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Well-Nigh Reconstructed: A Political Novel
by Brinsley Matthews
edited by Paul D. Yandle
University of Tennessee Press, 2010
eISBN: 978-1-57233-737-4 | Paper: 978-1-57233-721-3
Library of Congress Classification PS2374.M18M66 2010
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.5

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC | REQUEST ACCESSIBLE FILE
ABOUT THIS BOOK
n 1882 William Simpson Pearson, writing under the pseudonym Brinsley Matthews, published Well-Nigh Reconstructed, a thinly disguised autobiographical novel excoriating the enormous societal changes that had beset the former Confederacy during Reconstruction. Pearson’s work was especially notable in that the author was a onetime Radical Republican and supporter of Ulysses S. Grant’s bid for the presidency.

Echoing Pearson’s own disillusionment with the Radical Republicans, the novel’s protagonist, Archie Moran, comes to see Radical Reconstruction as an attempt to turn the South into a carbon copy of the North, and through a series of encounters involving corrupt carpetbaggers, greedy politicians, and the Klan trials of the late 1870’s. Moran grows weary of politics altogether and resigns his Republican Party affiliation. For Pearson and his doppelganger, Moran, Reconstruction became a vasat breeding ground for corruption.

Featuring an extensive introduction by historian Paul D. Yandle, who sets the political and regional scene of Reconstruction North Carolina, this reissue of Well-Nigh Reconstruction will shed new light on the ways in which sectionalism, regionalism,  and the embrace of white supremacy tended to undermine the recently reconstituted Union among Appalachian residents.


Paul D. Yandle is an assistant professor at Middle Tennessee State University.
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