Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More Books and the American Revolution

A post from 4/28/09 listed some books about the American Revolution for the Friends of 1776 library which I’m compiling. Here are some additional titles, with comments about each one.

A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution. Carol Berkin. 2002. Harcourt, 310 pp.

This is the latest addition to the library. It contains some particularly agreeable features, such as profiles of delegates to the Constitutional Convention and text of the Articles of Confederation. The book is quite short and very readable. I do take exception though to the word “inventing” in the title. “Creating” would be more suitable, because that’s what happened.

Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence. John Ferling. 2007. Oxford, 679 pp.

A solid, detailed military history of the Revolutionary War; valuable. The military campaigns in the long war were so numerous and scattered over such a large area, a reference book is necessary. Extensive notes and bibliography.

Samuel Adams, Father of the American Revolution. Mark Puls. 2006. MacMillan, 273 pp.

There couldn’t be a better subject for biography than Samuel Adams. Whether he is the father of the Revolution can be debated, but he certainly can be considered.

The Making of the Prefident, 1789. Marvin Kitman. 1989. Grove. 358 pp.

A man as important as George Washington has of course many books written about every aspect of his life. Kitman does one better. He’s taken the first Presidential campaign and give us his witty, sparkling account. Has he written history, or just spoofed it? In any case, people will enjoy it. Kitman gives his book a marked Woody Allen flavor. Many laughs.

American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence. Pauline Maier. 1998. Vintage Books, 304 pp.

This critique of 1776 is scholarly, highly regarded. Somewhat difficult to read. It is good research to take Jefferson’s role in the writing of the Declaration and examine what else and who else contributed to its validity.

A History of the American People. Paul Johnson. 1997. Harper. 1088 pp.

A well-known, popular, extensive encyclopedia of American history. Because of the book’s scope, the material on the American Revolution is very condensed.

Infamous Scribblers: The Founding Fathers and the Rowdy Beginnings of American Journalism. Eric Burns. 2006. Public Affairs. 467 pp.

It certainly wasn’t always journalism, but that’s what makes this book so appealing. Today the Press is often berated by different groups, but maybe not a whole lot has changed.

The Quotable Founding Fathers. Buckner F. Melton Jr., editor. 2004. Fall River Press, 411 pp.

Described as a “Treasury of 2,500 Wise and Witty Quotations from the Men and Women who created America”.

Easy to use, the compilation is pleasant just on its own, without the need to know a lot of history.

Some general comments:

America’s national holiday, July 4th, is just a few weeks away. Please join me in reading the Declaration on that day.

Publishing about the American Revolution continues at a healthy clip. Very encouraging.

The recently published biography of John and Abigail Adams will be enjoyed by many readers.

I wish some of the splendid texts of 20 – 30 years ago on the Revolution would be reprinted.

Do any Friends of 1776 know of a biography of John Hancock?

With so many “boomers” reaching their “reading years” (i.e., retirement), I see a bright future for publishing. And for book clubs.

Dear Friends, please do submit recent good titles as a comment to a post, especially since the number of bookstores (for browsing) is always shrinking. – Renata Breisacher Mulry

1 comment:

LoomisBooks.com Editor said...

Pauline Maier's book was really interesting. I think it's worth sticking with.