Michael Hattem's Reviews > Recent Themes in Early American History

Recent Themes in Early American History by Donald Yerxa
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's review
Jul 21, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: early-america
Read in January, 2008 — I own a copy

This is a collection of insightful essays on the state of early American history. It begins with a "state of the field" essay by Pauline Maier in which she laments the disjunction between colonial and post-revolutionary history both in the literature and the classroom. It is then followed by a few "answer essays." These are followed by commentaries on current themes such as the effect of the decline of political and military history, etc.... Many of the essays are by some of the field's most prominent figures such as Maier, Gordon Wood, Jack Rakove, Peter Onuf, Don Higginbotham, John Ferling, as well as some rising stars like Brendan McConville. There is not much in here about race, class, or gender, which I find refreshing, but there is also minimal discussion of the more relatively recent nationalism and public sphere debates. It can serve as a good introduction to some of the questions currently facing the field for someone planning on entering graduate study in early American history.

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