While reading “The Making of a Confederate”

While reading “The Making of a Confederate”, Barney’s writing was filled with great explanations and details that allowed the readers to come to a conclusion about what was happening in the book. “It is a story that invites the reader to confront the ambiguities and complexities of a South that have ben effaced in the haze of the Lost Cause mythology.” (13) Barney’s book gives an insight into what Walter’s life was like while growing up poor in North Carolina. “And from Walter’s story, they will learn that an abiding and culturally unifying sense of Southern white identity was a product of defeat in the very Civil War that so many Southerners sought to prevent.” (13) He uses Walter Lenoir’s story to discuss how the identity of white Southerners came to shape the Civil war as well as the South. “The Lenoirs described how uncomfortable they felt when they had to punish individual slaves to induce obedience in the others.” (205) Barney depicts the life of those in the book in such a way that the audience can dive into background and issues that were going on during the Civil war. “They depended on slave labor for the mental comforts they enjoyed, and their position as slave owners bestowed a power and status they accepted as their just due.” (205) Slavery was incorporated into the economy and it had thrived due to the money and products that it provided. Many rich white Southerners became dependent on slaves to do their work for them in the fields, in the house, and around the house. Because of this the rich white Southerners became dependent on slavery to support them economically. “In short, they were willing to benefit economically from an institution of human bondage they recognized as morally questionable.” (205) Barney presents us with a new perspective of the war between the North and South. He also incorporates underlying issues of the Civil war that are shown through the eyes of a white Southerner.