The Bloody Shirt
Terror After Appomattox
By Stephen Budiansky
(Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670018406, 336pp.)
Publication Date: January 24, 2008
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An intimate and gripping look at terrorist violence during the Reconstruction era
Between 1867, when the defeated South was forced to establish new state governments that fully represented both black and white citizens, and 1877, when the last of these governments was overthrown, more than three thousand African Americans and their white allies were killed by terrorist violence. That violence was spread by roving vigilantes connected only by ideology, and by the hateful invective printed in widely read newspapers and pamphlets. Amid all the chaos, however, some men and women struggled to establish a "New South" in which former slaves would have new rights and a new prosperity would be shared by all. In his vivid, fast-paced narrative of the era now known as Reconstruction, Stephen Budiansky illuminates the lives of five remarkable men--two Union officers, a Confederate general, a Northern entrepreneur, and a former slave--whose idealism in the face of overwhelming hatred would not be matched for nearly a century. The Bloody Shirt is a story of violence, racism, division, and heroism that sheds new light on a crucial time in America's history.