In a new book, A Confused and Confusing Affair: Arkansas and Reconstruction, some of Arkansas’ leading historians offer insights into Reconstruction in Arkansas and how its effects still resonate today, according to a news release.


“While tens of thousands of books have been written about the American Civil War, the tense period that followed the war has received relatively little attention until recently,” according to the release.


A Confused and Confusing Affair: Arkansas and Reconstruction was recently released from Butler Center Books and edited by Mark K. Christ, community outreach director for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.


“Reconstruction has been called one of the most tumultuous and controversial periods of Arkansas’ history, an era in which African Americans sought to secure the benefits of their hard-won freedom, the former leaders of the state pursued restoration of their pre-war economic and political status, and the U.S. Army and the Freedmen’s Bureau sought to maintain a balance between these competing interests.


“By the time Reconstruction ended in 1874, Arkansas had been wracked by brutal political violence, black legislators had experienced their first opportunities for service, and the Republican Party was embroiled in the tragi-comedy of the Brooks-Baxter War, setting the stage for the rise of the Democratic “Redeemers,” according to the release.


The book contains works by noted authors.


“In this collection of essays, Carl H. Moneyhon provides an overview of Reconstruction in the United States, Jay Barth explores post–Civil War politics, Blake Wintory discusses the African Americans who served in the Arkansas General Assembly, Kenneth C. Barnes gives insights into the political violence that convulsed the state, Thomas A. DeBlack unravels the Brooks-Baxter War, and Rodney Harris explores the 1874 Constitution and its effects on Arkansas’ future political landscape,” according to the release.


The editor, Christ, has written, edited, and co-edited several books for Butler Center Books. These include “All Cut to Pieces and Gone to Hell”: The Civil War, Race Relations, and the Battle of Poison Spring; The Die Is Cast: Arkansas Goes to War, 1861; “This Day We Marched Again”: A Union Soldier’s Account of War in Arkansas and the Trans-Mississippi; and Competing Memories: The Legacy of Arkansas’ Civil War.


The book is available at bookstores, including River Market Books & Gifts on the Main Library campus in Little Rock; in the Butler Center Galleries in the Roberts Library on the Main Library campus; from online retailers; and through the University of Arkansas Press (via University of Chicago Press) at 800-621-2736.


Butler Center Books is the publishing division of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System. Details: www.butlercenter.org/publication.