A Short History of Reconstruction by Eric Foner

By Eric Foner

An abridged model of Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, the definitive examine of the aftermath of the Civil battle, winner of the Bancroft Prize, Avery O. Craven Prize, Los Angeles Times booklet Award, Francis Parkman Prize, and Lionel Trilling Prize.

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He never whipped her again. She seemed to be more aware of how life was harder now. Things she wouldn’t have paid attention to before, she seemed to be noticing. On her way to and from school, she passed the farm of a man named Mr. Bafford. His wife had left him to raise their son by himself, and he seemed to take out his grief on those around him. He had a yard full of trees that bore more fruit than he could ever consume or pick fast enough to sell. The peaches and apples and pears were some of the biggest and sweetest in the bottoms.

They left. 1 This was the terror from which I fled. 2 She is sitting in a cotton housedress on a baby blue, plastic-covered easy chair by the window. She is looking through a parting of the curtains at the street circus below. There they are, all scuffling beneath her: urban drug dealers, falling-down sweatpants pooling at their feet, now bent over the driver’s-side window of a late-model sedan from the suburbs; fourth-graders doing lookout for men who could be their fathers; young girls with their stomachs swelling already; middle-aged men living out of their Pontiacs; gangsters who might not make it to the weekend.

Official records corroborated those details that were indeed verifiable. But it is the larger emotional truths, the patient retelling of people’s interior lives and motivations, that are the singular gift of the accounts in this book. With the passing of the earliest and succeeding generations of migrants, it is these stories that have become the least replaceable sources of any understanding of this great movement of people out of the South to the American North and West. This book covers a span of some one hundred years.

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