Book of the Week


The Ordeal of the Reunion: A New History of Reconstruction
by Mark Wahlgren Summers

“Effectively captures the turmoil and frustrations of the era. . . . [and] shows how economic woes affected Reconstruction’s prospects.”
--Publishers Weekly
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Stephen Cushman: The 150th Anniversary of Probable Failure

Overshadowed, dispiriting, fretful intervals have their anniversaries, too, but they rarely get much attention, even though they took up most of the 1500 days of the war for one side or the other. […]

William A. Blair: When Silence Wasn’t Golden

There are moments in our past that occur in such a singular context that one hopes that they will provide no precedent for successive generations. This is one of those moments. […]

Glenn David Brasher: Historians’ Approach to “Lincoln”

At the Civil War Monitor, historian Glenn David Brasher reviews Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln and argues that the film should be judged based on what it was meant to be, not what historians would like to see. […]

Elizabeth Keckley in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”

Spielberg based more than 40 of his characters on historical figures; included in this group is Elizabeth Keckley, an enslaved woman whose 1868 book (Behind the Scenes, Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House) UNC Press and the UNC Library republished last year through the DocSouth Books program. […]

Kate Masur on Lincoln’s emigration proposal and the views of African American delegates

For all the attention to Lincoln’s ideas and motivations, however, there has been very little focus on the delegates’ side of the story. For decades no one even knew who they were, much less what they stood for. Drawing on the work of the historian Benjamin Quarles, many believed that four of the five delegates were uneducated former slaves, hand-picked by Lincoln and his colonization commissioner, James Mitchell, to be pliable and subservient. In fact, all five of the men who listened to Lincoln’s case for colonization were members of Washington’s free black elite, chosen by a formal meeting of representatives from Washington’s independent black churches. […]