After The American Civil War

by User Not Found | May 16, 2022

The bloody and brutal Civil War ended in April of 1865. The Reconstruction Era that followed was also bloody and brutal. These are fictional and nonfictional accounts of that time.

Varina
by Charles Frazier

With limited marriage prospects, Varina Howell agrees to wed the much older widower, Jefferson Davis. She expects to live safely on a Mississippi plantation, instead she follows her husband to Washington D C where Davis serves as Congressman, Senator, and finally President of the Confederacy. As he Confederacy falls, Varina and her children escape Richmond and travel south, fugitives with a bounty on their heads, an entire nation in pursuit.

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Simon the Fiddler
by Paulette Jiles (author of News of the World)    

On the eve of the Confederate surrender, Simon and his bandmates are called to play for officers and their families from both sides of the conflict. Simon meets Doris, Sergeant Webb's beautiful governess. They go their separate ways, but Simon vows he will find her again. A bittersweet tale of the lengths to which a man will go in a war torn, lawless land to find the girl he loves.

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The Book of Lost Friends
by Lisa Wingate

Based on stories from actual "Lost Friends" advertisements that appeared in South newspapers after the Civil War as newly freed slaves desperately searched for loved ones who had been sold away. In Louisiana 1875, three unwilling companions set off on a perilous quest: Hannie, a freed slave; Lavinia, the pampered heir of a destitute plantation; Juneau Jane, Lavinia's Creole half sister. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, it is a journey of financial desperation, but for Hannie, there is the hope she might find her family. The second part of the story takes place in Louisiana 1987 as first year teacher Benedetta Silva finds a century-old history of these three women from the Reconstruction Era and shares their history with her classes.

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March     
by Geraldine Brooks

Winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize, March is the "biography" of the fictional, absentee father in Little Women. You may be uncomfortable with the adaptation Brooks has created of the beloved March family--March for his weaknesses that hurt his family and Marmee for her inability to control her temper. But the reason March is on the this list is because Brooks has masterfully created not only a compelling picture of the Civil War, but she has also brought to life the experiences on a plantation after the war where a well meaning carpetbagger comes to the South to run a plantation with absolutely no idea how to do it. Brooks depicts the continued oppression of the freedmen, the lawlessness of the times, and the uncertainty of the future that define the Reconstruction period.

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Reconstruction--America's Unfinished Revolution
by Eric Foner

This is the indispensable study of the Reconstruction Era. The book gives an overview of Reconstruction politically, economically, and socially. It chronicles how Americans, both white and black responded to the changes unleashed by the Civil War and the end of slavery. Among the themes of the book are the ways in which the emancipated slaves' quest for economic autonomy and equal citizenship shaped the political agenda of Reconstruction; the remodeling of Southern society; evolution of racial attitudes, and the emergence of vastly expanded federal authority. It also highlights the conflict between Congress and Pres. Andrew Johnson, the origins of "carpetbaggers" and scalawags," and the role of violence in the period. It begins in 1863 with the Emancipation and ends in 1877 with the election of Rutherford B. Hayes and the overturn of the Republican Party.

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The Bloody Shirt
by Stephen Budiansky

This book offers various snapshots showing the violence that gripped the South after the Civil War. These stories ae taken from letters, journals, and newspaper clippings from the time. The stories include Governor Adelbert Ames' attempts to keep order in Mississippi, the stand off of Republicans in Louisiana led by former Confederate General James Longstreet who was ostracized by the Southerners because he encouraged people to abide by the new state Constitution. The book shows how a well organized terrorist movement was led by ex-Confederates refused to accept the verdict of Appomattox and enfranchisement of freedmen. They succeeded in overthrowing the freely elected representative governments of every Southern state.

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The Failed Promise: Reconstruction, Frederick Douglass, and the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
by Robert S. Levine

When Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency after Abraham Lincoln's assassination, many people thought he was more progressive than Lincoln. He had freed the slaves in Tennessee and proclaimed himself Moses for the freedmen. This book details how Frederick Douglass and many other black leaders became disillusioned about Johnson's sincerity after a pivotal meeting between Johnson and a black delegation. Finally, it chronicles Douglass' attacks on Johnson's policies, a surprise job offer, and Johnson's impeachment. From one of the foremost scholars on Frederick Douglass.

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Grant
by Ron Chernow

This lengthy biography covers all aspects of Ulysses Grant's life: soldier, president, and biographer racing against time to complete his memoir before his death of throat cancer. It chronicles Grant's actions as president during the Reconstruction period as he sought freedom and justice for black American and worked to crush the Ku Klux Klan, even earning the admiration of Frederick Douglass. The book illustrates the lawlessness of the post Civil War and Grant's moral dilemma as he attempted to create safety while remaining with the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution.

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The Republic of Suffering
by Drew Gilpin Faust

Written by the former president of Harvard University, is a book about a nation's struggle to comprehend the meaning and practicalities of death in the face of unprecedented carnage of the Civil War. During the Civil War, approximately 620,000 soldiers died.--more than in all the other U S wars combined. The book explores the impact of death politically, intellectually, spiritually, and culturally. It chronicles how survivors suffered and how a deeply religious people struggled to reconcile their belief in God. Faust chronicles the efforts to identify, preserve, and bury battlefield dead, even with these efforts little more than half of the dead were identified. It explains the many changes that came to be in future wars because of the death toll in the Civil War. The DVD "Death and the Civil War" is a synopsis of this book.

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