I like the University of Tennessee Press. This is the second book published by UT Press that I have read since this project began and in my opinion they publish well written, well researched books. While it may seem that their books may have only local appeal I would argue otherwise. Take this current selection “Mountain Rebels” by W. Todd Groce. When it comes to East Tennessee in the Civil War most histories report that the area didn’t match the rest of the Confederacy with the mountain land not suitable for large plantations. Therefore, residents of East Tennessee didn’t have large numbers of slaves and desired to stay in the Union.
While that is true for much of East Tennessee, Groce’s book reminds us that such universal descriptions do not do the region justice. There was a contingent of Confederates from East Tennessee who would suffer greatly from the Civil War. Their Confederate loyalties suspected because of the pro-Union reputation of East Tennessee soldiers from the region were not trusted by the government in Richmond. When the Union regains control of the region, those with COnfederate leanings faced discrimination and abuse because of their beliefs. Even after many took the loyalty oath after the war ended they still faced tough times.
Groce’s book definitely fills a void and presents a deeper understanding of the people of East Tennessee during the Civil War.