RaveLibrary JournalWith a perceptive introduction by historian Cobb...this version of the report, co-edited by historian Guariglia, is indeed essential for what it presents and why its findings still matter. This edition includes the vital parts of the original report; it largely omits individual accounts of many examples of unrest in the 1960s and lets the accounts from Detroit and Newark stand for the rest. As the original report insisted, and as this version does as well, white American society must understand these issues and act immediately and forcefully to correct these wrongs ... The Kerner Commission Report was in its day a tour de force of investigation and recommendation, with a sense of urgency that still echoes in this edition. What was true in 1967 remains so in the 21st century, and this version of the report might point the way toward a national resolution, if the United States summons the will and wherewithal to make change.
RaveLibrary JournalThroughout her clearly written and compelling book, Masur makes the essential point that definitions and protections of civil rights was largely a struggle carried on in the states, before the Civil War and Reconstruction invested the federal government with such an interest ... At a time when definitions of citizenship and civil rights are again under assault, Masur’s careful accounting of the ways Americans came to understand such terms provides an informed perspective to appreciate that such concepts never were, and thus never are, self-evident. They require due diligence and vigilance to secure and sustain at all levels of government. An essential book.
Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch
MixedLibrary JournalWhile the authors offer no new information or interpretation of Lincoln’s preinaugural journey, which is better related in Ted Widmer’s Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington, the instructive accounting of the mentality, movements, and means of Pinkerton and his agents makes for a revealing look inside the world of secessionist fanaticism.
RaveLibrary JournalWidmer offers riveting descriptions of the dangers on the journey, the many and varied people involved in Lincoln\'s goals, the technological improvements of telegraph and railroad, and the larger historical context of the secession crisis. These all give his book resonance and insight into the man and the moment ... Whether seasoned Lincoln scholars or interested general readers, all who pick up this book will learn much by going along for the ride with Widmer.
PositiveLibrary JournalThe author provides rich description of a wide cast of people, including politicians, poets, soldiers, and nurses ... Achorn is especially insightful in setting the scene for the inaugural, going deep inside the social world of the capital and remarking on the constant positioning for favor or notice. His revealing exegesis of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural (shortly before his assassination), as a prayer and sermon more than an address, shows how Lincoln’s understanding of scripture informed his reading of the meaning of the Civil War and the nation’s obligations from it ... Although Achorn doesn’t offer new interpretations of Lincoln or his speech, he does, however, provide the fullest accounting of the inauguration experience. A solid history that will allow readers to feel as if they are in the moment.
PositiveLibrary JournalKeith writes at length and with eloquence about the role of black abolitionists in pressing for emancipation before and during the war; black military service during the war; and radicals’ efforts to use confiscation, loyalty oaths, and especially black enfranchisement to reconstruct the South during and after the war. Some scholars might be surprised by Keith’s assertion that radicals brought on secession and war by their uncompromising politics ... A new perspective on the Civil War. All will appreciate the gripping accounts of partisanship, political ambition, civil disobedience, and the creative ways that radicals used print and speech to persuade Americans to understand and accept the necessity of emancipation and the importance of equal rights.
David M. Rubenstein
PositiveLibrary JournalWe do not know what members of Congress took away from the Dialogues, but readers of this book will learn much about biographical method, historical curiosity, and American exceptionalism. With close reading they will also realize that there is no one American story, Rubenstein’s claim notwithstanding.
PositiveLibrary JournalWith deft descriptions of particular families, the author then shows how the abolishment of slavery ended that world, as \'freedom\' led to a binary realm of black or white, with no middle ground ... This poignant and powerful book shows us that decisions and laws surrounding racial identity and interest were deliberate. Knowing that matters in thinking about race today.