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The Georgia Coast is one the most intriguing areas of the United States. A land of sluggish rivers, murkey blackwater swamps, and studded with a string of islands, it is the home of a special breed of people. They are as wild, reckless, exciting, beautiful, and contradictory as the land itself. One thing is for sure: both natives and visitors love it. But the story of this land is one that is often known about only in legend and hearsay, in stories and novels, and even in a few dissertations.
By focusing on James Hamilton Couper, James Bagwell paints a portrait of the Georgia Coast during the late eighteenth century through the middle of the nineteenth century. Couper's family was originally from Scotland, where the story actually begins, but settled on the Georgia Coast. When James Hamilton Couper was grown, he attended Yale, but returned to make a name for himself and his plantation in politics, plantation management, scientific agriculture, archaeology, and architecture. Bagwell also discusses the role of Couper as a slave owner and of slave-life on the plantation.
But the book is more than about Couper; he is simply the pivot of the book. The real story here is the Coastal land itself: socially, economically, religiously, and politically. From the colonial days on the coast through the American Civil War, Bagwell has written a compelling story of a most enigmatic land: the Georgia Coast.
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