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Terror in the Heart of Freedom: Citizenship, Sexual Violence, and the Meaning of Race in the Postemancipation South (Gender and American Culture) Paperback – February 1, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0807858820 ISBN-10: 080785882X Edition: 1St Edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Gender and American Culture
  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1St Edition edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080785882X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807858820
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


A provocative and ultimately persuasive account of the symbolic and discursive power of violence to construct meanings of citizenship and political belonging.--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

A significant contribution in our understanding of the meaning of gender roles, racial and sexual violence, and citizenship.--The Alabama Review

An excellent and important book. Rosen has made strong and thought-provoking connections between the politics of citizenship, gender constructions, and sexual violence in the South during Reconstruction. . . . An interesting and powerful work.--Journal of American Ethnic History

This book is a must-read for anyone studying Reconstruction. . . . Terror in the Heart of Freedom makes a significant contribution to our understanding of black women's notions of freedom, virtue, and citizenship.--American Nineteenth Century History

Rosen's accomplishments in this book are impressive and many. Combining solid research with an astute analysis of political rhetoric, her conclusions . . . are persuasive. . . . Of value and interest to the specialist as well as the classroom teacher.--Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

Interesting and sound. . . . Rosen makes a unique contribution.--Arkansas Historical Quarterly

An admirable job. . . . Invaluable to students of Reconstruction, race, or gender. . . . Highly recommended.--Choice


Terror in the Heart of Freedom offers a compelling theoretical framework and is filled with first-rate close readings of Reconstruction debates and testimony. It advances our understanding of the connections between politics and gender, political terror and sexual violence, and the politics of slavery and of Reconstruction. It is truly exciting and important work. We need this book.--Stephen Kantrowitz, University of Wisconsin-Madison|Terror in the Heart of Freedom is an outstanding book. It places gender and sexuality at the center of the story of emancipation and its aftermath in the decade following the Civil War. No other historian has analyzed the meaning of sexual violence for black women and men and for southern men, black and white, with the depth and breadth offered by Rosen. This book will transform the way American historians teach about Reconstruction and the way women's historians teach about gender and sexual violence.--Nancy A. Hewitt, Rutgers University

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lachicuela on January 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
Hannah Rosen has written a compelling, at times brilliant, history of the ways and lengths to which black men and, especially, women fought for freedom. Following the destruction of slavery and the legal architecture it relied on, former enslaved people brought a hopeful vision to their daily struggles for freedom. As she examines the short-lived window of both hope and violence before another unequal racial hierarchy was constituted, Rosen shows how battles over enactments of citizenship, and the violence perpetrated by whites to constrain it, played out in the terrain of gender and sexuality, in particular, as black women struggled to control access to their own bodies and black men attempted to live out (white) masculine norms.

Two chapters anchor the book: ch 4 on struggles over the revamping of the Arkansas state constitution and ch 5, which details the threats of terror enacted on black women and the lengths to which they went to resist such terror. Prior to reading chapter 4, I imagined that any examination on state constitutions would be dry, but in Rosen's hands, the chapter shows the process by which opponents of extending full citizenship to blacks began to erect a new legal architecture of racial inequality.

No short review can do justice to such a wonderful book by a very skilled historian. A definite must-read!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Preston on November 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I have to agree with the other reviewer that this is an excellent book, well-researched and well-written.

However, based upon a number of books, I think this book is slightly revisionist.

I'd recommend the following as further reading on the subject for a balanced perspective.

Women of the Klan: Foundations of Modern Feminism

Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s
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