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Children's LiteratureAfter four dreadful years and much loss of life, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant finally put an end to the Civil War on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. What followed was a period of time often called the Reconstruction. President Lincoln did not want to be too harsh with the South, but he was assassinated soon after the end of the war. His replacement, Andrew Johnson, was determined that the states that seceded and went to war against the union would have to prove their loyalty. In his Proclamation of Amnesty Plan he demanded that fifty percent of voters in Confederate States swear U. S. loyalty and accept the 13th amendment, which made slavery against the law. None of the new state constitutions gave African Americans the right to vote and many former Confederate leaders returned to their former situations. The author goes on to show us how the President and the Congress fought over the issue of Civil Rights, resulting in the Civil Rights Act of 1866. In the fourth chapter the phenomenon known as the "Radical Reconstruction" is discussed. It was an extraordinary time for the civil rights movement but the advances made were soon rolled back as is shown in the next two chapters. We learn about the efforts made to strengthen the civil rights laws, yet the counter reaction to these efforts was swift and terrible for the African American community. African Americans found themselves facing organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and later were separated from the whites by Jim Crow laws. There are interesting annotated illustrations, maps and pages or boxes of additional information throughout the book. At the back of the book the reader will find a timeline, a glossary, alist of suggested books for further reading, a list of "Places of Interest," a list of Internet sites, and an index. This is one of the six books in the "Civil War Events" series and also part of the Bridgestone "Let Freedom Ring" series. 2003, Capstone Press, Ages 8 to 9.
— Marya Jansen-Gruber