Gilder Lehrman Book Breaks features the most exciting history scholars in America discussing their books with host William Roka live, followed by a Q&A with home audiences.
Join us online on Sunday, March 7 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET (11: 00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT) with Edward L. Ayers, as he discusses his book "The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America."
At the crux of America’s history stand two astounding events: the immediate and complete destruction of the most powerful system of slavery in the modern world, followed by a political reconstruction in which new constitutions established the fundamental rights of citizens for formerly enslaved people. Few people living in 1860 would have dared imagine either event, and yet, in retrospect, both seem to have been inevitable.
Edward L. Ayers restores the drama of the unexpected to the history of the Civil War, its pitched battles punctuating a cycle of vicious attack and reprisal in which armies burned whole towns for retribution. In the weeks and months after emancipation, from the streets of Staunton, Virginia, we see Black and White residents testing the limits of freedom as political leaders negotiate the terms of readmission to the Union.
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