This fifth volume in the Young Readers' History of the Civil War series takes on the difficult period between 1865 and 1877, when Federal troops were stationed in the former Confederacy to oversee the physical and political rebuilding of the ravaged South. Period illustrations, pamphlets, and first-person accounts are interspersed with an historical account heavily weighed toward helping the reader grasp the plight of freedmen trying to gain literacy and the vote while working within the confines of the white South's prejudices. This should be required reading for students studying the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. If kids don't understand the implications of the original poll tax, they'll have difficulty understanding its aftermath.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8Two additions to one of the best series on the Civil War in recent years. In Reconstruction, Mettger faces the daunting task of explaining the confusing post-Civil War era, a time she defines as ``a period of great hope and crushing disappointment.'' She accomplishes her goal with a clearly written, well-explained history. Unflinching in the details about lynchings, the Ku Klux Klan, and corrupt governments, she manages to put a human face on the times. In Till Victory Is Won, the author reports on the many ways African Americans participated in the Civil War. Of course, the famous Massachusetts 54th Regiment is covered. But the little-knowns are not neglectedpeople like ex-slave Robert Smalls, who stole a steam ship from the middle of Charleston harbor and ``defected'' to the North; or Lt. Robert Isabelle of the Louisiana Native Guards. Both books have many good-quality photographs and reproductions. As with the rest of the books in this series, these two volumes should be in heavy demand by report writers and history buffs.Elizabeth M. Reardon, McCallie School, Chattanooga, TN
There are literally hundreds of books about the Civil War and its battles available for young adults, but there aren't many about Reconstruction and even fewer as well written as this book in the Young Readers' History of the Civil War series. Drawing heavily on historical documents and firsthand accounts of former slaves and slave owners, Mettger brings to life the turbulent emotions and crushing social and economic problems of the period. Her account of the legislative maneuvering that allowed southern states to deny blacks their civil rights could provoke interesting classroom debates and research. Crucial issues are concisely but clearly explained, and the vintage photographs and drawings that accompany the text are certain to hold the attention of even reluctant students. Glossary; bibliography of adult resources; unfortunately, no notes.