I feel that Eric Foner’s book review shed a lot of light on the potential book by Blight. For one Foner hits upon the point that in order for a reconciliation between North and South to occur the dream of racial justice and equality had to be abandoned. While we all know the North won over the South it is to this day the South that glorifies itself in its battles, be they victories or defeats. The Southern culture promotes honor and service and likes to portray themselves as the crusaders of some noble cause by fighting the Union in the Civil War. For the most part all their publicity and talk of just battles leads many Americans to believe that the South did win when in fact they did not but they would have us believe that they were looking out for America as a whole.
Furthermore, Southern propaganda displaying African Americans as mere guards on plantations was stretching the truth a lot. I feel that Foner was right to point this out as the injustices and cruelties inflicted upon African Americans pre and post Civil War era was horrific to say the least. Slaves were beaten, tortured, lynched, raped and left at the complete mercy of their Masters. The South to this day chooses to selectively mention and omit certain parts of their history. A case in point would be Foner mentioning that Confederate general James Longstreet, who was a supporter of African-American rights, was not mentioned in the list of southern Confederate heroes despite his prominence and rank in the army.
A) The David Blight book does sound interesting to me because it has a lot of material in it; as Foner states that has been dug up from archives and articles which aren’t well known. It seems like the kind of book with publications and stories in it that have never reached academia. In this sense it reminds me of a muckraker’s article which uncovers the untold history of a place or event. Any avid historian or student expressing an interest in American History would benefit from reading it.
B) It sounds as if Eric Foner liked the book because it revealed a lot of false information that to this day, people continue to believe. He praised it as one of the most comprehensive Civil Rights books out there which backs up my statement.
C) This book review tells me that historical memory is something that reaches to the present. It is because it reaches the present that we must ensure the facts and “memory” we hear are correct. We must make sure the stories told are not colored to omit any facts about an event so that we are not hearing a one sided story with key points missing. We must not lose in the sense that we succumb to a false history but rather try and get the most holistic view of the situation as possible.