- Hardcover: 640 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (October 24, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393292630
- ISBN-13: 978-0393292633
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America 1st Edition
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“Luminous…an exemplary contribution to the history of the Civil War and its aftermath.”
- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“A superb, readable work of history.”
- Publishers Weekly, starred review
“[An] elegant book. With great skill, Edward Ayers weaves the stories of these Virginia and Pennsylvania counties together with events in the rest of the nation into a seamless whole that offers important new insights.”
- James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom
“A stellar feat of historical scholarship and storytelling. Ayers offers a masterful, engaging narrative that makes the second half of the war and its immediate aftermath seem vividly fresh.”
- David S. Reynolds, author of John Brown, Abolitionist
“Deftly crossing lines of race, party, and region, Edward Ayers embeds the Civil War and Reconstruction in social settings enriched by individual stories of freedom and slavery, suffering and loss, heroism and desperation. Eloquent, vivid, insightful, and powerful, The Thin Light of Freedom exposes racial and cultural fault lines of enduring relevance.”
- Alan Taylor, author of American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750–1804
“Edward Ayers masters a unique combination of detailed, granular, profoundly human social history with an extraordinary skill at narrative and a rare humility. This is the brilliant, long-awaited exclamation mark for the Valley of the Shadow.”
- David W. Blight, author of a forthcoming biography of Frederick Douglass
About the Author
Edward L. Ayers is the author of the Bancroft Prize–winning In the Presence of Mine Enemies and other works of history honored as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. A recipient of the National Humanities Medal from President Obama, Ayers is Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and president emeritus at the University of Richmond.
Top customer reviews
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The WAR did not provide for the healing of the Union. What had been before the war - a political balance between severely conflicting views over what the future of the US should be, was hijacked by a well meaning but rather clumsy and heavy handed centralized government driven by the Personality of Lincoln himself. The suspension of civil rights in the North and the suppression of all opposition left a permanent bad taste in many people both north and south.
He draws clear parallels between the run up to the Civil War and the present state of affairs in the US today. We are simply repeating the problems that produced the greatest loss of life and suffering on the continent. The US is not at present a Union at all. It is in reality two warring factions using politics to fight the battles. We need to change the win at any cost objectives of our political leaders, and we must stop vilifying anyone who opposes our viewpoints if we ever hope to have a free and peaceful society.
Caution must be exercised by both sides or we could replay history on a scale that would destroy the US and end the noble experiment undertaken on this continent in 1776.
A well-written book, it helps one clearly understand how the most deadly and significant war in our nation's history impacted local communities, local politics, and local race relations. I found highly rewarding pages on such incidents as the intentional burning of Chambersburg, on the mixed record of Reconstruction, and, generally, on the hardened racial attitudes of Southern whites and Northern Democrats. The war's end brought the Southern white to his knees, but did not change his heart.
If you wonder, so many decades after the 1860s, why certain cities of our country are now still grappling with the idea of removing public statues honoring Confederate heroes, Professor Ayers' book provides a good starting point to understanding.
This book should win prizes.