Ever since its original publication in 1961, Reconstruction after the Civil War has been praised for cutting through the controversial scholarship and popular myths of the time to provide an accurate account of the role of former slaves during this period in American history.
In this edition Franklin has updated his work to acknowledge the enormous body of research and scholarship that followed in the wake of the first edition. New are Franklin's references to important, later texts that enrich the original narrative. In addition, the extensive bibliography has been thoroughly revised.
What has not changed, however, is the foundation Franklin has laid. Still compelling are his arguments concerning the brevity of the North's military occupation of the South, the limited amount of power wielded by former slaves, the influence of moderate southerners, the flaws of the constitutions drawn up by the Radical state governments, and the reasons for the downfall of Reconstruction.