Book Review of Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War

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Book and Media Review

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Review of: Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War. By Chandra Manning. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016. Pp. [x], 396. Paper, $17.00, ISBN 978-0-307-45637-3; cloth, $30.00, ISBN 978-0-30727120-4.)

Excerpt: Prevailing ideas are powerful obstacles to change, Manning argues, but black refugees forced the military and, by extension, the United States government to reevaluate their status within the Union by 1862. Manning suggests that the men, women, and children in the camps forged a relationship with the federal government that was beneficial to former slaves because it was "one stage of the unfinished and ongoing project of defining citizenship" (p. 285). All in all, Manning shows the varied and halting steps that African Americans took from slavery to freedom and the equally shaky steps that the federal government took to protect them.