"In this examination of the experience and evolution of memory, celebration, and symbols in the South Carolina upcountry, Poole explains how the 'Lost Cause' became transformed from 'a living ideology of defiance' to 'a dead past to be honored.' He provides fresh insights and understanding of the roots of southern conservatism and the central role of Pitchfork Ben Tillman in making racial violence a central element in his state's transition to modernity."
—Orville Vernon Burton, University of Illinois
The society of the rustic antebellum upcountry, Poole writes, clung to a set of values that emphasized white supremacy, economic independence, masculine honor, evangelical religion, and a rejection of modernity. In response to the Civil War and its aftermath, this amorphous tradition cohered into the Lost Cause myth, by which southerners claimed moral victory despite military defeat. It was a force that would undermine Reconstruction and, as Poole shows in chapters on religion, gender, and politics, weave its way into nearly every dimension of white southern life. The Lost Cause's shadow still looms over the South, Poole argues, in contemporary controversies such as those over the display of the Confederate flag.
Never Surrender brings new clarity to the intellectual history of southern conservatism and the South's collective memory of the Civil War.
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