On Saturday I received an advanced copy of Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867 [Series 3: Volume I: Land and Labor, 1865]. This is a hefty volume, running just under 1,100 pages and coming with a price tag of $85. I assume most of the sales of this volume will come through libraries, but if you work in the area of Reconstruction or related field, and can afford the price, it is no doubt worth owning. I've already picked out a few documents from the Freedmen's Bureau that will work well in my classes. Here is the book description:
Land and Labor, 1865 examines the transition from slavery to free labor during the tumultuous first months after the Civil War.
Letters and testimony by the participants–former slaves, former
slaveholders, Freedmen's Bureau agents, and others–reveal the
connection between developments in workplaces across the South and an
intensifying political contest over the meaning of freedom and the
terms of national reunification. Essays by the editors place the
documents in interpretive context and illuminate the major themes.
the tense and often violent aftermath of emancipation, former slaves
seeking to ground their liberty in economic independence came into
conflict with former owners determined to keep them dependent and
subordinate. Overseeing that conflict were northern officials with
their own notions of freedom, labor, and social order. This volume of Freedom
depicts the dramatic events that ensued–the eradication of bondage and
the contest over restoring land to ex-Confederates; the introduction of
labor contracts and the day-to-day struggles that engulfed the region's
plantations, farms, and other workplaces; the achievements of those
freedpeople who attained a measure of independence; and rumors of a
year-end insurrection in which ex-slaves would seize the land they had
been denied and exact revenge for past oppression.