On Juneteenth: Book summary and reviews of On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed

On Juneteenth

by Annette Gordon-Reed

On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed X
On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed
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Book Summary

The essential, sweeping story of Juneteenth's integral importance to American history, as told by a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and Texas native.

Weaving together American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, Annette Gordon-Reed's On Juneteenth provides a historian's view of the country's long road to Juneteenth, recounting both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African-Americans have endured in the century since, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow and beyond. All too aware of the stories of cowboys, ranchers, and oilmen that have long dominated the lore of the Lone Star State, Gordon-Reed―herself a Texas native and the descendant of enslaved people brought to Texas as early as the 1820s―forges a new and profoundly truthful narrative of her home state, with implications for us all.

Combining personal anecdotes with poignant facts gleaned from the annals of American history, Gordon-Reed shows how, from the earliest presence of Black people in Texas to the day in Galveston on June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger announced the end of legalized slavery in the state, African-Americans played an integral role in the Texas story.

Reworking the traditional "Alamo" framework, she powerfully demonstrates, among other things, that the slave- and race-based economy not only defined the fractious era of Texas independence but precipitated the Mexican-American War and, indeed, the Civil War itself.

In its concision, eloquence, and clear presentation of history, On Juneteenth vitally revises conventional renderings of Texas and national history. As our nation verges on recognizing June 19 as a national holiday, On Juneteenth is both an essential account and a stark reminder that the fight for equality is exigent and ongoing. 2 black-and-white illustrations

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Pulitzer-winner Gordon-Reed interweaves history, politics, and memoir in these immersive and well-informed essays reflecting on the history of Juneteenth...Despite the thorny racial history, Gordon-Reed expresses a deep fondness for her native state, writing that 'love does not require taking an uncritical stance toward the object of one's affections.' This brisk history lesson entertains and enlightens." - Publishers Weekly

"The Harvard historian and Texas native demonstrates what [Juneteenth] means to her and to the rest of the nation...A concise personal and scholarly history that avoids academic jargon as it illuminates emotional truths." - Kirkus Reviews

This information about On Juneteenth shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Annette Gordon-Reed Author Biography

Annette Gordon-Reed is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard. Gordon-Reed has won sixteen book prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2009 and the National Book Award in 2008, for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W.W. Norton, 2008).

In addition to articles and reviews, her other works include Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (UVA Press, 1997); Vernon Can Read! A Memoir, a collaboration with Vernon Jordan (PublicAffairs 2001); Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History (Oxford University Press, 2002); a volume of essays that she edited, Andrew Johnson (Times Books/Henry Holt, 2010) and, with Peter S. Onuf, Most Blessed of the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination (Liveright Publishing, ...

... Full Biography

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  • The Hemingses of Monticello jacket
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