Letters, diaries, slave narratives, and southern literature retrace the steps of the women of the American South in this historical volume. Filled with photographs, Tara Revisited present the facts and fiction behind such southern icons as Scarlett O'Hara, Mrs. Butterworth, Clara Barton, and others who were plantation mistresses, slaves, city dwellers, and even soldiers. Clinton brings to life the joy and suffering of women in both black and white communities, beginning with antebellum society, continuing through the Reconstruction era, and ending with the present day. The final chapter, "The Road to Tara," discusses the Southern Belle, the Southern Mammy, and the implications of our fascination with those figures from a past which may or may not have existed only in our minds and our movies.
The author presents stories of the women who peopled the South, from before the war until today. Having done that, then, in her last chapter, she looks at how Southern Mythology created a southern culture which probably didn't exist, but which many organizations (i.e., Daughters of the Confederacy) and individuals labored to create in our minds.
Other books have done a better job showing how some southern organizations wielded political power to even control how the war was presented in textbooks in the 20th century.
While an interesting and enjoyable book, I did find two problem areas. The author rates Pauline Cushman and Elizabeth van Lew as equal in their service to the Union as spies. While van Lew ran probably the greatest spy network of the war, Cushman's service is greatly exaggerated. The author also states there were 60,000 soldiers at the Battle of Gettysburg, when the total was closer to 175,000. Sometimes, you have to wonder why authors don't have their books reviewed by competent historians of the period in which they write.