Upcoming Event

Dr. Jeremi Suri at Harvard Book Store


Civil War by Other Means:
America’s Long and Unfinished Fight for Democracy

in conversation with JONATHAN KIRSHNER


October 20, 2022
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes DR. JEREMI SURI, Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, for a discussion of his new book Civil War by Other Means: America’s Long and Unfinished Fight for Democracy. He will be joined by JONATHAN KIRSHNER, Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Boston College.

A Return to In-Person Events

Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:

  • Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.

About Civil War by Other Means

In 1865, the Confederacy was comprehensively militarily defeated, its economy shattered, its leaders in exile or in jail. Yet in the years that followed, Lincoln’s vision of a genuinely united country never took root. Apart from a few brief months, when the presence of the Union army in the South proved liberating for newly freed Black Americans, the victory was squandered. Old white supremacist habits returned, more ferocious than before.

In Civil War by Other Means, Jeremi Suri shows how resistance to a more equal Union began immediately. From the first postwar riots to the return of Confederate exiles to the impeachment of Andrew Johnson to the highly contested and consequential election of 1876, Suri explores the conflicts and questions Americans wrestled with as competing visions of democracy, race, and freedom came to a vicious breaking point.

What emerges is a vivid, and at times unsettling, portrait of a country striving to rebuild itself, but unable to compromise on or adhere to the most basic democratic tenets. What should have been a moment of national renewal was ultimately squandered, with reverberations still felt today. The recent shocks to American democracy are rooted in this forgotten, urgent history.

Praise for Civil War by Other Means

“A riveting, page-turning, and epic tour de force that is as timely as it is insightful. Jeremi Suri brilliantly contextualizes the roots of contemporary racial and political divisions that culminated in the January 6, 2021, assault on the US Capitol by taking us back to the crucial two decades after the Civil War’s formal end. This passionate, wide ranging, and engaging history is a must-read for all those interested in the future of American democracy.” ―Peniel E. Joseph, author of The Third Reconstruction

“No previous scholar has written about the post–Civil War decades with more brio, passion, and outrage than Suri. Civil War by Other Means scathingly documents the grotesque persistence of violent white supremacism in the not-quite-conquered South—as well as the growing indifference in the victorious North to the plight of newly freed Black citizens. A blisteringly good read, and a sobering lesson on the toxic stubbornness of American racism.” ―David M. Kennedy, professor of history emeritus, Stanford University

“This book should be required reading for every member of Congress and high-school history class. It does a marvelous job of connecting the post–Civil War with what we are experiencing now.” ―Jim Falk, president emeritus, World Affairs Council, Dallas/Fort Worth

Dr. Jeremi Suri
Dr. Jeremi Suri

Dr. Jeremi Suri

Jeremi Suri holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. He is a professor in the university's Department of History and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Dr. Suri is the author and editor of eleven books on contemporary politics and foreign policy, most recently, The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Highest Office. He writes widely for many publications and is also the host of the podcast, This is Democracy.

Photo Credit: Korey Howell

Jonathan Kirshner
Jonathan Kirshner

Jonathan Kirshner

Jonathan Kirshner is Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Boston College. His research and teaching interests focus on international relations, political economy (especially macroeconomics and money), and politics and film. His current research includes projects on classical realism, the international political implications of the financial crisis and its aftermath, and the politics of mid-century cinema. His recent books include American Power after the Financial Crisis, and Hollywood’s Last Golden Age: Politics, Society and the Seventies Film in America.

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