The Ordeal of the Reunion: A New History of Reconstruction

The Ordeal of the Reunion: A New History of Reconstruction

by Mark Wahlgren Summers
The Ordeal of the Reunion: A New History of Reconstruction

The Ordeal of the Reunion: A New History of Reconstruction

by Mark Wahlgren Summers


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For a generation, scholarship on the Reconstruction era has rightly focused on the struggles of the recently emancipated for a meaningful freedom and defined its success or failure largely in those terms. In The Ordeal of the Reunion, Mark Wahlgren Summers goes beyond this vitally important question, focusing on Reconstruction's need to form an enduring Union without sacrificing the framework of federalism and republican democracy. Assessing the era nationally, Summers emphasizes the variety of conservative strains that confined the scope of change, highlights the war's impact and its aftermath, and brings the West and foreign policy into an integrated narrative. In sum, this book offers a fresh explanation for Reconstruction's demise and a case for its essential successes as well as its great failures. Indeed, this book demonstrates the extent to which the victors' aims in 1865 were met--and at what cost.

Summers depicts not just a heroic, tragic moment with equal rights advanced and then betrayed but a time of achievement and consolidation, in which nationhood and emancipation were placed beyond repeal and the groundwork was laid for a stronger, if not better, America to come.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469617589
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 10/27/2014
Series: Littlefield History of the Civil War Era
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 1,015,825
File size: 7 MB

About the Author

Mark Wahlgren Summers is professor of history at the University of Kentucky and author of A Dangerous Stir: Fear, Paranoia, and the Making of Reconstruction.

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From the Publisher

Understanding Reconstruction as its contemporaries did, as a time to consolidate the nation but not to remake it, to guarantee its peaceful future and to secure its evolution, but not to revolutionize it, Mark Summers follows the Reconstruction story chronologically as well as thematically in a fast-paced narrative. The Ordeal of the Reunion exhibits the hand of a seasoned and thoughtful historian, thoroughly conversant with both the time period and its sources.—John David Smith, author of Lincoln and the U.S. Colored Troops

Mark Summers, one of the more prolific scholars of the Reconstruction era, has written on everything from ideas of paranoia to political corruption. The Ordeal of the Reunion is characterized by a depth of research that reflects a lifetime of labor and reflection. Summers's newest work is worthy of scholarly attention while being lively enough for a popular audience.—Michael Fitzgerald, St. Olaf College

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