A historian chronicles the long-running clash between white people and federal authority by focusing on Barbour County, Alabama and its history of fighting Reconstruction, integration, and the New Deal.
Powerful and subering ... Important, deeply affecting — and regrettably relevant ... Though Cowie keeps his focus on the past, his book sheds stark light on the present. It is essential reading for anyone who hopes to understand the unholy union, more than 200 years strong, between racism and the rabid loathing of government ... White men did all this in Barbour County, by design and without relent, and Cowie’s account of their acts is unsparing. His narrative is immersive; his characters are vividly rendered.
Outstanding and urgent ... Rather than an intellectual history that charts an abstract idea across space and time, Cowie gives us a visceral, flesh-and-blood narrative rooted in a very specific place: Barbour County, Alabama ... Freedom’s Dominion is a remarkable achievement, but it will likely engender considerable debate. Cowie’s most daring move is to make the federal government the central 'protagonist' in the fight against the 'racialized, anti-statist' vision of freedom nurtured in places like Barbour County.
Broad-ranging history ... Provocatively, Cowie argues that resistance to federal authority, as exemplified by Alabama Gov. George Wallace and his 'segregation forever' vow, is almost always cloaked in the language of tyranny and freedom ... A lucid narrative that spans three centuries ... A powerful history showing that White supremacist ideas of freedom are deeply embedded in American politics.