William Grimes in The New York Times:
THE BLOODY SHIRT
Terror After Appomattox By Stephen Budiansky
In April 1865 Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant, putting an end to four years of savage internecine conflict and settling the issue of slavery forever. “The war is over,” Grant said. “The rebels are our countrymen again.” Not quite. As Stephen Budiansky reminds us in “The Bloody Shirt,” his impassioned account of Southern resistance to Reconstruction, the war was won, but the peace, up for grabs, would be lost, done in by Southern intransigence and Northern apathy.
“In all except the actual results of the physical struggle, I consider the South to have been the real victors in the war,” Albion Tourgée, a North Carolina state judge, said caustically in 1879. “The way in which they have neutralized the results of the war and reversed the verdict of Appomattox is the grandest thing in American politics.” Just how the trick was done is Mr. Budiansky’s subject, as seen through the eyes of a handful of men dedicated to creating a just, biracial society in the South. If “Profiles in Courage” had not already been taken, it would have made the perfect title for this linked set of portraits honoring five men who risked everything to fight for the principles that had cost so many lives. It is an inspiring yet profoundly dispiriting story.