Writing Early American History

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"Whoever reads these essays—and whether they follow the book from cover to cover, or dip into chapters at random—will find the rich abundance and variety of early American scholarship set out before them. Readers new to the field will grasp a sense of its expansiveness and possibilities, but seasoned scholars, too, will find here a feast of insights and possibilities that will engage, provoke, and inspire them."—from the Foreword, by Christopher Clark

How is American history written? In a penetrating series of review essays, prize-winning author Alan Taylor provides his own answer to this question. In the pages of The New Republic, he has regularly scrutinized the writing of the most interesting historians of early American history.

Together these reviews provide the general reader a rich and rewarding introduction to their subjects. The books reviewed span an enormous range of scholarship, from popular biographies of Founding Fathers, to investigations of murders of prostitutes to discussions of frontier technology. Grouped thematically, the essays reveal a historian with an unrivaled breadth of knowledge and an admirable passion for his subject, and one who has contributed a continent-wide perspective to colonial history. As readers steep themselves in world-class scholarship, they also discover a writer who takes very seriously his role as reader.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Trained in the new social history, Taylor is especially attuned to diversity and conflict in early American society. . . . Writing Early American History is a provocative and very well written collection."—History

"Taylor is not only a trenchant critic; he is a skilled and able practitioner, surely one of the best of the current generation of historians."—New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century

"Taylor is the leading historian of early America. . . . This collection reprints his often quite lengthy review articles . . . in a thematically organized anthology. It is an absolute joy to dip into and will confirm Taylor's reputation as a historians' historian."—Journal of American Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812219104
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/3/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 871,389
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Taylor is Professor of History at the University of California, Davis, and a contributing editor for The New Republic. He is the author of several books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning William Cooper's Town and most recently American Colonies.
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Table of Contents

Foreword, by Christopher Clark

1. The Voyage In
2. Blood and Soil
3. Germ Colonies
4. 4. Martyrs to Venus
5. Sex and the City

6. In a Strange Way
7. Crucibles
8. A Seeking People
9. Midnight Ramblers
10. Worlds within Words

11. The Virginians
12. Devil in a Blue Dress
13. The Bad Birds
14. The Forgotten War
15. Power Shopping

16. For the Benefit of Mr. Kite
17. The Good Father
18. The Founding Swindlers
19. Pluribus
20. Clintonism

21. The Exceptionalist
22. Poor Richard, Rich Ben
23. Threads of History
24. Transformer


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