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The Idea Of America: Reflections On The Birth Of The United States (2011)

by Gordon S. Wood(Favorite Author)
3.89 of 5 Votes: 2
1594202907 (ISBN13: 9781594202902)
Penguin Press HC, The
review 1: When I first picked up this book I was expecting a renowned historian's views on what the Revolutionary generation believed when they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, thus bringing to light some of the debates of our modern era. As a student of history, I should've known better than to get my hopes up that by studying the views of the Founders we could answer these questions. However, this book does shed light on the hopes and ideals the Revolutionary generation had when they fought for independence, wrote the Constitution, and went about the business of establishing a new kind of nation on the Earth. Thus, while today's questions about the Constitution (like the meaning behind the second amendment or the limits of executive power) will not be answered, th... moree idea of America and what is was meant to be according to the leaders and people of 1776-1815 and how far we have diverged from that original vision is shown in this book. Unlike other history books this does not have the typical narrative format of starting at one point and ending at another. Instead, it is a collection of essays, speeches, and lectures Mr. Wood has given over the course of his career and he has now edited and updated for our time. He wisely structures them in the typical point A to B format starting with three essays on the Revolution, then four essays on the making of the Constitution, and four on the Early Republic. If you've ever read a scholarly journal before, then you will know what to expect from these essays. They are not always exciting and can be quite dry at times. But if you can pierce through the academic language, you will learn about the Founder's true fears of democracy, the great extent to which the ideal of the Late Roman Republic informed the hopes of the Revolutionary leaders, and the general mindset the Founders had when they launched the Revolution. Like I said before, it is a dry book at times, but a great supplement to any history of the Revolution and Early Republic.
review 2: Pre-eminent Revolutionary/Colonial America Historian Gordon Wood's "The Idea of America" is a collection of his essays, lectures, and articles about the ideas of the American Revolution and how those ideas played and still play a significant role in the shaping of the United States, both formally and ideologically, both past and present. The articles are very well argued and presented, and Wood does a excellent job backing up his assertions about the importance of the American Revolution. Some of the essays were a bit drier than others, but the vast majority I enjoyed. Wood's perspective on how important the Revolution may be challenged by other historians, some of which I know and converse with regularly, but his presentation here in this collection makes it easy to see just how great an impact the period really had on us as a Nation. Overall, a very good read and excellent addition to the collection. less
Reviews (see all)
Interesting set of essays regarding American Political Thought in the early days of the Republic.
Just gave me lots of help to understand the fundamental idea of American formation.
good infromation for the American History classes I teach
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