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Nothing But Freedom: Emancipation and Its Legacy [Book Review]

Kousser, J. Morgan (1986) Nothing But Freedom: Emancipation and Its Legacy [Book Review]. Slavery and Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies, 7 (1). pp. 77-79. ISSN 1743-9523. doi:10.1080/01440398608574905.

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Now that the three Fleming Lectures that Eric Foner gave in 1982 at L.S.U. have been issued in paperback, teachers in courses that touch on the postemancipation American south or the Caribbean will be faced with a difficult dilemma. Should they assign this succinct, clear, and pleasantly written summary of important facets of the latest scholarship to their students, or should they merely crib lecture material from it themselves? Concentrating on comparative reconstruction, labour history, and what might be called 'indirect political history' or 'political history once removed', the book slights race relations and developments in world markets, southern cities, and the largely white upcountry areas, as Foner acknowledges, and essentially ignores electoral and national politics and constitutional issues. Marxist in his central concern with class relationships, Foner turns Marx or at least Harrington on his head with his pervasive and persuasive argument that political power crucially shaped economic conflicts. That the Dunningite Walter Lynwood Fleming himself would probably have barely recognized the work as a book on Reconstruction, that it is dedicated to W.E.B. DuBois, whose Black Reconstruction, Foner points out, has never been reviewed in the American Historical Review, and that it attacks the currently fashionable notion that emancipation made little difference to blacks or to white planters is an indication of its revisionary tone and contents.

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Additional Information:© 1986 Taylor & Francis Group. Book review of Nothing But Freedom: Emancipation and Its Legacy / Eric Foner. Louisiana State University Press: 1983. ISBN: 9780807111185.
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ID Code:41800
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Deposited On:18 Oct 2013 21:54
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 04:34

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