Battles For Freedom

The Use and Abuse of American History - Essays from 'The Nation'

Introduction by Randall Kennedy

Eric Foner

For almost four decades, Eric Foner has introduced readers of The Nation to unknown or forgotten characters in American history, methodically unearthing the hidden history of American radicalism. In this collection, Foner expounds on the relevance of Abraham Lincoln’s legacy in the twenty-first century and on the need for another era of Reconstruction. In addition to calling out politicians and the powerful for their abuse and misuse of American history, Foner assesses some of his fellow leading historians of the late 20th century, including Richard Hofstadter, Howard Zinn and Eric Hobsbawm. Foner ends with an essay on the great tradition of radicalism that he has spent his career studying and which, he argues, Americans of progressive disposition should seek to celebrate, retrieve, and renew.

“Nothing could be more timely, more needed than this collection of Eric Foner’s work. Throughout his career, Professor Foner has enlightened and provoked us to become our better selves.”
Toni Morrison, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

“An extraordinary collection of essays, at once erudite and unflinching, from one of America’s most gifted historians.”
Jill Lepore, David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History 
at Harvard University

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