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

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

by Gordon S. Wood
3.4 7

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The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Conservative-Kyle More than 1 year ago
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.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
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Lencrest More than 1 year ago
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!