Thanks to the University of Georgia Press for an advance copy of For Free Press and Equal Rights: Republican Newspapers in the Reconstruction South by Richard Abbott.

As Republicans took control of Southern states, they were able to patronize local party papers with state advertising and printing contracts. Republican governors even became co-owners of some papers while in office.

It is a testimony to Republican grip that author Abbott was able to survey over 430 papers in the course of his book. Fascinating stuff, especially the business of scalawags (and wartime Unionists) versus carpetbaggers and the growing demands of black readers for black editors.

Republican editors had to devote considerable column space to defending carpetbaggers against criticisms from both inside and outside the party...

And then there were the Southern Republicans' efforts to limit the role of freedmen within the GOP.

A fascinating look at a large but marginal regional party and its life and death struggles.