Israel on the Appomattox is a wonderful account of a large and successful settlement of freed slaves in antebellum Virginia. As such, it makes a valuable contribution to the literature on the experience of former slaves as an anomalous social group in the slave South, but Michael Perman argues that it does not significantly alter current views about how the freed slaves fared and were treated, despite the claims of author Melvyn Ely and, to an even greater extent, the reviewers of the book.

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