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Landon Carter's Uneasy Kingdom Revolution and Rebellion on

Landon Carter a Virginia planter left behind one of the most revealing of all American diaries In this astonishingly rich biography Isaac mines this remarkable document and many other sources to reconstruct Carter's interior world as it plunged into revolution The aging patriarch though a fierce supporter of American liberty was deeply troubled by the rebellion and its threat to established order His diary originally a record of plantation business began to fill with angry stories of revolt in his own little kingdom Carter writes at white heat his words sputtering from his pen as he documents the terrible rupture that the Revolution meant to him Indeed Carter felt in his heart that he was chronicling a world in decline the passing of the order that his revered father had bequeathed to him Not only had Landon's king betrayed his subjects but Landon's own household betrayed him his son showed insolent defiance his daughter Judith eloped with a forbidden suitor all of his slaves conspired constantly and eight of them made an armed exodus to freedom The seismic upheaval he helped to start had crumbled the foundations of Carter's own home In Landon Carter's Uneasy Kingdom Rhys Isaac unfolds not only the life but also the mental world of our countrymen in a long distant time Moreover in this presentation of Landon Carter's passionate narratives the diarist becomes an arresting new character in the world's literature a figure of Shakespearean proportions the Lear of his own tragic kingdom This long awaited work will be seen both as a major contribution to Revolution history and a triumph of the art of biography

10 thoughts on “Landon Carter's Uneasy Kingdom Revolution and Rebellion on a Virginia Plantation

  1. says:

    Landon Carter was a wealthy plantation owner in Virginia in the decades preceding the American Revolution This book which is a history not historical fiction tells of his life from about 1760 until his death in 1778 and is based on historical documents but mostly in Carter's diaries They paint a picture of man who was torn between his paternalistic approach to his family plantation and politics and the changing times He had over 400 slaves and a large family His diaries are full of his experiences and thoughts as the head of the family a man responsible for his people slaves member of the Virginia House of Burgesses a scientific farmer a healer and philosopherThis book is a slow read largely because to language in his diaries employs a strange syntax and unusual words and their meanings some of which are explained by the author but many aren'tWhile this is an interesting first hand account of life on a plantation during these troubled times my primary desire to read this book was because Landon Carter was my great great great great great grandfather