It is rare for an academic book to dominate its field half a century later as Woodward's Origins does southern history. Although its explanations are not accepted by all, the volume remains the starting point for every work examining the South in the era between Reconstruction and World War I. In writing Origins, Woodward deliberately set out to subvert much of the historical orthodoxy he had been taught during the 1930s, and he expected to be lambasted. But the revisionist movement was already afoot among white southern historians by 1951 and the book was hailed. Woodward's work had an enormous interpretative impact on he historical academy and encapsulated the new trend of historiography of the American South, an approach that guided both black and white scholars through the civil rights movement and beyond.
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