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358CIVIL WAR HISTORY The work is both a good and bad effort. It is divided into tliree parts: Old World Backgrounds; Colonial Postal Service in North America and Postal Service in the United States. The brevity of the volume, by selfexclusion , necessitates that each of these broad topics will, at best, receive scant attention. This scantiness is one of the frustrating aspects of the work. The documentation cannot be questioned because it is more than adequate. The selection of important data is also beyond criticism, for what is presented is important, and cannot be eliminated. What is disturbing, however, is the almost meaningless presentation of fact upon fact, data upon data, with little analysis, correlation or insight. The tables in the work gives one a clue to this absence of meaning. There are thirteen major ones, and most of them are numbers collected. This reviewer cannot help but think that with a little more time and effort , these tables could have been formulated into a more useful tool. Lacking in this brief outline are such important questions as the political patronage aspect of the postal service; the impact of the federal government as an employer; and the "ring" of corruption during the Star Route frauds of the Grant administration. On a whole, the reader is left in mid-air with Scheele's work. He cannot quarrel with what has been written. Rather he can quarrel with the fact that little was done with it. It is much like being given sugar, salt, flour, butter, milk and flavoring, after having been offered a piece of cake. Keith Sutherland University of Northern Iowa Racial Thought in America: From the Puritans to Abraham Lincoln, A Documentary History. Vol. I. Edited by Louis Ruchames. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1969. Pp. xiii, 497. $8.00.) The academic profession has witnessed the publication and republication of scores of works on the history of black people and other minority groups in the United States during the past two years. Likewise, the general subject of race has attracted the interest of an increasing number of serious scholars in various disciplines. The result of their efforts, with particular regard to black history, has been an expanded historiography of Afro-Americans in this country, and an intensified awareness of long standing social problems which warrant consideration and immediate resolution. Unfortunately, all too many publishers, imbued with normal commercial tendencies, have responded to America's "Black Revolution" with the distribution of countless, and often insignificant, books about the "black experience." Louis Ruchames, long respected for his sound scholarship, has wisely avoided the "hurry to press" syndrome which has marred otherwise creditable sourcebooks, and which has characterized too many of those in the historical profession. Indeed, it is refresh- book reviews359 ing to read a well conceived edited work which holds one's interest and, in the language of today's students, is "relevant." Ruchames' Racial Thought in America is more than a group of articles quickly tossed together. In brief, the selections are designed to "illustrate the diverse conflicts and problems at stake in American race relations and racial thought" and to present "a balance of historical views on the subject." The more than seventy-odd readings vividly catalog the ideas of a cross section of the American populace from the colonial period to the eve of the Civil War, and they encompass practically every major consideration in black history prior to the breakup of the Union. Clearly, the focus of the book has been limited to black-white relations to keep the manuscript "within manageable proportions." Thus, it is understandable that only two selections deal with the Indians, John Eliot's famous "Protest," and Daniel Gookin's "Historical Collections of the Indians in New England." Although the author has allowed the participants to "speak for themselves ," Ruchames has made his own valuable contribution to scholarship . Each of his ten chapters contains a brief introductory statement and often times an extended essay which reflects critical thought and careful analysis. The most striking example is his excellent synthesis, "The Sources of Racial Thought in Colonial America" which he has included in his introduction to Part I. One regrets that the author...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 358-359
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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