A Fool's Errand

By Albion W. Tourgee,

Book cover of A Fool's Errand: A Novel of the South During Reconstruction

Book description

“We tried to superimpose the civilization, the idea of the North, upon the South at a moment’s warning … It was a Fool’s Errand.”

The year is 1865 and the war between the states of North and South has ended.

Comfort Servosse, a Union officer, has decided to make his…

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Why read it?

1 author picked A Fool's Errand as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I used to teach this book in Civil War classes. Although billed as fiction, the book is a thinly veiled account of Albion Tourgée’s actual experiences with terrorism. Tourgée refers to the protagonist as “The Fool,” a dig at himself in the third person. An Ohioan, he relocated to North Carolina after the Civil War, became involved in Radical politics (advocating African American voting), and was elected a superior court judge. Tourgée battled the Ku Klux Klan. He faced death threats and provided accounts of lynchings of prominent Republican leaders—acts of political violence. The “Fool” started out as an idealist…

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