From one of our most distinguished historians comes a groundbreaking new examination of the myths and realities of the period after the Civil War.
Drawing on a wide range of long-neglected documents, Eric Foner places a new emphasis on black experiences and roles during the era. We see African Americans as active agents in overthrowing slavery, in shaping Reconstruction, and creating a legacy long obscured and misunderstood. He compellingly refutes long-standing misconceptions of Reconstruction, and shows how the failures of the time sowed the seeds of the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and 60s. Richly illustrated and movingly written, this is an illuminating and essential addition to our understanding of this momentous era.
“A highly readable story of black Americans’ ongoing heroic struggle for freedom . . . Beautifully told.” –The Washington Post Book World“Passionate, lucid, concise without being light. . . . Foner traces the lines of race and politics that run from Reconstruction to the age of segregation to the civil rights movement to our own time.” –The New York Times Book Review“Foner delves deeply into the politics of the time, to be sure, but he spends much more time showing how political decisions affected real people. . . . This book has the potential to become a model for future history books that target a broader audience.” –The Washington Monthly“African Americans emerge as political powerful actors in Forever Free. In [these] vivid pages . . . we become acquainted with these extraordinary people, some well-known, some virtually unknown.” –The New Republic