Saturday, June 7, 2014

Lillian Smith Book Awards: Featured 2014 Nominee

Race and Remembering in the Civil War's Aftermath

After conquering Atlanta in the summer of 1864 and occupying it for two months, Union forces laid waste to the city in November. William T. Sherman's invasion was a pivotal moment in the history of the South and Atlanta's rebuilding over the following fifty years came to represent the contested meaning of the Civil War itself. The war's aftermath brought contentious transition from Old South to New for whites and African Americans alike. Historian William Link argues that this struggle defined the broader meaning of the Civil War in the modern South, with no place embodying the region's past and future more clearly than Atlanta.

Link frames the city as both exceptional--because of the incredible impact of the war there and the city's phoenix-like postwar rise--and as a model for other southern cities. He shows how, in spite of the violent reimposition of white supremacy, freedpeople in Atlanta built a cultural, economic, and political center that helped to define black America.


About the Author

William A. Link is Richard J. Milbauer Professor of History at the University of Florida. He is author or editor of thirteen books, including Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism.



“Recommended. Undergraduate libraries and up.”

“An unparalleled introduction to the history of nineteenth-century Atlanta. . . . Link’s pioneering and engaging study merits the attention of professional historians and general readers alike.”
   --Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

“This is an important book, and William Link shows that Atlanta was indeed a place where the past and the future, the Civil War and the New South, race and economics, and memory and reality converged.”
   --North Carolina Historical Review

“Filled with useful information and is richly detailed.”
   --Journal of American Studies
"Lively and original. Link presents a thorough and carefully nuanced account of the role of race in the remarkable story of Atlanta's destruction and re-emergence as a center of black intellectual and economic life thereafter. This will be the definitive account of Atlanta and the rise of the New South for many years to come."
   --Lacy Ford, University of South Carolina

"From Sherman's March to Gone with the Wind, Atlanta plays a central role in Americans' shared memory of the Civil War. William Link's rich narrative sifts through the ashes of Atlanta's history to reveal the fascinating, and true, stories hidden beneath."
   --Edward L. Ayers, author of In the Presence of Mine Enemies: War in the Heart of America, 1859-1863

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