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Liveright Publishing Corporation
04 June 2021
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.
By:  
Imprint:   Liveright Publishing Corporation
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 193mm,  Width: 122mm,  Spine: 18mm
Weight:   220g
ISBN:   9781631498831
ISBN 10:   1631498835
Pages:   144
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Annette Gordon-Reed is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard University. The author of Pulitzer Prize-winning The Hemingses of Monticello, she lives in New York and Cambridge.

Reviews for On Juneteenth

If this book is a departure for [Gordon-Reed], it's still guided by the humane skepticism that has animated her previous work. In a series of short, moving essays, she explores 'the long road' to June 19, 1865, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger announced the end of legalized slavery in Texas, the state where Gordon-Reed was born and raised... No matter what she's looking at, Gordon-Reed pries open this space between the abstract and particular... Gordon-Reed acknowledges that origin stories matter, even if they often have more to say about our current needs and desires than with the facts of history, which are often stranger and less assimilable than any self-serving mythology will allow... One of the things that makes this slender book stand out is Gordon-Reed's ability to combine clarity with subtlety, elegantly carving a path between competing positions, instead of doing as too many of us do in this age of hepped-up social-media provocations by simply reacting to them. In 'On Juneteenth' she leads by example, revisiting her own experiences, questioning her own assumptions - and showing that historical understanding is a process, not an end point. -- Jennifer Szalai - The New York Times


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