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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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