- Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Books; First Edition edition (October 12, 1967)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 039470388X
- ISBN-13: 978-0394703886
- Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.7 x 7.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #719,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Era of Reconstruction 1865-1877 First Edition Edition
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"... [Kenneth M. Stampp] has woven the strands of a complicated story, and given the radical Reconstructionists a fair hearing without oversimplifying their motives. That this book is also excellent reading will not surprise those who know Mr. Stampp's other distinguished works about the Civil War."
-- Willie Lee Rose, The New York Times Book Review
"... [Mr. Stampp] knows his specialty holds vital information for our own time, and he feels an obligation to give it general currency, especially the Reconstruction years 1865-1877 where dangerous myths still abound. The result of his concern is this lucid, literate survey... Because he is not afraid to state opinions and to draw contemporary parallels, he has provided considerable matter for speculation, especially in regard to the ultimate cause of Radical failure to achieve equality for the Negro..."
-- Martin Duberman, Book Week
"... Carefully and judiciously, Professor Stampp takes us over the old ground, dismantling one myth after another."
-- Virginia Quarterly Review
From the Publisher
"Carefully and judiciously, Professor Stampp takes over the old ground, dismantling one myth after another."--Virginia Quarterly Review
Top customer reviews
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First off, this book was very easy to get through. While Foner provided a lot of detail, the structure was horrible, jumping around chronologically and geographically. Stampp, on the other hand, told one aspect of the story at a time, often focusing on one person/faction through several years, which gave significant insight into the reasons behind various decisions. Foner only really did this when referring to Johnson, and not to the same extent. In both layout and insight, this book blew Foner's away.
To be fair, Foner does offer one thing Stampp does not, which is a focus on Negroes in America during Reconstruction. Because Stampp focuses on political movers and shakers, the true impact of a lot of these policies can be missed, and Foner locked in on them with letters written by the affected people, a small collection of pictures, and local stories. This decision resulted in more "jumping around," but it was moving, and resulted in a greater knowledge of their situation.
I wasn't fond of the attempts at persuasiveness. He makes a valid point about the Reconstruction's popular view being a bit unfair, but he devotes pages to just arguing their intentions. This is not a long book, and I felt cheated out of worthwhile information to make room for this narrative. Still, there is a lot of worthwhile information, and the majority of it does support his argument.
My biggest complaint, though, and it is a failure on the parts of both Foner and Stampp, is that after 1872 the book just falls apart. In Foner's case, it's not as noticeable. After all, there is no structure to lose. In Stampp's, 1872-1877 is touched on briefly, and while I understand some of that was due to their being fewer groundbreaking laws, amendments, and initiatives, the writing in this section seems like someone eager to be done with the book. Additionally, and this is unforgivable, there is disturbingly little information on the election of 1876.
The 1876 election is mainly regarded as the most controversial election in US history. In addition, it is considered the end of Reconstruction. Devoting so little energy into explaining the mindsets, deals, and key players involved in this event is comparable to not mentioning any debates or actions during the Civil War; it is an exclusion of one of the most significant events in the Reconstruction.
It would be more accurate to describe this book as 1865-1872, with a few notes on surrounding years. And again, Foner was not any better in this regard.
All in all, I recommend this over Foner's work, which was the standard when I began reading this. There is no question that Stampp offers the reader a clearer picture of the Reconstruction as a whole. I would like to give this 3.5 stars, but that wasn't an option, so I went with 4.
Stampp is no more valid than Dunning.
Stampp briskly lays out how Reconstruction began, why Congress needed to take it over, the strengths and errors of Congressional Reconstruction, and the sad collapse of the North's willpower to protect the blacks it had liberated in 1865.
As other commenters note, Stampp's 1965 book differs from contemporary views; Grant's stock as a president has gone up, and more attention should be paid to blacks themselves as agents (as was the complaint about Spielberg's "Lincoln" movie). Due to when it was written, Stampp's book also has to consider and rebut pro-Southern arguments that were taken much more seriously in his day. In that regard, the book reminds me of books on evolution that don't go into sufficient detail because they are too busy rebutting creationists.
But for the reader new to Reconstruction, the book is still very much worth reading.
Midwest Independent Research, educational websites. US History, mwir-ushistory.blogspot. There is a book list here.
Most recent customer reviews
Back in the days of my personal `pre-history' the Reconstruction period directly after the American Civil War ended in 1865 was cast as...Read more