|"I believe a measure of a great Historical work is one that acts as a catalyst for further inquiry. As I read "The Unsteady March" I noted other topical areas discussed which would keep me reading for several months.
This is not a dry textbook it is eminently readable. I am not suggesting this is a light read. I am saying the Authors did a remarkable job of conveying History, together with their own thesis, to create a book that should find a wide audience.
The book goes well beyond the primary premise that the progression of Civil Rights only occurs when the need for non-white assistance is needed, and for varying period of times thereafter. Examples would include the larger military conflicts this country has experienced.
What impressed me was that documentary sources were provided for the positions that the Authors espoused. There are nearly 60 pages of notes, which attest to the meticulous nature of their research.
The subject of Race is extremely complex, and unlike other works this book does not offer up stillborn utopian solutions. The reader is given a detailed walk through the history of the issue, often accompanied by riveting quotes from historical figures that will surprise, and often shock.
Another feature I found extremely useful were the occasional use of surveys that the Authors used sparingly but very effectively. The book also managed to utilize important statistical information without the obvious distortions that frequently contaminate such figures.
In the final section entitled "Shall We Overcome" the book is brought to a well thought out and organized review. This is then combined with an examination of current racial climates and suggestions on what actions may help to improve these continued disparities among the Races. However the suggestions are offered, reasoned, and justified, not pompously hurled down, from an ivory or otherwise constructed tower.
This is an extremely accessible book, that will serve as a reference work for me, and as mentioned, a catalyst for further reading.
Extremely well done, highly recommended. "
"This survey of the rise and decline of racial inequality in America argues that progress in racial equality has occurred only in conjunction with large-scale wars. The Unsteady March redefines civil rights events and issues, examining the historical foundations which have made racial progress possible. An unsettling survey of some hitherto-undisclosed influences on racial equality's progress. "
"About six months ago, Klinkner's book fell into my lap having been dropped off by my brother who knew me to be an avid reader. My initial thought was that this book was another attempt to recycle the old liberal ideas of the 60's. Liberalism, for all intents and purposes, has been discredited, relegated to the scrap heap of forgotten history-along with the Edsel, leisure suits, 8 tracks and E.S.T. Later that evening, I sat down to read the introduction. After completing the introduction, I wanted to call my brother to thank him for delivering such a find. It is imperative to read the introduction before tackling the main body of the book. Also, try not to read the book too quickly, it is better digested in small pieces. As a historical document, there is no more scholarly or analytical a treatise out there. It stablizes the argument in favor of reconsidering the issues surrounding the way we--as a country--have in the past and present continue to treat the progeny of former slaves. The issue is not reparations for the effects of slavery, but rather the institutional structures in place that perpetuate the superior/inferior relationship between Americans separated by the color of their skin. In short, if we could eliminate the current effects that became ingrained during the 300 or so years of slavery, we would gladly forego any compensation we may be arguably entitled to. This book is a must read for anyone grappling with the issues of equality-or inequality--in it's present transmuted form. "