Sunday, February 10, 2008

Five best: books about the post-Civil War period

Stephen Budiansky is the author of The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox, which has just been published by Viking.

He named a five best list of books which "capture the hope and turmoil of the post-Civil War period" for the Wall Street Journal.

One title to make the list:
By Eric Foner
Harper & Row, 1988

"Nearly two and a half centuries had passed since twenty black men and women were landed in Virginia from a Dutch ship," Eric Foner writes early in "Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution." "From this tiny seed had grown the poisoned fruit of plantation slavery, which, in profound and contradictory ways, shaped the course of American development." If there is a scrap of paper from the Reconstruction era that Mr. Foner, a history professor at Columbia University, hasn't personally looked at, it would be hard to imagine. This beautifully written book is jaw-droppingly comprehensive, weaving countless telling details into its discussion of all the political, economic and social complexities of the era.

Read about the other four books on Budiansky's list.

Learn more about The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox.

--Marshal Zeringue