He writes, “In Louisiana, South Carolina, and Virginia – the home of large free black populations – men who had never known slavery dominated among Reconstruction officeholders. For the South as a whole, however, the black political leadership arose out of local slave communities” (Foner 136). He shows the struggles, victories, and defeats the blacks faced, and helps the reader see why Reconstruction was so important to our history. He also believes that there is still a type of Reconstruction going on today, in other ways, which is another reason he feels it is so important.
Foners book belongs on the shelves of any reader interested in Civil War history, because he explains his ideas effectively and writes so anyone can understand his ideas and conclusions. It effectively uses illustrations to help make some of the key points, (such as how blacks were viewed historically during Reconstruction and beyond), and it makes an attempt to discuss parts of history that might be unfamiliar to many readers.
These “visual essays” add tremendously to the book, graphically illustrating the lives of blacks during and after the Civil War, and showing just some of the indignities they faced in their struggle to be free. The book is extremely important because it brings a greater understanding of this time to the reader, and it uses illustrations and photos to help make history even more real and compelling. It is quite clear Foner is an expert on this subject, and reading about it opens up the eyes of the reader to a more intimate understanding of one of Americas most important historical events.
Foner, Eric. Forever Free: The Story of.