American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750–1804

Norton. Sept. 2016. 704p. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780393082814. $37.50; ebk. ISBN 9780393253870. HIST
In his sequel to American Colonies, Taylor (history, Univ. of Virginia) considers the American revolutionary era, from the causes of the war for independence to the formation of a new nation. The author traces how the concept of nationalism developed in the latter half of the 18th century, slowly spreading from the Eastern colonies to the Western frontier as it cleaved the population in two, eventually pitting colonist against colonist and settler against settler as a small but increasingly influential and militant group of rebellious patriots raged war against not only Britain but also neighbors who were resistant to independence and remained loyal to Parliament. Taylor also examines the first two decades of American sovereignty, emphasizing the Founding Fathers' conflicting views on freedom, slavery, democracy, republicanism, and international relations, and clearly yet thoroughly explaining how the Constitution and Bill of Rights materialized within a hostile political climate. Included is a handy chronology of major events, an extensive bibliography, and a lengthy notes section.
VERDICT This well-documented and thoroughly researched but also accessibly written book is recommended to readers interested in colonial and postcolonial American history, especially those who enjoyed Taylor's similarly impressive American Colonies. [See Prepub Alert, 3/21/16.]
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