As a collection of ""First Hand Accounts of the Ante-Bellum American Southland before the Civil War, from Northern & Southern Whites, Negroes, & Foreign Observers,"" with a brief introduction and even briefer notes on each writer, this book might seem at a glance to be scarcely more than a footnote to one of the most urgent of contemporary issues. That it is so much more than this--that nearly all of it reads with the immediacy of tomorrow's headlines--can only be due to Professor Wish's unerring sense for the telling quotation. Nat Turner and Frederick Douglass are here, of course, as re Frederick Law Olmstead and Thomas Jefferson; but it is the pieces from lesser-knowns which prove most affecting. Wisely the number of voices heard from has been kept small, o that the experts may all be long enough to deliver their full impact. The range of opinion, also, would seem eminently fair--if it were not for the fact that by the time we have read the Negro accounts, no amount of eloquence can save the argument for the white supremacists. An incidental triumph of the book is to reaffirm the traditional theory of the cause of the Civil War: to uphold on the one hand, and to destroy on the other, a thoroughly reprehensible institution.