The sub-title, A Handbook of Negro Liberty, is misleading, for actually this is better defined as a history of Reconstruction as it traces the victory of the planters over the idealist. It is a heart-breaking book; one sees the aspirations of the freemen, the dreams of land, the hopes of education, the beliefs in promises slowly sinking into the abysses of the worst of the old evils and the new ascendancy of the autocrats. Step by step they seized political power once more; they penalized those who tried to lift the new citizens to their rightful place. Washington- with Andrew Johnson in the White House- betrayed their trust- denied equality- allowed the ballot to become a fake- reaffirmed the philosophy of racial inferiority -- withdrew protection- permitted the downgrading of public education. The situation which is bearing bitter fruit today was esconsced. Even records were destroyed so that the writing of history became impossible. Reconstructed state governments and the men who created them lasted from two to seven years, and an experiment in social and economic revolution on the part of fourteen million human beings suffered virtual extinction. This is a valuable record but its reading will make for bitterness.