Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South

Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South

by Michael W. Fitzgerald
     
 
Rich with insight, Michael Fitzgerald's new interpretation of Reconstruction shows how the internal dynamics of the first movement for black freedom played into the hands of white racist reactionaries in the South. Splendid Failure describes the skill with which the postwar freedpeople pursued an agenda of racial justice, accurately perceiving that this was the only

Overview

Rich with insight, Michael Fitzgerald's new interpretation of Reconstruction shows how the internal dynamics of the first movement for black freedom played into the hands of white racist reactionaries in the South. Splendid Failure describes the skill with which the postwar freedpeople pursued an agenda of racial justice, accurately perceiving that this was the only issue that mattered in the New South. But in acting on this insight-by demanding representation in office and greater civil rights protections-they antagonized the Northern support they needed to survive, and fed a gathering racial backlash. Thus, Mr. Fitzgerald argues, Southern Republicans set the stage for the explosion that swept them from power and resulted in Northern acquiescence to the bloody repression of voting rights. The failed program led to another century of inequality for Southern blacks.

Editorial Reviews

H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
Reading Splendid Failure was splendid. The prose is quick, at times witty, and always readable. It reminded me of why I not only love to research in the period, but teach it as well.
Midwest Book Review
Excellent survey...offers depth and detail especially suitable for classroom debate and discussion....Recommended for any college-level collection.

H-Net Book Review
Reading Splendid Failure was splendid. The prose is quick, at times witty, and always readable. It reminded me of why I not only love to research in the period, but teach it as well.
Journal of Southern History
Fitzgerald's deep learning and distinctive interpretation make this a book for the seasoned professional as well.
—Patrick G. Williams
Christopher Waldrep
A useful introduction to the dramatic and bloody tragedy of Reconstruction.
Thomas Pegram
Fitzgerald . . . has pulled off the enormously difficult task of writing a short, clear, analytically distinctive history of Reconstruction.
John C. Rodrigue
Engagingly written . . . can be read with profit by students, general readers, and specialists.
Mark Wahlgren Summers
Humane, temperate, and succinct . . . Splendid Failure may be the best short introduction to Southern Reconstruction we're likely to get.
Susan O'Donovan
An engaging and crisply-written overview. . . . Sure to become a fixture in college classrooms and on scholars' shelves.
Choice
The author excels. . . . The bibliographic essay also provides an invaluable service in its discussion of the massive literature on the era. The work is well written and will serve as an excellent supplement to any collection on Reconstruction. . . . Highly Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.
Foreword Reviews
Fitzgerald offers a solid understanding of the intricacy of social relationships . . . dense, thoughtful reconsideration of these turbulent events and their results.
Virginia Quarterly Review
Eminently readable analysis. . . . Concern with . . . the possibility of establishing democracy amid postwar violence make[s] the book especially timely.
The Alabama Review
Splendid Failure pulls the last two decades of Reconstruction scholarship into an effective single volume on the subject. . . . Fitzgerald has produced a readable and concise volume that will work effectively in an undergraduate classroom and sit comfortable on a lay reader's bookshelf.
CHOICE
The author excels. . . . The bibliographic essay also provides an invaluable service in its discussion of the massive literature on the era. The work is well written and will serve as an excellent supplement to any collection on Reconstruction. . . . Highly Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
Reading Splendid Failure was splendid. The prose is quick, at times witty, and always readable. It reminded me of why I not only love to research in the period, but teach it as well.
ForeWord Reviews
Fitzgerald offers a solid understanding of the intricacy of social relationships . . . dense, thoughtful reconsideration of these turbulent events and their results.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781566637343
Publisher:
Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
Publication date:
05/28/2007
Series:
American Ways Series
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.77(w) x 8.65(h) x 0.94(d)

What People are saying about this

Thomas Pegram
"Fitzgerald...has pulled off the enormously difficult task of writing a short, clear, analytically distinctive history of reconstruction . . . "
Mark Wahlgren Summers
"Humane, temperate, and succinct...Splendid Failure may be the best short introduction to Southern Reconstruction that we're likely to get."--(Mark Wahlgren Summers, author of The Era of Good Stealings)
Cristopher Waldrep
"...useful introduction to the dramatic and bloody tragedy of Reconstruction . . . "
John C. Rodrigue
"Engagingly written...can be read with profit by students, general readers, and specialists."--(John C. Rodrigue, author of Reconstruction in the Cane Fields)

Meet the Author

Michael W. Fitzgerald teaches American history at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he lives. He is the author of prizewinning articles on aspects of Reconstruction and in two other books has written on the politics of emancipation and of agricultural change in the post—Civil War period.

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