Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made, by Eugene Genovese is a a good intro to the role slavery played in the United States before the Civil War.
Mourning Lincoln, by Martha Hodes, looks at the conflicted nature of the nation in our response to Lincoln’s death.
Erci Foner’s Reconstruction is probably the best overview of the post-war years. I found it a bit dry, and haven’t finished it yet.
The War That Forged a Nation, by James McPhereson, is somewhat more readable.
And there’s After Lincoln: How the North Won the War and Lost the Peace, by A. J. Langguth.
Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow explains the links between Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and mass incarceration.
I recommend you read what Ta-Nehisi Coates is saying these days.
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