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Publisher's Summary

The great majority of the South's plantation homes have been destroyed over time, and many have long been forgotten. In Lost Plantations of the South, Marc R. Matrana weaves together diaries and letters and other rare documents to tell the story of 60 of these vanquished estates and the people who once called them home.

From plantations that were destroyed by natural disaster, such as Alabama’s Forks of Cypress, to those that were intentionally demolished, such as Seven Oaks in Louisiana and Mount Brilliant in Kentucky, Matrana resurrects these lost mansions. Including plantations throughout the South as well as border states, Matrana carefully tracks the histories of each from the earliest days of construction to the often contentious struggles to preserve these irreplaceable historic treasures. 

Lost Plantations of the South explores the root causes of demise and provides understanding and insight on how lessons learned in these sad losses can help prevent future preservation crises. Capturing the voices of masters and mistresses alongside those of slaves, this book explores the powerful and complex histories of these cardinal homes across the South.

The book is published by University Press of Mississippi.

©2009 University Press of Mississippi (P)2017 Redwood Audiobooks

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Lost Plantations ... AND their long lost stories!

Wow. This was a LOT more than I expected! Not just filled with architectural descriptions as the title might imply - but includes MANY awesome stories and facts about life on the individual plantations - most of which I guarantee you have not read elsewhere, ...unless you have a whopping huge library.

It really made it quite interesting with all these behind the scenes goings on! Hardships, frivolity, sadness, ingenuity and determination, and certainly not the way Hollywood portrays it! I learned LOTS of things that I never knew concerning how things were done back in the day.

Of course for the purist history buffs, there are also oodles of the who, what, wheres, names, dates, and places as well. And believe it or not, that was even fascinating too, hearing about how certain properties were acquired - stolen - or lost!

I thought the narrator did a great job. It was like you were getting a personally guided tour from one of the long time local historians. Pleasant mature voice. I can almost see him standing there wearing a white linen suit as he points to one of the buildings on the sprawling plantation. Lol.

Although I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request in exchange for my voluntary review, I can honestly say that I enjoyed this one.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Lost Plantations

This is an extensive study of Southern plantations that have been lost due to natural disaster, neglect and lack of foresight. The author has does a great job in researching these plantations. There are extensive descriptions of the start of the plantations, their various owners, the reasons for their demise and the treatment of the slaves owned by the planters.

I enjoyed listening to the book, but I think that this type of book would be better in a hard copy. The addition of maps, illustrations/photos, and a glossary for the various unfamiliar architectural terms would have been helpful in understanding what you are reading. Having lived close to a lot of these plantations, I especially enjoyed hearing about them and wish I could travel back to see the sites of the old mansions.

The narrator does a good job, but I had to speed up my Kindle to 1.5 in order to keep my interest.

If you are interested in the history of Southern plantations, the Civil War's impact on the South or just history in general, this is an interesting read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Lost Plantations

This was a bit dry,but very interesting.Not ALL but a lot of the plantations that onced graced the slave states are mentioned in this book.Some of the stories are fascinating!John Burlinson was a fine narrator.“I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.”

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting ride through history and architecture

I didn’t know how this book would work as audio. Seems like it could only be a coffee table book with lots of pictures. I’d never listened to a book about architecture. What kept me going was all the history woven throughout. Being a difficult subject, necessarily including the horrors of slavery, the author does a great job at balancing all these sensitive issues. Trying to stick to the architectural and heritage issues, he also sprinkles in great anecdotes, family histories, and the true brutality of human beings’ inhumanity to each other. Many of the plantations have been lost, many to fire. The only thing that struck me as odd is that the author is constantly surprised that any arsonist would dare burn down some of these structures. He never addresses that the plantation houses were (and are) seen by some as representations of institutionalized racism and a mocking reminded of the evils of slavery. Other than that, it was a very detailed and fascinating ride through history. Note to the narrator: Great job recording this book, but the sound quality sounded a bit “tinny.” I’m no technician, but it sounds like a quality issue with the studio space or equipment. Glad I listened to this book. I was given a free review copy of this audiobook and have voluntarily left this honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Fascinating Exploration of America's History

This book describes at least one lost plantation from each Southern state, and the narrator's accent is appropriately Southern. Some of these impressive and significant buildings were lost to natural disasters, such as hurricanes; a distressing number were lost to arson; some are now submerged beneath man-made lakes; and some simply decayed because of neglect. Many of these structures survived into the late 20th century before succumbing.

I was worried that this might be a "moonlight and magnolias" account of the South which ignored the sufferings and contributions of the plantations' enslaved workers. Happily, that was not the case. The author uses primary documents to give glimpses into life on these plantations, much of it vivid and fascinating. The amount of scholarship that went into this work is pretty astounding, and I appreciated the author's mention of other works so that the listener can find out more about the sites in particular areas.

I decided not to give the "story" 5 stars because I did think there were some bits that were unnecessary or went on too long, accounts that have been ably told elsewhere (about Fanny Kemble, for example). But then, I have been studying the American South for about two decades now. If a listener is just beginning to explore this region, (s)he will probably enjoy those bits.

In addition, only listening to this book doesn't do it justice. While the author describes the elaborate lost mansions, it's hard for the listener to really visualize them without seeing the photographs, paintings, and floor plans included in the ebook and print versions. But then, I would probably not have discovered this book without the audiobook, and I certainly wouldn't have "read" the whole thing. Each format has its advantages.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Exemplary

I just love old homes and architecture of the early homes and plantations. This book is beyond excellent. So much depth to each homes story. I have been looking up each one to see pictures. I’m listening to it a little at a time because I find myself playing it back to rehear some of the details again. I wish I had a better memory I love sharing bits and pieces of this book with others. What s gem! I received this book at no charge for an honest review. I’m so glad I took a chance on it. Continuing to Relisten to it hoping to gain even more gems to share. :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Southern Charm

“Lost Plantations of the South” is one of those books where you think “this just isn’t going to be for me”. Then next thing you realize is you’re halfway through and talking to your friends about Southern charm, Southern architecture, and the Southern way of life. For me it was the history of each of the plantations and homes covered in the book. Marc Matrana’s research and writing take you through the lives of each of these homes and John Burlinson brings it to life with a twinge of Southern charm.

An excellent listen, y’all.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Love the southern drawl

Fantastic in depth look at the lost plantations of the south. Love the combination of description on architecture to personal accounts of Plantation life. Great narration.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Absolutely wonderful and educational

I found this to be very educational as far as learning about these great plantations. I felt as though I was taken on a tour and shown everything about how they were built, managed, how ownership was transferred and even how they were eventually destroyed. Listening to John Burlinson narrate this book made me feel like I was given a personal guided tour. He did such a great job with the narration that I didn't get bored (some of these types of books can begin to drone on after a while). I highly recommend this book to anyone who thinks they may find it interesting. The only thing that would make it better would be if I could also look at pictures while listening! I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Drew
  • Bmore
  • 01-02-18

A travel thru southern history

Loved it. This book really helps you understand the south through their plantations. What they became and what they are now. The narrator was superb. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful