In June, the Louisiana State University Press released “Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898,” by Edward J. Blum (San Diego State University). The publisher’s description follows:
During Reconstruction, former abolitionists in the North had a golden opportunity to pursue true racial justice and permanent reform in America. But after the sacrifice made by thousands of Union soldiers to arrive at this juncture, the moment soon slipped away, leaving many whites throughout the North and South more racist than before. Edward J. Blum takes a fresh look at the reasons for this failure in Reforging the White Republic, focusing on the vital role that religion played in reunifying northern and southern whites into a racially segregated society. A blend of history and social science, Reforging the White Republic offers a surprising perspective on the forces of religion as well as nationalism and imperialism at a critical point in American history.