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BOOK REVIEWS283 with geography and time. Accepted in twentieth-century Toronto, blacks are rejected in Dresden; never of real concern on the prairies, they have been ever-present to Nova Scotians. At the same time blacks have failed to establish themselves on a nationwide plane. There have been, Winks contends, no national black leaders in Canada, no church structure unrent by sectarianism, no race press with sound business acumen or broad, unifying policy, no school system, segregated or integrated , which met the needs of the black community. So it has gone over the years. If there is a certain formlessness about The Blacks in Canada, it is largely inherent in the history it narrates. Yet, after discussing a new black activism in the 1960s similar to that in the United States, though less developed and occurring later. Winks optimistically concludes that, although "the historian cannot run ahead of the headlines," there seems still a place for the "black tile in the [Canadian] mosaic." 483 pages speak otherwise. In the end there is little contemporary—and virtually no historical—evidence that many white Canadians understand the black other than as an outsider or that many black Canadians have transcended their internal fragmentation. The story does mirror in good part the history of the blacks in the United States. And Canadians, like Americans , must be troubled by the pattern of the black experience in their country, a pattern shaped largely by the majority. William H. Pease University of Maine, Orono Reconstruction: The Great Experiment. By Allen W. Trelease. (New York: Harper and Row, 1971. Pp. 224. $4.95.) Sunday in Centreville, The Battle of Bull Run, 1861. By G. Allen Foster. (New York: David White, 1971. Pp. 166. $4.95.) Nearly every instructor in the freshman surveys of American history has experienced the situation in which what he assumes as a basic historical fact often comes as a revelation, if not a shock, to some of his students. Fortunately such occurrences are not common, but the fact that they do happen indicates the quality of history being taught in the pre-college curricula. American history is usually introduced in the fourth grade, and then only in a cursory manner, stressing the arrival of the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving. It is not until high school that a formal course in American history is taught. One of the reasons why certain phases of our past must be "re-learned" in college is due to the homogenized brand of history dispensed in high school and elementary school. Because of such teaching and poor textbooks it is not surprising that many students perceive history as dull and irrelevant. At a recent meeting of the Organization of American Historians C. Vann Woodward revealed the findings of a study in which high school and college students rated their subjects. Regrettably, history was on the bottom of their list. They re- 284civil war history garded it as one of the most worthless courses in their academic life. One way to correct this indictment is through better books. Books can be and often are intimidating to students. Therefore, if a book is going to be read it must not only appear inviting, but the subject and the author's ability to convey its importance must be intellectually seductive in order to keep the reader turning the page. In terms of these criteria Allen Trelease's Reconstruction: The Great Experiment succeeds admirably. The author's use of full page pictures and the excellent cartoons of Thomas Nast make the book vivid and appealing . On this single note a student choosing between the two books reviewed here would select Trelease's simply because of the effective use of pictures and illustrations. Beyond the external appearance of the two books there is also a difference in substance. Reconstruction the Great Experiment stands tall as a valuable contribution to creative scholarship and one that will be read and digested by the high school student who wants an honest insight to a complex phase of American history. Trelease's volume is a welcome addition to a growing list of cogent and creative studies on controversial aspects of American history. It is in marked contrast to the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 283-284
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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