Customer Reviews for

The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1
  • Posted July 27, 2011

    Professor Wood Strikes Again!!

    I first became aware of Professor Wood's work throughout my AP United States History course last year in high school. When studying the Revolutionary years, as well as the decades following, we were required to read the volume Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815. The amount of information covered in this book, along with how he presented this period, truly touched my historical spirit; the way in which he gracefully wrote this piece allowed me to become more knowledgeable on this time frame than I had predicted before turning the first page.

    Professor Wood's Empire of Liberty captures the who, what, when, and where of our early Republic and bestows great honor onto our Founders; but the element that was so desperately missing was they why. In his recently published The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States, Wood goes beyond people, places, dates, and events but instead clarifies why these things occurred in the fashion they did. This book, mostly a collection of re-published essays over his lengthy career, stretches far back to English origins, Enlightenment values, and the reasons for why men such as Jefferson and Paine responded to their mother country the way they chose.

    Throughout The Idea of America, Wood fills-in historical gaps by using thoughts and ideas the Founders believed would generate an eager, yet naïve, nation onto the road of prosperity: a country based on the notions of republican values, promoting positive liberty, and engaging in a meaningful, virtuous society. More of a philosophical read than a normal black-and-white history book, The Idea of America provides the reasoning behind actions taken by the likes of Washington, Adams, and Madison through years spanning from the Glorious Revolution of 1688-1689 until the presidency of Andrew Jackson.

    The Idea of America is a wonderful read and a must have for anyone that is, or aspires to become, a truly genuine scholar of American History. Professor Wood is at his best, yet again.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2011

    "The Idea of America" has earned five stars in my opinion.

    Mr. Wood's knowledge, intelligence, keen insight, ability to finesse the
    political and cultural nuance of this period in American history, make this
    book one that I will treasure, and I'm only a bit more than half way
    through it. When I'm finished reading it, I'm sure it'll be placed on the
    book shelf next to some of the best histories I own, Margaret McMillan's
    "Paris 1919", Elaine Pagels' "The Gnostic Gospels", Steven Waldman's
    "Founding Faith" and a few others for example.
    David Vineberg

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 4, 2011

    Difficult Read

    I selected this work based on an interesting review in the New York Times. I was disappointed to say the least. The book is very repitive in making it's points. The same point is made over and over again in different ways just to beat into you the author's point. The premise is quite interesting; however, it seemed to me that the publisher asked for so many pages and Mr. Wood kept writing the same thoughts until he got there!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1