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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterly History of Reconstruction
Foners excellent book is a masterfull historical synthesis of the period known as Reconstruction after the American Civil War (1861-65).

The book is extremely readable, comprehensive and full of intelligent analysis of the social, cultural, racial and economic forces of the era amply illustrated with pertinent quotes from all those involved. The situation after...
Published on 3 April 2009 by S Wood

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3.0 out of 5 stars Worthy but not gripping.
A very comprehensive examination of all the problems and issues associated with Reconstruction. An excellent text book and reference source, however, as I had come to "Reconstruction" on the back of the superb "Battle Cry Freedom" I was disappointed. It lacks the creative and literary spark of a top class read. So worthy but not gripping.
Published 6 months ago by meredydd78


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterly History of Reconstruction, 3 April 2009
By 
S Wood (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Reconstruction (New American Nation Series) (Paperback)
Foners excellent book is a masterfull historical synthesis of the period known as Reconstruction after the American Civil War (1861-65).

The book is extremely readable, comprehensive and full of intelligent analysis of the social, cultural, racial and economic forces of the era amply illustrated with pertinent quotes from all those involved. The situation after the end of the civil war when the defeated south was occupied by the Union Army is one that I knew little about before reading this book, but that proved to be no obstacle to engaging with Foners well written book.

He pictures the position of the freed Slaves, the Confederate south and the Union North with great skill; not simplifying or glossing over nuances but presenting a full picture of all the forces, pressures and ideologies that clashed within that era. The plight of the freed blacks, and their frustrations in attempting to claim a full political, social and economic role within the post civil war United States is particularly harrowing and frustrating for anyone with a sense of fairness. The level of white violence which goes beyond the Ku Klux Klan to a fair proportion of the southern Democratic party is sickening, I had no idea at how pervasive and murderous it was.

It is definitely worth getting holding of, and if you can't stomach the 600 pages of the unabridged edition (or have a weak wrist) then there is a shorter version available too - A Short History of Reconstruction. I look forward to getting my hands on other works by Eric Foner.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent detailed account of Reconstruction., 23 Jan 2010
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G. Brown "Kang" (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Reconstruction (New American Nation Series) (Paperback)
This book was practically my bible for American Reconstruction when I was an undergraduate. It assesses the era from 1863-77 in great detail, rejecting the early prejudiced Dunning School interpretation, and the post-revisionist studies of the 70s and 80s, which viewed the Republicans as inherently conservative in their approach to Reconstruction.

Foner's own view is something closer to a revisionist. He views the freed slaves as active, central participants in the story of Reconstruction, and emphasises the dramatic social change that occurred in both the North and the South at this time.

He does seem to favour social history, but because the study is so extensive there is plenty of political narrative for the political historian (such as myself) as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional overview., 14 May 2014
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The Reconstruction era is one of the most contentious periods in American history. This book examines the issues clearly with a fine academic rigour. The issues surrounding the reintegration of the devastated South live on in contemporary American politics. This book is an important contribution to the understanding of it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Worthy but not gripping., 20 April 2014
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This review is from: Reconstruction (New American Nation Series) (Paperback)
A very comprehensive examination of all the problems and issues associated with Reconstruction. An excellent text book and reference source, however, as I had come to "Reconstruction" on the back of the superb "Battle Cry Freedom" I was disappointed. It lacks the creative and literary spark of a top class read. So worthy but not gripping.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive but difficult, 19 Mar 2014
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Cowley (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I found this book difficult to read because it is overly wordy and far too long. It would have benefited from a good editor, been far shorter with briefer chapters with a clearer, more precise and a sharper description of events. The subject is both important and fascinating but, in the authors hands, it is dull.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and thorough look at a nexus in american history, 18 Oct 1998
By A Customer
Eric Foner once again makes an important contribution to the understanding of our nations history of the mid-to-late 19th century. In this book, Foner picks an epoch of our nations history that is so fraught with passion and hyberpole that it is often difficult to sift through the heat and noise to undestand the critical substrate. Foner examines the critical contributers to the shaping of this period (abolitionists, negros, southern sympathizers and the 19th century political machines) and fairly and thoroughly articulates their motivations, tactics and the ultimate result of their efforts. Most refreshingly, Foner spends ample time examining the contributions of the freed slaves themselves - a needed counterpoint to history from both sides of the debate which focus on the freed slave as either victim or usurper, but which rarely offers insight into their motivations and the more subtle aspects of their achievements. While other histories have focused on such achievements as the election of negros to the position of senator, etc., Foner looks at more lasting impacts such as the formation of the independent black churches and the shift of black labor patterns from gang-work to independent sharecroppers working subsistence plots. Added to such insights are a wealth of references of other eminent scholars of the period and a wider view of 19th century america within which to place an understanding of reconstruction. All in all an excellent read. I highly recommend.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent survey of the period, 11 July 1999
By A Customer
Foner is an excellent writer, and he manages in this book to provide an engaging overview of this period in American history. What's more, the narrative is shaped throughout by a provocative and convincing interpretation of the events and what they meant for this country.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good,well written, useful and INTERESTING, 26 Nov 2001
As an undergraduate student I found this book most usefull, for both basic grounding in the period and it's events and it's coherent and accessable anaysis. The use of examples is usuful and informative while conveying the humanity of the subject. This is a recomended book at my university, and is eminently readable.
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Reconstruction (New American Nation Series)
Reconstruction (New American Nation Series) by Eric Foner (Paperback - 1 April 2002)
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