John Bellamy's Reviews > Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815

Empire of Liberty by Gordon S. Wood
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's review
Feb 23, 2012

Read in February, 2012

I first encountered the work of Gordon S. Wood in the winter of 1973, when I read his "Creation of the American Republic" during my first semester of graduate school at the University of Virginia. I immediately decided he was the most brilliant American history writer I'd come across and I still think so after finishing "Empire of Liberty." His book is all the more welcome as the historiography of the early national period has too long been scanted by American historians. Wood is a very rare scholar, indeed, as he combines both an uncommon gift for narrative and an even more uncommon ability to explain historical events and personalities. This is no casual read: Wood's analyzes are never less than closely argued and even his most modest assertions are backed with a library of pertinent sources. If they all thought and wrote like this I might have even stayed in graduate school!

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