The Bloody Shirt

  • by Stephen Budiansky
  • Narrated by Phil Gigante
  • 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From 1866 to 1876, more than 3,000 free African Americans and their white allies were killed in cold blood by terrorist organizations in the South.Over the years, this fact would not only be forgotten, but a series of exculpatory myths would arise to cover the tracks of this orchestrated campaign of atrocity and violence. Little memory would persist of the simple truth: that a well-organized and directed terrorist movement, led by ex-Confederates who refused to accept the verdict of Appomattox and the enfranchisement of the freedmen, succeeded in overthrowing the freely elected representative governments of every Southern state.Stephen Budiansky brings to life this largely forgotten but epochal chapter of American history through the intertwining lives of five courageous men who tried to stop the violence and keep the dream of freedom and liberty alive. They include James Longstreet, the ablest general of the Confederate army, who would be vilified and ostracized for insisting that the South must accept the terms of the victor and the enfranchisement of black men; Lewis Merrill of the 7th Cavalry, who fought the Klan in South Carolina; and Prince Rivers, who escaped from slavery, fought for the Union, became a state representative and magistrate, and died performing the same menial labor he had as a slave.Using letters and diaries left by these men, as well as startlingly hateful diatribes published in Southern newspapers after the war, Budiansky proves beyond a doubt that terrorism is hardly new to America.


What the Critics Say

"Budiansky brings the unpleasant details of the era alive in a smoothly written narrative." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I thought the topic would be interesting especially in light of so much talk about reconcilliation in Iraq. I thought it would be instructive to read about the difficulty of healing our own deep cultural wounds. Instead this book is one repition after another. The reader does not help by his phoney, sterotypical southern accent whenever narrating a southern point of view and innocent, bewildered mode of speaking when narrating the northern senitment. The book is only caricature and vauderville.
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- W. Max Hollmann

ANYTHING but Dull!

I can only assume that the previous two reviews of this book were written by people still in denial over the southern reign of terror that followed the US Civil war. This book is a riveting account of that era in American history that has been washed from the brains of most Americans. The dramatic reading of the writings of actual participants only heightens the enjoyment.

If you have the guts to listen to Americans participating in ethnic cleansing of the blacks in the south, you will find this book facinating. And perhaps wonder why you never read about it in your high school history book!
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- David M. Hyzy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-16-2008
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio