I am currently reading a book I originally got as an assignment in graduate school and now re-reading it for leisure rather than for study. Scalawags: Southern Dissenters In The Civil War And Reconstruction by James Alex Baggett is a great look at southern unionism during the Civil War. Part of it is predictable, that most dissenters came from poorer regions of the south, usually following the spine of the Appalachian Mountains. But what is interesting about this book is that its not a classical political narrative, but rather a broader study of Scalawags, their roots, and what they were doing on a local level. I usually don't like bottom-up history, but in this case its done fairly effectively. In fact, Baggatt's study is almost mathematical in its precision and study of what percent of post-war scalawags served in the Confederacy or in exile. I can't really do it justice, but what is clear is that each state was different and Southern dissenters weren't all the same. Factions, based on geography and ideology, emerge. Secondly, Scalawags aren't the villains southern revisionist of the Dunning School would have you believe. Many were true Unionists, dating back to 1860 and support for either John Bell or Stephen Douglas. These men where rich and poor, driven by both economic and political motives. Something people forget is that for many Southerners, there was a difference between slavery and equal rights. While many despised slavery, they did so because of the power it gave to the planter class, it often had nothing to do with the slaves themselves. But this book is a very surgical look, state by state, of where these folks came from, how they acted, and why they ultimately failed. Its not too long, so it moves swiftly and its easy to follow. Scalawags have been slimed through much of history and in the historiography of Reconstruction, but this book gives us a look into a much more diverse and fractured South that went into the Civil War and emerged from it. I recommend it without hesitation.