The value of A Fool's Errand lies in its fearless criticism not merely of the South for its post-Civil war attitudes and policies but of the national governmental problems raised by the war and its aftermath. Tourgee insisted on discussing the problems, because he was convinced that they had not been solved satisfactorily, or indeed, at all. In his understanding and interpretation of Reconstruction, Tourgee emphasized the fact that in the years immediately following the Civil War the former Confederates had control of their own state governments. It was during this period, he argued, that they clearly demonstrated their unwillingness or inability to face up to the implications of the surrender at Appomattox. As an intelligent observer and participant in Southern Reconstruction, Tourgee was in an excellent position to provide his contemporaries and posterity with an important commentary and criticism of what he witnessed and experienced. He was the pioneer post-war social critic.