Goodreads Review: Black Reconstruction in America 1860 – 1880 by W.E.B. DuBois

Four star review, originally posted here on December 21, 2020 during a mass-review of pandemic audiobooks.

[DISCLAIMER: I’m catching up on months worth of Audiobook reviews, so writing this quickly and belatedly.]

I made a terrible mistake. I should NOT have attempted this as an audiobook. I figured “this is going to be a very long book, so audiobook will help me get through it faster without getting drained or giving up.” The problem is, the majority of this book involves doing a different chapter for each state. For the entire confederacy. And while of course none of these states were identical, a lot of their histories were VERY similar. This get super repetitive, and it’s tough to pay attention. You also can’t remember which state you’re on. So, a lot of this book just flew over my head and I was not as focused as I should have been. This is not fair to DuBois’ incredible work.

That being said, I still gave this book 4 stars because it’s not Du Bois’ fault that I can’t focus. This book shares, in extreme detail, a period in history that is often glossed over. This book was also written in the 1920’s, providing even more historical context (how were the issues surrounding reconstruction and race viewed in 1920?) While the state-by-state portion of the book got dry, the bookends were absolutely enlightening. I highly recommend everyone pick this up, but make sure you pick a format that allows you to flip through at your own speed and to return to it as a reference.

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