Jonathan Yardley writes that Robert Norrell’s Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington forced him to change his mind about the greatness of Washington. Yardley, who "reflexively accepted the received opinion" about him in the 60’s (that he was an "Uncle Tom") now writes: "Norrell persuades me that I was wrong." I’ve read the book and Yardley is right, it is first rate. It is good on Washington, and on the extraordinary difficulties (Booker called it the "severe American crucible") of that era, terrifying for blacks, especially in the South. There is now no question that Washington, in his character and intellect and achievements, is one of the greatest Americans.