Monday, October 15, 2007

New Book: 1776: The Illustrated Edition

A new edition of David McCullough's highly regarded Revolutionary War history, 1776, has just been released.

The book is an abridged version of the 2005 book, with photos, maps, and letters replacing some of the original text.

McCullough describes the creation of the new edition in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. He says "What I did was to try to fill in the necessary material that was lost through the picture captions."

McCullough also has interesting thoughts on the teaching of history, with which I agree completely.

The original edition of 1776 has been on my shelf unread for far too long. I loved McCullough's biography of John Adams. So many books, so little time...

McCullough's next book is about Americans in Paris in the 19th and 20th centuries, including Mary Cassatt and George Gershwin.


Blogger J.C. Loophole said...

McCullough, David Hackett Fischer and Gordon Wood are among the best historians writing today. All of them have written important works on the Revolution or revolutionary figures. In addition to the books you mentioned, Fischer's Washington's Crossing, Albion's Seed and Paul Revere's Ride and Wood's The Radicalism of the American Revoltion and The Creation of the American Republic should be on everyone's bookshelves that want to understand history. Also Thomas Fleming, but you can see today's roundup viz a viz Mr. Fleming.

Many Americans used to read biography and narrative history almost as regularly as they read magazines. The nation used to have so many wonderful narrative historians. The when Academia began to change in the 60s, one of the casualties was narrative history. Leftist academics proclaimed it bourgeois propaganda, stale, oppressive, etc. Then they began to write social and identity history and supress good research into political (traditional), narrative and military history. The result? Academia researching and writing history strained through their own idealogical ideas and themes. In turn the focus on good writing decreased and more and more only other academics and students would read it (sometimes forced to for a grade). Then the general public had less to choose from, less popular historians to read and history, classism and civics went from something that we were traditionally good at to something we are now terrible at. That is why the current "popular" historians are gaining new ground, more people are reading and the academics are fuming and critiquing at every turn. I oughtta know- my own thesis was strained through this system and when my advisor asked about my favorite historians he blanched when I gave him my answer.
Sorry for the long comment - but this touched a nerve. It's something I am passionate about.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I enjoyed your post very much! PAUL REVERE'S RIDE and WASHINGTON'S CROSSING are also on my shelves. I love reading about the Revolutionary era. I need to check out Wood, have never read him.

If you haven't read it, one of the most interesting Revolutionary biographies I've read in the last few years was Richard Brookhiser's GENTLEMAN REVOLUTIONARY, about Gouverneur Morris. I learned a great deal. Alan Crawford's UNWISE PASSIONS is a great companion title.

Thanks for the tip on THE PERILS OF PEACE by Fleming. That might rate a post here, too!

Best wishes,

6:08 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

Hey loophole, well done.

Thanks, Laura, for the links in your comments. Look good.

9:34 PM  

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