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

Empire of Liberty by Gordon S. Wood
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Jan 16, 13

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Read from January 10 to 16, 2013

Part of the reason one reads Gordon Wood, I suppose, is to delight in his mastery of eighteenth century contemporary primary sources. The delight, as a consequence, is in the experience of reading the book, rather than in increased knowledge of the period or of contemporary academic debates on that period--though they are, of course, inevitable and not at all unwelcome byproducts. However, in this volume, Wood's attempts to be accessible (for I can think of no other excuse for the book's endless and endlessly distracting instances of sloppy and needlessly repetitive prose) work to significantly dampen the reader's pleasure, making the entire experience feeling, frustratingly and unfortunately, like a colossal waste of time.

Oh and PS: not every piece of antebellum history has to end with a lamentation of slavery's evils. Though the passage is actually one of the best rendered in the book, content-wise it's hollow and almost unforgivably cliche.

Bottom line? Hashtag dis(appointed/illusioned).

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01/12/2013 page 340
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