Liberty Tree: Ordinary People and the American Revolution

Alfred Fabian Young, Author New York University Press $76 (419p) ISBN 978-0-8147-9685-6
This fascinating collection of essays by Young (The American Revolution and Beyond the American Revolution) makes a gripping display of the American historian's efforts to construct a more inclusive, nuanced vision of the Revolutionary War era. Drawing from his work since 1980, the essays cover a wide range of topics (such as the growth of laborer class consciousness, the women of Boston and the Revolution, Oliver Cromwell as a revolutionary symbol, and recommendations for improving Boston's Freedom Trail) that showcase Young's skills in direct historical analysis as well as in deconstructing the methods and assumptions of historians and historical exhibitions. A social historian committed to rounding out our cultural memory, Young includes traditionally marginalized groups (women, the poor, the working class, African Americans and Native Americans), but is interested neither in adding token representations nor in replacing the founding fathers. Rather, Young seeks to re-imagine the Revolutionary War era holistically, and what emerges is not only a first look at key but forgotten Revolutionary players, but also a fresh look at figures like Hamilton, Revere and Adams, portrayed here with a richness and humanity lacking in more celebratory treatments. Although these are serious academic essays, Young's prose is clear and concise, and he judiciously relegates the more technical, scholarly matters to end notes. The result is a work that will be of equal interest to professional scholars and amateur historians.
Reviewed on: 11/06/2006
Release date: 11/01/2006
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FORMATS
Paperback - 419 pages - 978-0-8147-9686-3
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