I'm starting Eric Foner's Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863 - 1877.
This is the last paragraph of the author's preface:
Over a century ago, prodded by the demands of four million men and women just emerging from slavery, Americans made their first attempt to live up to the noble professions of their political creed -- something few societies have ever done. The effort produced a sweeping redefinition of the nation's public life and a violent reaction that ultimately destroyed much, but by no means all, of what had been accomplished. From the enforcement of the rights of citizens to the stubborn problems of economic and racial justice, the issues central to Reconstruction are as old as the American republic, and as contemporary as the inequalities that still afflict our society.
Should be good ...