Professor Postel's New Book Confronts 'Trap of Racial Exclusion' in Post-Civil War Era

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

THE NATION -- As Charles Postel shows in his new book, Equality: An American Dilemma, 1866 – 1896, the years that Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner dubbed the Gilded Age produced a widespread sense that something was seriously amiss in the American economic and political order, and a variety of mass citizen movements arose aiming to secure greater equality.

Postel, who teaches history at San Francisco State University, is best known for his 2007 book The Populist Vision, winner of the Bancroft Prize. That book succeeded in the difficult task of reinterpreting a movement — the People’s Party of the 1890s — that had already attracted the attention of historian heavyweights, including Richard Hofstadter and Lawrence Goodwyn.