plain Folk's Fight, p. 199.

Midwest Book Review, December, 2005, review of Plain Folk's Fight.

ONLINE

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://h-net.org/ (February, 2007), Timothy M. Jenness, review of Plain Folk's Fight.