Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Reconstruction Updated Edition: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 Paperback – December 2, 2014
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From the Back Cover
With a New Introduction
From the "preeminent historian of Reconstruction" (New York Times Book Review), a newly updated edition of the prizewinning classic work on the post-Civil War period that shaped modern America
Eric Foner's "masterful treatment of one of the most complex periods of American history" (New Republic) redefined how the post–Civil War period was viewed.
Reconstruction chronicles the way in which Americans—black and white—responded to the unprecedented changes unleashed by the war and the end of slavery. It addresses the quest of emancipated slaves searching for economic autonomy and equal citizenship, and describes the remodeling of Southern society, the evolution of racial attitudes and patterns of race relations, and the emergence of a national state possessing vastly expanded authority and committed, for a time, to the principle of equal rights for all Americans.
This "smart book of enormous strengths" (Boston Globe) remains the standard work on the wrenching post–Civil War period—an era whose legacy still reverberates in the United States today.
About the Author
Eric Foner is DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University and the author of several books. In 2006 he received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching at Columbia University. He has served as president of the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Society of American Historians. He lives in New York City.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
Foner presents a four-part argument in Reconstruction. First and foremost, he argues that African Americans “were active agents in the making of Reconstruction” (xxiv). Additionally, he argues that the changes during Reconstruction resulted from “a complex series of interactions among blacks and whites, Northerners and Southerners, in which victories were often tentative and outcomes subject to challenge and revision” (xxv). Third, “racism was an intrinsic part of the progress of historical development, which affected and was affected by changes in the social and political order” (xxvi). Finally, the same economic and class changes that occurred in the South were simultaneously occurring in the North.
Elaborating on his first point, Foner writes, “Black soldiers played a crucial role not only in winning the Civil War, but in defining the war’s consequences. Their service helped transform the nation’s treatment of blacks and blacks’ conception of themselves” (8). Foner writes of black Republicans, “The spectacle of former slaves representing the lowcountry rice kingdom or the domain of Natchez cotton nabobs epitomized the political revolution wrought by Reconstruction” (355). When addressing class issues, Foner describes the conflict between elite and common Southerners as “a civil war within the Civil War” (15). Discussing the impact of racism on politics, Foner writes, “Even where blacks enjoyed greater influence within the party, Republican governors initially employed their influence to defeat civil rights bills or vetoed them when passed, fearing that such measures threatened the attempt to establish their administrations’ legitimacy by wooing white support” (370). Elaborating on his Southerners’ reactions to Northern involvement in the South, Foner argues against the traditional narrative of carpetbaggers, writing, “Despite instances of violent hostility or ostracism, most Southern planters recognized that Northern investment, ironically, was raising land prices and rescuing many former slaveholders from debt – in a word, stabilizing their class” (137). Foner describes the economic changes of Reconstruction, writing, “Republican rule subtly altered the balance of power in the rural South” (401), and planters, “once alone at the apex of Southern society, they now saw other groups rising in economic importance” (399). To Foner, the Northern Reconstruction involved increasing industrialization, government activism and public reform, wage-earning dominating jobs, new social opportunities for African Americans, and the rise of Gilded Age politics (460-511).
Foner draws upon various manuscripts and letters in archives throughout the United States, government documents such as Congressional records, newspapers, contemporary publications from the time of Reconstruction, and memoirs written after the fact. He also performs a great deal of synthesis of the various parts of the historiography, working to undo the legacy of the Dunning School’s racism. As Foner wrote in 2014, “Most books in the New American Nation Series summarize, often very ably, the current state of historical scholarship, rather than rely on new research” (<i>Updated Edition</i>, xxix). His contribution blends the two approaches.