A nuanced view of the Palmetto State in the twentieth century as written by the state's leading historian
Originally published in 1992, South Carolina in the Modern Age was the first history of contemporary South Carolina to appear in more than a quarter century and helped establish the reputation of the Palmetto State's premier historian, Walter Edgar, who had not yet begun the two landmark volumes—South Carolina: A History and The South Carolina Encyclopedia—that also bear his name. Available once again, this illustrated volume chronicles transformational events in South Carolina as the state emerged from the devastation that followed the Civil War and progressed through the challenges of the twentieth century.
After the Civil War, South Carolina virtually disappeared from the national consciousness and became a historical backwater. But as the nation began to look to the twentieth century, South Carolina stirred once again. It took a world war, the U.S. Supreme Court, and strong-willed leadership to place South Carolina once more within the American mainstream.
Edgar has divided this text into four essays, each covering a quarter century of South Carolina history. Each essay has a particular focus: South Carolina's hectic political scene (1891–1916); a period of economic stagnation during which the myths of the state's glorious past were honed and polished (1916–41); the impetus that World War II gave to economic development (1941–66); and social changes wrought by urbanization, industrial development, and desegregation (1966–91). South Carolina in the Modern Age also includes a chronology of state history and a list of suggested readings. More than seventy illustrations, many previously unpublished, add a visual dimension to the story.
Walter Edgar is the Claude Henry Neuffer Professor of Southern Studies, George Washington Distinguished Professor of History, and director of the Institute for Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina. His numerous works on the Palmetto State include the highly acclaimed South Carolina: A History and The South Carolina Encyclopedia.
"A fine, brief history of South Carolina's last one hundred years… South Carolina in the Modern Age is a well-balanced book with regard to information about cities and towns, farms and factories, and upcountry and lowcountry."—South Carolina Historical Magazine
"As director of the Institute for Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina, the author employs his professional experience to observe both critically and appreciatively the course of the twentieth century in South Carolina. The result is a highly appealing, balanced, and concise survey of the state. Scholars and general readers will value both its appearance and its contents."—North Carolina Historical Review
"Edgar covers the most important aspects of South Carolina's history over the last hundred years: economics, politics, development, and social issues…. This history of post–Civil War South Carolina should remain one of the most essential texts to anyone's library."—Charleston Magazine