Over the years, this fact would not only be forgotten, but a series of exculpatory myths would arise to cover the tracks of this orchestrated campaign of atrocity and violence. Little memory would persist of the simple truth: that a well-organized and directed terrorist movement, led by ex-Confederates who refused to accept the verdict of Appomattox and the enfranchisement of the freedmen, succeeded in overthrowing the freely elected representative governments of every Southern state.
Stephen Budiansky brings to life this largely forgotten but epochal chapter of American history through the intertwining lives of five courageous men who tried to stop the violence and keep the dream of freedom and liberty alive. They include James Longstreet, the ablest general of the Confederate army, who would be vilified and ostracized for insisting that the South must accept the terms of the victor and the enfranchisement of black men; Lewis Merrill of the 7th Cavalry, who fought the Klan in South Carolina; and Prince Rivers, who escaped from slavery, fought for the Union, became a state representative and magistrate, and died performing the same menial labor he had as a slave.
Using letters and diaries left by these men, as well as startlingly hateful diatribes published in Southern newspapers after the war, Budiansky proves beyond a doubt that terrorism is hardly new to America.
©2008 Stephen Budiansky; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio
"Budiansky brings the unpleasant details of the era alive in a smoothly written narrative." (Publishers Weekly)
Non Fiction Reader
I thought the topic would be interesting especially in light of so much talk about reconcilliation in Iraq. I thought it would be instructive to read about the difficulty of healing our own deep cultural wounds. Instead this book is one repition after another. The reader does not help by his phoney, sterotypical southern accent whenever narrating a southern point of view and innocent, bewildered mode of speaking when narrating the northern senitment. The book is only caricature and vauderville.
I can only assume that the previous two reviews of this book were written by people still in denial over the southern reign of terror that followed the US Civil war. This book is a riveting account of that era in American history that has been washed from the brains of most Americans. The dramatic reading of the writings of actual participants only heightens the enjoyment.
If you have the guts to listen to Americans participating in ethnic cleansing of the blacks in the south, you will find this book facinating. And perhaps wonder why you never read about it in your high school history book!
Chapt. 29 - Read the text of The Mississipi Plan. It was probably influenced by the French Revolution, and affected so much of the future of world history, and yet it isn't discussed. There is a reason Woodrow Wilson, who was part of it in his teens, is mentioned in Mein Kampf. It's "Rules for Radicals" on steroids. That's just one reason this book is a valuable read. Another would be the untold success of State Gov's run by illiterate former slaves early on. But there is no more hateful arrogance than that of someone who has owned another human being, especially when they find they are thrust into equality with their former chattel. This book gives you scraps of a history almost erased from our books, and may yet disappear.
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