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Hardcover How Grand a Flame: A Chronicle of a Plantation Family, 1813-1947 Book

ISBN: 0945575556

ISBN13: 9780945575559

How Grand a Flame: A Chronicle of a Plantation Family, 1813-1947

Wake me at four o'clock. We're going to see some action. When the guns opened on Fort Sumter across the harbor in April of 1861, two young men, one white and one black, were watching together from the cupola of the big house on the Lawton plantation, which stretched for a full mile along the Ashley River near Charleston, South Carolina. The white man, Wallace Lawton, would shortly be plunged into a protracted, increasingly desperate struggle to retain...

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Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Excellent

I enjoyed this a lot. History has so much more more vibrancy when you can read about everyday people and how they dealt with what was going on around them.

Excellent presentation of southern history

This book provides a wonderful view of the southern culture through a tightly focused lens of the Lawton family. I enjoyed the passage this book took me on and it connects well with Dr. Bresee's Sea Island Yankee.

An excellent account of a time in history that seems to be forgotten

I picked this book up in Charleston about 10 years ago when I was visiting my sister . People say a lot of things about slavery and the civil war, but I find the truth is buried in the historical journals and first hand accounts written at the time history was that day's news. Of course slavery was bad, but many plantation owners did treat their slaves well, and when it came right down to it, the former slaves and the former masters had to pull together to survive. Not all slaves hated their masters either. Uncle Peter, a former slave, was just such a man. If you want a good picture of how it was, read this book, Tombee, and any other book from the period you can get your hands on. It wasn't all bad and neither was it all good. This book details the horrors of the way. How they walked from Savanna to Charleston, slaves and white folks alike. It tells of the dead and dying, of the stench of war, of the madness, and it tells what it was like to survive when everything was gone. The Lawtons were reduced from upper class to working middle class. Wallace was never able to come to terms with that. It was Cecilia who pulled the family through at a time when women had no power, status, or rights. She lost five of her six children due to lack of proper food and the complications from that. Wallace fell into drunkenness and gambling. He was a broken man and was on the verge of squandering everything. But Cecilia was the strong one, and, through her son, she was able to save the family after Wallace died. Now I haven't read this book in 10 years, but that's how I remember it. It really was an excellent book and gives you one view of how things were in that time of our history. Even though is was a biography, I found myself unable to put it down. It's that good. If you can find a copy, it's well worth the cost and trouble.

History is visualized - July 25, 2003

I am a current resident of a new subdivision that has just been built on Lawton Plantation. After reading this book, I now can visualize the history of the area. As I walk down the new sidewalks and cut through areas under construction, I try to imagine what it was like 150 years ago. I can almost see Uncle Peter as he is walking to his one room cabin. The other night I heard an owl hooting that reminded me of the past when this was a plantation with fields of cotton. Driving over the new bridge to Charleston, I can imagine the Lawton's boat transporting milk and people from the plantation to downtown Charleston. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about plantation life and how it was affected by the Civil War.

A walk through Southern history

A historical story in a very personal fashion. The book recounts the Lawtons family history from before the Civil War until WWII. From the acceptance of slaves as part of plantation life, to the complete dissolution of their economy and beyond - a wonderful story depicting the dynamism and challenges of life.
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