"This book is partly psychobiography, partly social history, regional study, and comparative analysis. . . . The Hoffmanns sense the special drama and tension, the potential comparative insights, and the possibilities of two lives in one individual."
—American Historical Review
"North by South is an engrossing book. It makes a fresh and welcome contribution to the understanding of social and political history in the nineteenth century."
—Journal of Southern History
In 1823, Richard James Arnold, descendant of a Quaker family involved in the movement to abolish slavery in Rhode Island, married Louisa Gindrat of Bryan County, Georgia, and acquired a plantation called White Hall—thirteen hundred acres of rice and cotton land and sixty-eight slaves. Over the next fifty years, Arnold led two distinct, if never entirely separate lives, building through successive Georgia winters a profitable southern "paradise" rooted in human bondage, then returning each spring to his business interests and extended family in Rhode Island.
Organized around a surviving plantation journal kept during two winters and one spring, North by South encompasses Arnold's career as a rice and cotton planter as it uncovers the increasingly difficult social and moral disguises that enabled him to move freely through two worlds.