“. . . this volume presents a reasonable, fresh, and well-researched reading of several key texts in American studies.” —Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas
During the Civil War, a crisis erupted in philanthropy that dramatically changed humanitarian theories and demanded new approaches to humanitarian work. Certain writer-activists began to advocate an “eccentric benevolence”—a type of philanthropy that would undo the distinction between the powerful bestowers of benevolence and the weaker folks who receive it. Among the figures discussed are the anti-philanthropic Henry David Thoreau and the dangerously philanthropic John Brown.