An arresting piece of popular history. Sean Wilentz, The New York Times Book Review Nicholas Lemann opens this extraordinary book with a riveting account of the horrific events of Easter 1873 in Colfax, Louisiana, where a white militia of Confederate veterans-turned-vigilantes attacked the black community there and massacred hundreds of people in a gruesome killing spree. This began an insurgency that changed the course of American history: for the next few years white Southern Democrats waged a campaign of political terrorism aiming to overturn the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and challenge President Grant's support for the emergent structures of black political power. Redemption is the first book to describe in uncompromising detail this organized racial violence, which reached its apogee in Mississippi in 1875.
Nicholas Lemann, dean of the School of Journalism at Columbia University, is author of The Big Test (FSG, 1999) and the prizewinning The Promised Land. He lives with his family in Pelham, New York.