Need Help: Historiography and Book List for Reconstruction, Gilded Age

Feb 2009
357
United States
#1
I know there's been a few books recently written about Reconstruction (such as Foner's work) but the Gilded Age still seems to remain largely overlooked by historians. I'm looking to specialize further in late 19th century American history, but my university doesn't have many experts in this area. And naturally the Internet doesn't really bring up anything helpful.

Are any of you familiar with the historiography of these two eras? Could you provide some respectable historical works on them to get started?

Thanks!
 

avon

Forum Staff
May 2008
14,253
#2
Reconstruction: Books:

LaWanda Cox & John H. Cox (eds.), Reconstruction; the Negro, the the New South;

DH Donald, THe Politics of Reconstruction, 1863-1867,;

Eric Foner, Reconstruction; America's unfinished revolution, 1863-1877;

Eric Foner, Nothing but freedom; emancipation and its legacy;

JH Franklin, Reconstruction after the civil war;

LF Litwack, Been in the Storm so long: The Aftermath of Slavery;

JM McPherson, Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction;

Articles:

E Foner, 'Reconstruction Revisisted', Reviews in American History, Vol. 10, No. 4. (Dec., 1982), pp. 82-100;

JH Franklin, 'Mirror for Americans: A Century of Reconstruction History', The American Historical Review, Vol. 85, No. 1. (Feb., 1980), pp. 1-14;

HD Woodman, 'Class, Race, Politics, and the Modernizationof the Postbellum South', The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 63, No. 1. (Feb., 1997), pp. 3-22.


The Gilded Age:

VP DeSantis, The Shaping of Modern America, 1877-1919;

N Painter, Standing At Armageddon;

CW Calhoun (ed.), The Gilded Age: Perspectives on the Origins of Modern America;

A Nevins, The Emergence of Modern America, 1865-1878
 
Feb 2009
357
United States
#3
Thanks! Looks like a good list to get started. The Gilded Age really is sparse, isn't it?

Oh, and just for anyone else using this as a reference, Foner has also written "Forever Free" on Reconstruction which is a fantastic book.
 

avon

Forum Staff
May 2008
14,253
#4
Thanks! Looks like a good list to get started. The Gilded Age really is sparse, isn't it?
For specific studies of the period, it is shockingly sparse, yes. There are many excellent general studies that cover the time, but few that focus specifically on the Gilded Age.

Oh, and just for anyone else using this as a reference, Foner has also written "Forever Free" on Reconstruction which is a fantastic book.
Foner is an excellent historian with a veritable 'shelf of books' to his name. He only seems to come in for criticism when he get s involved in contemporary affairs. Wasn't he attacked for his opposition to the Iraq war? (I might be wrong!)
 
Feb 2009
357
United States
#5
He was actually picked high on a list of "Professors Who Hate America" a few years back. I got a kick out of that. I'm not an elite liberal snob but I've never read anything in his histories that struck me as anti-American or even really all that biased politically. I've never read any of his writings on contemporary affairs, though. But regardless of what he said there, if his view doesn't color his historical work, who cares? I'd hardly say he hates America.
 
Nov 2010
6,218
Indiana
#6
It would help to know what about this period you are interested in, the question is rather broad. two general suggestions are:
Charles W Calhoun From Bloody Shirt to Full Dinner Pail
Jackson Lears Rebirth of a Nation: the Making of Modern America, 1877-1920
 
Feb 2009
357
United States
#7
It would help to know what about this period you are interested in, the question is rather broad. two general suggestions are:
Charles W Calhoun From Bloody Shirt to Full Dinner Pail
Jackson Lears Rebirth of a Nation: the Making of Modern America, 1877-1920
Well, my interests are generally political history but I"m trying to assemble a more complete picture of the era using scholarly texts. Virtually anything is fair game, social history, economic history, biographies of prominent people, etc.
 
Nov 2010
6,218
Indiana
#8
The most comprehensive book on the period is Page Smith The rise of industrial America the problem is it doesn't have footnotes or a bibliography. For the political history the best approach might be to start with the presidential elections.
Roy Morris Jr Fraud of the Century on 1876
Mark W Summer Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion on 1884
Charles W Calhoun Minority Victory on 1888
R Hal Williams Realigning America on 1896
 
Jul 2018
2
Rialto, CA
#10
For "a more complete picture" the following are good;

•Binder & Reimers, The Way We Lived, 1996

• Edwards, Rebecca, New Spirits, 2006
This book's closest predecessor is Alan Trachtenberg's Incorporation of America (1982) because both eschew a chronological approach in favor of an examination of dominant themes and narratives.

• Calhoun, Charles, ed., The Gilded Age, 2007