Book Review: Masters of Small Worlds by Stephanie Mccurry

900 words 4 pages
Masters of Small Worlds by Stephanie McCurry
The book Masters of Small Worlds by Stephanie McCurry concentrates on one very specific time and place in history. The time is pre-Civil War and the place is the Low Country in southern South Carolina. This area is particularly interesting because of the interaction between the planters and the yeomen in the area. The author explores the similarities and differences between these two distinct social classes. The author also brings gender relations into the equation. Her overall idea, as the title implies, is that the men of this era and this part of the country demanded control of each and every aspect of life. For every institution, there is a set hierarchy. This book is very well
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A yeoman farmer would typically, work his wife and children like they were the slaves he could not afford. In addition to taking care of the household's domestic problems, the lower class women were also expected to work the fields.
The main, overriding question in this book is this; why would the yeoman class be so ready and willing to fight for slavery when it does not affect them. The answer, the author claims, goes deeper than just slavery. The yeomen were definitely not the social equals of the planters. The yeomen of South Carolina had previously been ignored and largely invisible. The author's use of court records and other legal documents proves that while this class was still not very powerful when compared to the planters, but their large number did mean that whatever the plantation owners wanted to do politically, it depended on the yeomen. However, the institution of slavery, as well as the unyielding attention towards property rights allowed the yeomen to feel their own sense of superiority, especially in their own households. In the south especially, the man was dominant.
The book "Masters of Small Worlds" by Stephanie McCurry helps to shed some light into a forgotten time. Her painstaking search for supporting evidence is apparent on each page she writes. The amount of detail is, at times, excruciating. Throughout the book, the author does manage to convey her overall message…men are pigs. Granted, this may be reading a little