The Washington Post
What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848by Daniel Walker Howe
The Oxford History of the United States is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. In this Pulitzer prize-winning, critically acclaimed addition to the series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expanded to the Pacific and won… See more details below
The Oxford History of the United States is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. In this Pulitzer prize-winning, critically acclaimed addition to the series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expanded to the Pacific and won control over the richest part of the North American continent.
A panoramic narrative, What Hath God Wrought portrays revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated the extension of the American empire. Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the spread of information. These innovations prompted the emergence of mass political parties and stimulated America's economic development from an overwhelmingly rural country to a diversified economy in which commerce and industry took their place alongside agriculture. In his story, the author weaves together political and military events with social, economic, and cultural history. Howe examines the rise of Andrew Jackson and his Democratic party, but contends that John Quincy Adams and other Whigsadvocates of public education and economic integration, defenders of the rights of Indians, women, and African-Americanswere the true prophets of America's future. In addition, Howe reveals the power of religion to shape many aspects of American life during this period, including slavery and antislavery, women's rights and other reform movements, politics, education, and literature. Howe's story of American expansion culminates in the bitterly controversial but brilliantly executed war waged against Mexico to gain California and Texas for the United States.
Winner of the New-York Historical Society American History Book Prize
Finalist, 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
The Oxford History of the United States
The Oxford History of the United States is the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. The series includes three Pulitzer Prize winners, a New York Times bestseller, and winners of the Bancroft and Parkman Prizes. The Atlantic Monthly has praised it as "the most distinguished series in American historical scholarship," a series that "synthesizes a generation's worth of historical inquiry and knowledge into one literally state-of-the-art book." Conceived under the general editorship of C. Vann Woodward and Richard Hofstadter, and now under the editorship of David M. Kennedy, this renowned series blends social, political, economic, cultural, diplomatic, and military history into coherent and vividly written narrative.
The Washington Post
In the latest installment in the Oxford History of the United States series, historian Howe, professor emeritus at Oxford University and UCLA (The Political Culture of the American Whigs), stylishly narrates a crucial period in U.S. history-a time of territorial growth, religious revival, booming industrialization, a recalibrating of American democracy and the rise of nationalist sentiment. Smaller but no less important stories run through the account: New York's gradual emancipation of slaves; the growth of higher education; the rise of the temperance movement (all classes, even ministers, imbibed heavily, Howe says). Howe also charts developments in literature, focusing not just on Thoreau and Poe but on such forgotten writers as William Gilmore Simms of South Carolina, who "helped create the romantic image of the Old South," but whose proslavery views eventually brought his work into disrepute. Howe dodges some of the shibboleths of historical literature, for example, refusing to describe these decades as representing a "market revolution" because a market economy already existed in 18th-century America. Supported by engaging prose, Howe's achievement will surely be seen as one of the most outstanding syntheses of U.S. history published this decade. 30 photos, 6 maps. (Sept.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
This authoritative addition to Oxford's "History of the United States" series is a product of synthesis and astute analysis. Intellectual and cultural historian Howe (Making the American Self: Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln) touches upon the rapidly expanding nation's economy, foreign relations, and social structures, taking into account race, gender, and ethnicity, and bringing special insights to his discussion of religious revivals and the evolution of moral consciousness, reform movements, and political institutions. The evocative title, which was the first message carried by Morse's telegraph, refers to the changes wrought by religious sensibilities as well as those wrought by technological breakthroughs. Howe boldly emphasizes the "communications revolution" rather than the "market revolution" of the early 19th century, asserting that the latter largely happened among 18th-century commercial farmers. On the other hand, he does not emphasize a "Jacksonian America." Andrew Jackson, he asserts, was not as uniformly democratic or influential as his supporters maintain. A worthy addition to public and academic institutions; beginning scholars will appreciate the maps and the extensive bibliographic essay, fleshed out by the journal citations in the footnotes. Highly recommended.
Frederick J. Augustyn
"What Hath God Wrought is the dazzling culmination of the author's lifetime of distinguished scholarship.... The sustained quality of Howe's prose makes it even harder to put down a volume whose sheer weight makes it hard to pick up.... What Hath God Wrought lays powerful claim to being the best work ever written on this period of the American past."Richard Carwardine, The Journal of Southern History
"Howe knows his era as well as any historian living, and he generously instructs his readers with detailed expertise and crisp generalizations."John Lauritz Larson, The Journal of American History
"What Hath God Wrought is a feat worth applauding no matter what omissions will occur to every specialist in any facet of early national America."Scott E. Casper, Reviews in American History
"Howe is a skillful storyteller who knows how to choose relevant anecdotes and revealing quotations. Both general readers and professional historians can benefit from the book. It can be read with pleasure from cover to cover."Thomas Tandy Lewis, Magill's Literary Annual
"One of the best lessons offered by Howe's book comes in his refusal to view the period of 1815 to 1848 in anything other than its own terms. He never reduces the early part of the book to an analysis of how developments succeeded or failed the hopes of the 'founders.' Nor does he ever treat political and social developments as though they launched the United States on a high road to the Civil War.... Precisely because of this clear-eyed vision of the antebellum period, Civil War historians will want to take a fresh look back at howe's picture of the United States in a constant state of change."Sarah J. Purcell, Civil War Book Review
"I like to have a heavy tome to calm me down at the end of the day. This is almost as big as a pathology book, but really well written."Robin Cook
"A comprehensive, richly detailed, and elegantly written account of the republic between the War of 1812 and the American victory in Mexico a generation later...a masterpiece."The Atlantic
"How's Pulitzer Prize-winning addition to the mulitvolume Oxford History of the United States is excellent in many ways, not least in the full attention it gives to the religious dynamics of American history in this period.... a very satisfying read."The Christian Century
"Exemplary addition to the Oxford History of the United States... He is a genuine rarity...extraordinary."Washington Post Book World
"One of the most outstanding syntheses of U.S. history published this decade."Publishers Weekley starred review
"What Hath God Wrought is both a capacious narrative of a tumultuous era in American history and a heroic attempt at synthesizing a century and a half of historical writing about Jacksonian democracy, antebellum reform, and American expansion."The New Yorker
"This extraordinary contribution to the Oxford History of the United States series is a great accomplishment by one of the United States' most distinguished historians.... It is, in short, everything a work of historical scholarship should be."Foreign Affairs
"The book is a sweeping and monumental achievement that no student of American history should let go unread. Attentive to historiography yet writing accessible and engaging prose, Howe has produced the perfect introduction or reintroduction to an enormously important period in American national development."American Heritage
"The best book on Jackson today."Gordon Wood, Salt Lake Deseret Morning News
"Howe's book is the most comprehensive and persuasive modern account of America in what we might prefer hereafter to call the Age of Clay. It should be the standard work on the subject for many years to come."American Nineteenth Century History
"Comprehensive and detailed... an excellent narrative history."The California Territorial Quarterly
"There is simply too much of value in Howe's book to be even listed in the longest of reviews. The serious student of American history will want to read this book...This is a book worthy of a master of American history." History News Network
Meet the Author
Daniel Walker Howe is Rhodes Professor of American History Emeritus, Oxford University and Professor of History Emeritus, University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of The Political Culture of the American Whigs and Making the American Self: Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln. He lives in Los Angeles.
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