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Publisher's Summary

From one of our most distinguished historians, a new examination of the vitally important years of Emancipation and Reconstruction during and immediately following the Civil War - a necessary reconsideration that emphasizes the era's political and cultural meaning for today's America.

Drawing on a wide range of long-neglected documents, Eric Foner places a new emphasis on the centrality of the Black experience to an understanding of the era. We see African Americans as active agents in overthrowing slavery, in helping win the Civil War, and - even more actively - in shaping Reconstruction and creating a legacy long obscured and misunderstood. Foner makes clear how, by war's end, freed slaves in the South built on networks of church and family in order to exercise their right of suffrage as well as gain access to education, land, and employment.

He shows us that the birth of the Ku Klux Klan and renewed acts of racial violence were retaliation for the progress made by blacks soon after the war. He refutes lingering misconceptions about Reconstruction, including the attribution of its ills to corrupt African American politicians and "carpetbaggers," and connects it to the movements for civil rights and racial justice.

©2005 Forever Free, Inc. (P)2020 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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The best "short" introduction to Reconstruction

I teach the Reconstruction period and its aftermath at the undergraduate level, and this book is required reading for my course. Foner is the country's pre-eminent historian of the period, and his lengthy definitive history of Reconstruction and an abridged edition of it -- America's Unfinished Revolution -- are classics. This newer work is for those who aren't ready to tackle the detailed examination of the period, but it sacrifices nothing in breadth, quality or content. In fact, it is two books in one, with additional essays by Joshua Brown, fully illustrated, on how Black Americans have been portrayed in popular media, primarily print, over the period of Reconstruction and its aftermath (an aftermath that is not nearly finished.) If you know little about this critical period in US history and want to start with a readable, comprehensive and expert introduction, this is the book.

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Outstanding Coverage of Reconstruction

...and the situation leading up to it and events that happened after. Beautifully written and read.