From the list on racial violence and more in the post-Civil War South.
Who am I?
Racial violence has been on my mind for decades, ever since I encountered the Freedmen’s Bureau Record of Murders and Outrages as a grad student. I didn’t know what prompted the government to gather such data. Later, as a professor directing a Civil War-era research center at Penn State, I sponsored a teacher-training initiative, “Breaking the Silence,” a UNESCO project on the Atlantic Slave Trade. I became starkly aware that most white Americans, myself included, had a poor sense of the brutality enmeshed in our history. This is not meant as a condemnation: without a fuller recognition of this racial past, we will have problems reconciling such issues in our own polarized times.
William's book list on racial violence and more in the post-Civil War South
Discover why each book is one of William's favorite books.
Why did William love this book?
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 who tried to encourage equality under the law and then found himself, along with others, ground down by the violence around him, causing him to return to the North. The book allows readers to feel the problems of Reconstruction through the eyes of someone who lived through them.
A Fool's Errand
Why should I read it?
1 author picked A Fool's Errand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
“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 life in the South.
But is he only a fool for doing so?
Drawing upon his own experiences Albion Tourgee constructed a novel which vividly brings to life the world of the South during the Reconstruction.
“The native Southron, the 'poor white,' the carpet-bagger, the old Unioner, the freedman, the…