If you imagine, based on your high school American history class, that reconstruction was a bore-fest, think again. John William De Forest brings the reader on a trip to Greenville, South Carolina and introduces us to the colorful characters (black and white) he dealt with as an agent of the Freedman’s Bureau. There’s no whitewashing, no PC language, no modern sociological studying here–just one decent man’s appraisal of a bad (sometimes funny) situation. Here is yet another white man with compassion, intelligence and humor. It’s fun to see how a northerner felt about his southern brethren as well as some of the fairer sex.
As an interesting aside De Forest is thought responsible for the phrase “the great American novel.”