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Michael W. Fitzgerald teaches American history at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he lives. He is the author of prizewinning articles on aspects of Reconstruction and in two other books has written on the politics of emancipation and of agricultural change in the post-Civil War period.
A useful introduction to the dramatic and bloody tragedy of Reconstruction. -- Christopher Waldrep, author of Jury Discrimination Fitzgerald ... has pulled off the enormously difficult task of writing a short, clear, analytically distinctive history of Reconstruction. -- Thomas Pegram, author of Battling Demon Rum Engagingly written ... can be read with profit by students, general readers, and specialists. -- John C. Rodrigue, author of Reconstruction in the Cane Fields Humane, temperate, and succinct ... Splendid Failure may be the best short introduction to Southern Reconstruction we're likely to get. -- Mark Wahlgren Summers, author of The Era of Good Stealings An engaging and crisply-written overview... Sure to become a fixture in college classrooms and on scholars' shelves. -- Susan O'Donovan, author of Becoming Free in the Cotton South Fitzgerald offers a solid understanding of the intricacy of social relationships ... dense, thoughtful reconsideration of these turbulent events and their results. Foreword Reviews The author excels... The bibliographic essay also provides an invaluable service in its discussion of the massive literature on the era. The work is well written and will serve as an excellent supplement to any collection on Reconstruction... Highly Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. CHOICE Excellent survey ... offers depth and detail especially suitable for classroom debate and discussion... Recommended for any college-level collection. Midwest Book Review Eminently readable analysis... Concern with ... the possibility of establishing democracy amid postwar violence make[s] the book especially timely. Virginia Quarterly Review Reading Splendid Failure was splendid. The prose is quick, at times witty, and always readable. It reminded me of why I not only love to research in the period, but teach it as well. H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online Splendid Failure pulls the last two decades of Reconstruction scholarship into an effective single volume on the subject... Fitzgerald has produced a readable and concise volume that will work effectively in an undergraduate classroom and sit comfortable on a lay reader's bookshelf. The Alabama Review