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The Radicalism of the American Revolution
Cover of The Radicalism of the American Revolution
The Radicalism of the American Revolution
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Grand in scope, rigorous in its arguments, and elegantly synthesizing thirty years of scholarship, Gordon S. Wood's Pulitzer Prize-winning book analyzes the social, political, and economic consequences of 1776. In The Radicalism of the American Revolution, Wood depicts not just a break with England, but the rejection of an entire way of life: of a society with feudal dependencies, a politics of patronage, and a world view in which people were divided between the nobility and "the Herd." He shows how the theories of the country's founders became realities that sometimes baffled and disappointed them. Above all, Bancroft Prize-winning historian Wood rescues the revolution from abstraction, allowing readers to see it with a true sense of its drama-and not a little awe.
Grand in scope, rigorous in its arguments, and elegantly synthesizing thirty years of scholarship, Gordon S. Wood's Pulitzer Prize-winning book analyzes the social, political, and economic consequences of 1776. In The Radicalism of the American Revolution, Wood depicts not just a break with England, but the rejection of an entire way of life: of a society with feudal dependencies, a politics of patronage, and a world view in which people were divided between the nobility and "the Herd." He shows how the theories of the country's founders became realities that sometimes baffled and disappointed them. Above all, Bancroft Prize-winning historian Wood rescues the revolution from abstraction, allowing readers to see it with a true sense of its drama-and not a little awe.
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About the Author-
  • Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Radicalism of the American Revolution.
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  • AudioFile Magazine The thesis of Wood's thoughtful analysis is that the American Revolution, though primarily political, resulted in a new type of social egalitarianism. Paul Boehmer's voice is clear, and he's usually sensitive to the text, using tone and expression to support its meaning. However, his reading style is somewhat stilted, more declaimed, like a series of pronouncements, than easily conversational, an approach that draws attention to the narration over the text. But in time, one becomes used to it, and it doesn't interfere with the sense, which he conveys clearly. Some errors of pronunciation and emphasis could be confusing. But the persistent listener will find that the good outweighs the bad. W.M. (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 2, 1991
    Wood vivifies the colonial society out of which the American Revolution arose, delineating in particular the gulf between aristocrat and commoner (he notes in passing that students at Harvard were ranked by social status), then shows how the disintegration of the traditional monarchical society prepared the way for the emergence of the liberal, democratic, capitalist society of the early 19th century. The author dwells lightly on the Revolution itself, concentrating instead on the before-and-after aspect. The study explains the astonishing transformation of disparate, quarreling colonies into a bustling, unruly republic of egalitarian-minded citizens. Most noteworthy is Wood's analysis of the ``explosive'' entrepreneurial forces that emerged during the war and turned Americans into a society ``taken over by moneymaking and the pursuit of individual interest.'' This gifted historian ( The Creation of the American Republic ), who teaches at Brown, gives us a new take on the formative years of the country. History Book Club main selection.

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The Radicalism of the American Revolution
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Gordon S. Wood
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