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Publisher's Summary

C. Vann Woodward, who died in 1999 at the age of 91, was America's most eminent Southern historian, the winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Mary Chestnut's Civil War and a Bancroft Prize for The Origins of the New South. Now, to honor his long and truly distinguished career, Oxford is pleased to publish this special commemorative edition of Woodward's most influential work, The Strange Career of Jim Crow. The Strange Career of Jim Crow is one of the great works of Southern history. Indeed, the book actually helped shape that history. Published in 1955, a year after the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education ordered schools desegregated, Strange Career was cited so often to counter arguments for segregation that Martin Luther King, Jr. called it "the historical Bible of the civil rights movement." The book offers a clear and illuminating analysis of the history of Jim Crow laws, presenting evidence that segregation in the South dated only to the 1890s. Woodward convincingly shows that, even under slavery, the two races had not been divided as they were under the Jim Crow laws of the 1890s. In fact, during Reconstruction, there was considerable economic and political mixing of the races. The segregating of the races was a relative newcomer to the region. Hailed as one of the top 100 nonfiction works of the twentieth century, The Strange Career of Jim Crow has sold almost a million copies and remains, in the words of David Herbert Donald, "a landmark in the history of American race relations."

©2002 Oxford University Press Inc. Afterword © 2002 by William S. McFeely. (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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the truth is Stranger Than Fiction

infuriating but is true its history what can you do . narration was kind of monotone in beginning kind of made it hard to pay attention but seemed to improve a little as the story continued on

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Essential Reading

If you want to understand the history of injustice in the US and civil rights, then you need to read this book. It's a seminal pathbreaking work. I am not going to claim that it is perfect by any means. Vann Woodward does not make that claim either. As one example, his discussion of the "radical black" political movement in the 1960s and 1970s sounds completely at odds with everything that precedes it. It makes no sense to condemn black political frustration and aggression right after documenting a century of calculated racial aggression from white society. The point is, this isn't the final word on the topic. But it's an impressive first attempt that everyone should read.

The narrator is clear. His style is a little odd. But I had no trouble understanding everything he read. It's not easy to read non-fiction. So I appreciate the performance.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Worthwhile history lesson

Well written book on the struggle to abolish segregation. Thoroughly enjoyed it and if your a history buff like myself you'll enjoy it also!

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Very Informative.

Almost put it down. Glad I didn't - LOTS of information. An invaluable history lesson. A definite re-read.

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  • deborah
  • Saint Paul, MN, United States
  • 06-15-16

Jim Crow has yet to retire

Unfortunately I didn't learn about Jim
Crow laws until I was older and felt I needed to learn. Woodward traces the history of Jim Crow and reconstruction in clear and concise terms. He is able to give a contextual picture of the laws and the forces behind them.
I would recommend all teachers, politicians and curious citizens read this.

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We all must look to the past for answers

We all can benefit from reading this great work of history. MLK was right in calling it the "the historical Bible of the Civil Rights movement".

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  • Daniel
  • 08-26-17

The Confederacy won the civil war

This and other more recent books that focus on the political atmosphere of the years past the end of the military phase of the civil war are very revealing. They show conclusively that the southern persistent persecution of individuals and groups that supported freed people eventually wore off the North's resolve to reform southern society. It is time this story is known by a wider audience.