An adept distillation of the scholarship that has been produced since the 1950s-thoughtfully reorganized and updated to include a consideration of new works that have appeared since 1987-this new edition of Michael Perman's highly popular book examines the ways in which historians have interpreted what was perhaps the largest program of domestic reform undertaken in the history of the United States.
In addition to accessing the impact of what might best be described as a maturation of the Revisionist history of Emancipation and Reconstruction, Perman introduces previously neglected areas of interest that have assumed new significance, such as the nature of the southern labor system after slavery and the role of African Americans in Reconstruction politics.
The result is a lucid portrait of the post-Civil War years, one reluctant to employ such simplistic and judgemental terms as success or failure in assessing the complex problems of rebuilding the nation.
Michael Perman is Professor of History and Research Professor in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his B.A. at Oxford University and his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. He has written three books on the late nineteenth century South—Reunion Without Compromise: The South and Reconstruction, 1865-1868 (1973), The Road to Redemption: Southern Politics, 1869-1879 (1984), which won three book prizes, and Struggle for Mastery: Disfranchisement in the South, 1888-1908 (2001). He is also editor of Major Problems in the Civil War and Reconstruction (1998), The Coming of the American Civil War (1993), and Perspectives on the American Past (1995). He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1979-80 and has been appointed the John Adams Distinguished Professor in American History in the Netherlands, 2002-2003.