if (function_exists('newsletter_info')) { newsletter_info('Newsletter','grogers(at)aphinity(dot)com',true,false); } Trans-Mississippi Musings
Trans-Mississippi Musings

Books theMuse is Reading

I am currently working a new class for SPARK (Senior Peers Actively Renewing Knowledge) which will be about the reconstruction period in MIssouri and Kansas following the American Civil War. There are three books that I am reading now to help me put that class together.

A History of Missouri, Volume III, 1860 to 1875 by William E. Parrish

 From the book's Preface

The momentous issues of the Civil War had a strong emotional hold on most Missourians. Aggressive leaders on both sides at the state level quickly shattered the hopes of the majority for some kind of neutral stance within the Union. Thereafter, the state and its people were torn apart by divided sympathies and the horrors of a ferocious guerrilla warfare. Out of this turmoil there arose a Radical whirlwind which ended slavery and sought to give Missouri a new constitution to equip it for "modern times." As a result, the postwar period became almost as turbulent as the war years. The forces of change proved politically vindictive against many members of the prewar establishment, fearful lest they disrupt the new order that had been set in motion. This attitude touched off a reaction that restored Missouri to the Conservative fold by the mid-1870's, although the progress of Reconstruction was by no means eradicated.

Missouri Under Radical Rule, 1865-1870 by William E. Parrish

 From the book's Preface

The five years following the Civil War were a critical period in Missouri's history. The state had suffered physically and emotionally during the conflict, and the bitter political and militry struggles of the war years had left Missourians divided and wary. The conservative groups that had long dominated the politics and economics of the state found themselves split over a variety of issues. Into the power vacuum thus created stepped a group of opportunists who had coalesced their various interests in the Radical Union party. 

Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 by Eric Foner

 From the Editor's Introduction

Probably no other chapter of American history has been the subject, one might say the victim, of such varied and conflicting interpretations as what attempts to give unity and coherence to the era we call Reconstruction. Even the chronology is chaotic. Did the process begin with the bizarre creation of West Virginia in 1861— or should that be dated 1863? Did it conclude with the Compromise of 1877 or was its true conclusion Brown v. Topeka in 1954? Was its central theme political— the reconstruction of the old Union, or was it legal and constitutional— the revolutionary Fourteenth Amendment that still functions as an instrument of revolution? Was its central theme social and moral— the end of slavery, or did the realities of slavery persist for another half century or more?