The Great Task Remaining Before Us

9780823232024: Hardback
Release Date: 8th July 2010

9780823232031: Paperback
Release Date: 8th July 2010

Dimensions: 152.4 x 228.6

Number of Pages: 200

Series Reconstructing America

Fordham University Press

The Great Task Remaining Before Us

Reconstruction as America's Continuing Civil War

Hardback / £74.00
Paperback / £27.99

Through informative case studies, this illuminating book remaps considerations of the Civil War and Reconstruction era by charting the ways in which the needs, interests, and experiences of going to war, fighting it, and making sense of it informed and directed politics, public life, social change, and cultural memory after the war’s end. In doing so, it shows that “the war” did not actually end with Lee’s surrender
at Appomattox and Lincoln’s assassination in Washington. As the contributors show, major issues remained, including defining “freedom”; rebuilding the South; integrating women and blacks into postwar society, culture, and polities; deciding the place of the military in public life; demobilizing or redeploying soldiers; organizing a
new party system; and determining the scope and meanings of “union.”

Paul A. Cimbala is Professor of History at Fordham University and editor of the Press’s series The North’s Civil War and Reconstructing America.

Randall M. Miller is the William Dirk Warren ’05 Sesquicentennial Chair and Professor of History at Saint Joseph’s University. He is author or editor of numerous books. Among his books related to the Civil War are, as coeditor, Religion and the American Civil War (Oxford University Press, 1998), and The Birth of the Grand Old Party: The Republicans’ First Generation (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002). His most recent book, coauthored with Paul Cimbala, is The Northern Home Front in the Civil War (Praeger, 2012).

. . . An impressive array of new scholarship on Reconstruction that explores gender and race relations, the politics of Reconstruction, and historical memory. . . Recommended.


. . . the collection is a good reminder to students of the mid-nineteenth century that in some cases it is more useful to think about the connections and continuities between the years of the war than merely to stop and start narratives at 1865.

—Virginia Magazine

This is an important volume that should be read by everyone interested in nineteenth-century America. Editors Cimbala and Miller have assembled an outstanding collection of essays that examine the post-Civil War years from a wide array of vantage points while sharing a common theme: that Reconstruction was in many respects a continuation of the war. This book should serve as a valuable reminder to Americans that, as they prepare to observe the Civil War sesquicentennial, they should be looking ahead to the Reconstruction sesquicentennial and pondering the meaning and legacy of the years 1865-1877.

—Stephen V. Ash
University of Tennessee, author of A Year in the South: 1865

An unusually strong collection of essays . . . the scholarship is impeccable.

—Gaines M. Foster
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

Cimbala and Miller have edited an important book that will help historians understand both Reconstruction and its connection to the larger Civil War era.

—American Historical Review

"Cimbala and Miller offer an extraordinary contribution to the historiography of Reconstruction by demonstrating its enormous diversity. Often misunderstood, Reconstruction was a time of defining liberty and for whom, of rebuilding physically and psychically, of changing and enduring. This collection of sound, thoughtful essays provides an extensive examination of this significant and complex period of U.S. history. A must-read for anyone examining Reconstruction, this book shows that the “great task” still remains before us.

—Orville Vernon Burton
Author The Age of Lincoln