A century after Appomattox, the civil rights movement won full citizenship for black Americans in the South. It should not have been necessary: by 1870 those rights were set in the constitution. Unabridged. 7 CDs.
Written on a dramatic human scale, and leavened by some fresh research and analysis, it is an arresting piece of popular history. Lemann is a responsible writer who aims to convey what he calls "the feeling of history unfolding, not of history considered in retrospect." But Redemption inevitably speaks to the present as well as about the past. In focusing on Reconstruction Mississippi, Lemann, a native of New Orleans, stirs living memories of the murderous Southern resistance to the civil rights movement 90 years later. And he writes at a time when neo-Confederate sympathies have cropped up again in Southern politics, amid reports about the suppression of minority voting throughout the country. We are still living with the consequences of what Lemann presents as the "last battle of the Civil War."