Andrew Johnson's Civil War and Reconstruction. By Paul H. Bergeron. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2011. Pp. 312. Cloth, $49.95.) To judge from forty years of Reconstruction scholarship, Ulysses S. Grant seems to have won a last victory. Formerly ranked by historians as one of two presidential failures, he has been lifted out of that class and replaced by Andrew Johnson. Now the longtime editor of The Papers of Andrew Johnson, Paul H. Bergeron, in a temperate, clearly written account, has offered a more generous picture of Lincoln's ill-fated successor. Bergeron does little with Johnson's personal side, the one place where-- at least until March 1865--most scholars allow the Tennesseean's better qualities to outweigh his worse ones; and in him there was much to admire: courage, honesty, ambition, patriotism, and a firm belief in democracy, at least for white men. Even his opponents found themselves liking the man personally, for all of his defects. Instead, this account concentrates on Johnson's public acts, specifically as military governor and as president, and for this the book relies primarily on the massive collection of material in Andrew Johnson's papers. Bergeron sees Presidential Reconstruction as a promising beginning and, in light of
The Journal of the Civil War Era – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Nov 2, 2012
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