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The Literature of Reconstruction: Not in Plain Black and White

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As Brook Thomas argues in The Literature of Reconstruction, “the problems Reconstruction raised did not have simple solutions, in part because there was no agreement about what the goals of Reconstruction were.” This rejection of simple narrative is what defines Mr. Thomas’ book, whose subtitle is Not in Plain Black and White. He continually reminds the reader, in both his own words and the words of authors of the time period, that to assume a simple black and white racial divide was the only issue facing Reconstruction-era America is to do to a disservice to the period. Rather than trying to identify any one issue as the defining issue of the era, the book, through close examination of literature of the time period, instead examines the way in which all the issues of the era interacted with each other, creating a necessarily complicated picture. Mr. Thomas’ primary achievement is to supplement political history, which tends toward a national scope, with social history, which tends to focus more on local history. This approach forces the reader to see the nation as a collection of individuals with different opinions, rather than a monolithic entity always in agreement with itself.

Last Entry (exp 11/16)
Reviewed By:
Author:
Brook Thomas
Star Count:
4/5
Format:
Hard
Page Count:
400 pages
Publisher:
John Hopkins University Press
Publish Date:
2016-Nov-02
ISBN:
9781421421322
Amazon:
Issue:
February 2017
Category:
History
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Additional information

Publication Date

2016-Nov-02

Format

Hard

Publisher

John Hopkins University Press

Issue

February 2017

Page Count

400 pages

ASIN

1421421321

ISBN

9781421421322

Star Count

4

Book Author

Brook Thomas

“The Literature of Reconstruction: Not in Plain Black and White”

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Last Entry (exp 11/16)