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Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880 [Paperback]

by W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, David Levering Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 1, 1999 0684856573 978-0684856575
The pioneering work in the study of the role of Black Americans during Reconstruction by the most influential Black intellectual of his time.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880 + Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (December 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684856573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684856575
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Crucible of Civil Rights February 4, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Du Bois took a revolutionary new look at Reconstruction in the 1930's, providing a fresh view that went largely ignored until recent books by Foner and Litwack resuscitated this overlooked period in American history. Du Bois summons up his great intellectual bearing to illustrate that from being the unmitigated failure that Reconstruction has long been portrayed as, it was the crucible of civil rights legislation, a time when there was very definitely hope that America would redefine itself along more egalitarian lines. While the book deals predominately with the black man's point of view, Du Bois offers a principled Marxist view of labor relations at the time, and how the leading Radical Republicans tried to come to terms with the new industrial society that was emerging in America.
Du Bois was a very compelling writer, he cuts through the layers of history to reveal the soul of the persons most greatly affected by Reconstruction. He charts the troubled waters of the Civil War, and the Presidential attempts at Reconstruction which followed the Union victories in the South. He provides a candid view of Lincoln, who struggled with his own prejudices, but eventually came to accept the black man because of the pivotal role he played in the war. Ironically, Du Bois noted a black did not become a man until he showed he could hold a gun in battle.
Du Bois felt Lincoln really did alter his views during the course of the war, no longer favoring the colonist view held by many that blacks should be repatriated to Africa. However, Du Bois felt that Lincoln lacked the convictions to really push forward Reconstruction, that his principal concern remained in reclaiming the Southern states in the Union.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Work on the Reconstruction Era January 29, 2004
Given the way race relations have unfolded since the book was written, WEB DuBois' tome is THE essential work on the most pivotal and one of the most grossly underrated periods of American history.
Since it is told from the vantage point of a Black American, it stands as one of the essential missing voices in an otherwise neatly politicized and racially sanitized periods of American history and areas of American historical scholarship.
DuBois, writing with an impressive flair, is not bashful about giving credit where it is due, whether to noble and humane slave owners or to the vastly underrated and seldom reported contributions of Negroes during this period. This emphasis alone is a display of courage unlikely to be found except in very rare instances in other books on this subject.
Despite its flair, the book is still dense with details that only a first rate historian could uncover and organize so well. And although the book has been criticized for being too much of a Marxist economic analysis, it is nevertheless accurate, has the full ring of truth and remains relatively non-polemical. And for one partial to non-Marxist economic analyses, I find rather strangely that DuBois' Marxist analysis seems the appropriate tool uniquely suited for analyzing the circumstances of this particular era of American history.

In short, the book is not just another oblique harangue against the American system of racism as it was practiced during the reconstruction era--or as it has been practiced during any era for that matter.
Along side Eric Froner's book, "Reconstruction," this is another tour de force. For essential reading on one of the most important periods in American history, one is unlikely to find in print a better book on this subject. Amen.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Historiography of a developing America December 8, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If history is a matter of recapturing lost voices, Du Bois does so splendidly in Black Reconstruction. It is somewhat of a tome: this is not summer beach reading. Instead, Du Bois systematically reveals Reconstruction as a critical period of economic and legal development in American history. Themes touched on are black rights, the fledgling American worker's movement, the rise of the corporation, and the corrupt nature of Southern AND Northern American politics vis a vis wealthy white landowners.
If you are interested in a Marxist interpretation of 19th century American history, the general history of Reconstruction itself, or the history of the Civil War, this is a must-read. If you are even remotely curious about the history of civil rights in America, this is a must-read. If you are interested in American history whatsoever, you will not regret reading this book. By all rights, it should be a part of every high school curriculum.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An accurate rendering of a people December 19, 2009
By Tim
Education, Economics, Power. Exploitation of human over human. The revisionist accounts of history. All of these elements which lead naturally to racism have a central role in this monumental effort by W.E.B. Du Bois. He received a Rosenwald scholarship and two years time to research and write this book, which was a one of a kind when it was published in 1935. Most studies of the 10 years immediately following the Civil War (the period known as Reconstruction) had naturally extended the assumed inferiority of an entire race of people into a level of laziness and corruption that appeared to be unprecedented. These versions of history have extended up to our present time, as this is the first encounter I have had with this view of Reconstruction. It is certainly not the common view that is taught in our schools and colleges. The reasons for this "historical blind spot" are debatable. It could be the Marxian economics that are obvious in the text, it could be that this period of history is an embarrassment to the nation, or it could be that racism is still inherent and blatant in our culture. I believe that all three have a part in the writing of today's textbooks.
Du Bois had to begin this book by stating that he wrote this version of Reconstruction with the view that the African American is in fact a human being. That statement alone summed up 300 years of assumed inferiority that continues in the re-writing of history to this moment. To many of us it is hard to imagine the level of ignorance and the false sense of superiority that would have to be achieved in order to directly hold another race of people involuntarily in servitude.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars stunning moving necessary
Du Bois wrote this book in 1935 and it remains essential --in fact it is more essential than ever. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jack Cade
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is an epiphany--
This book changed my life. It changed my entire perspective of my citizenship in this country. It gave me an insight into our country's history that made it possible for me to... Read more
Published on March 4, 2012 by Connie Crothers
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compendium of Lost History
A big, jolly, good friend purchased my book about the Civil Rights Movement from Amazon.
After too many questions, and after his mention of the "Little Rock seeeeven", I used... Read more
Published on March 4, 2010 by Sidney E. Welch DDS
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishing work!
I don't know why, but I waited a while before writing a review of this book. I couldn't get past the violence this book represented. Read more
Published on January 24, 2009 by Dextra L. Suggs
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Reconstruction is a landmark text
This book is incredibly well-researched, strongly argued, and exceptionally well-written. DuBois is someone whom I have always greatly respected, and it was a pleasure to read... Read more
Published on January 17, 2008 by Interested Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Read - Educational
This book is written like a text book on history. It is not for the faint of hear. I guess that would make sense. This is a serious read and makes you think. Read more
Published on September 22, 2006 by Big Sistah Patty
5.0 out of 5 stars The book you need to read
DuBois goes state by ruthless state describing the atrocities committed upon black folks by white folks. Read more
Published on January 20, 2002 by curt broadway
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