American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750–1804

Alan Taylor. Norton, $37.50 (736p) ISBN 978-0-393-08281-4
Taylor, professor of history at the University of Virginia and Pulitzer Prize–winner for The Internal Enemy, further cements his reputation with this comprehensive analysis of an American Revolution that was anything but the relatively decorous event of popular myth. The revolutionary era was a time of divisions and uncertainties. “Turmoil persisted after the formal peace treaty,” Taylor writes. But that upheaval inspired political and cultural creativity that enabled a nation to emerge from “much cruelty, violence, and destruction.” Stressing the importance of the trans-Appalachian west, Taylor suggests that the conflict between land-hungry settlers and restrictive British polices was just as important to sparking revolution as the resistance to taxation that inflamed the Atlantic coast. This expanded perspective frames Taylor’s presentation of George Washington’s understanding that “victory hinged on who could endure a long, hard, bitter struggle.” Taylor analyzes “the cycles of invasion, exposure, and suppression” that convinced most Americans that “a Patriot victory offered the best prospect for restoring peace and stability.” He also highlights the “broad and anarchic borderland” where “Patriots fought... to suppress the independence of native peoples” in the name of creating an “empire of liberty.” Provocative and persuasive, Taylor’s fine work demonstrates that on a continent “riven with competing allegiances and multiple possibilities,” the newly independent U.S. by no means faced a secure future. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/13/2016
Release date: 09/06/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 736 pages - 978-0-393-25387-0
Paperback - 704 pages - 978-0-393-35476-8
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