The Idea of America Reflections on the Birth of the United States

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 6/26/2012
  • Publisher: Penguin Books

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The preeminent historian of the Founding Era reflects on the birth of American nationhood and explains why the American Revolution remains so essential. For Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood, the American Revolution is the most important event in our history, bar none. Since American identity is so fluid, we have had to continually return to our nation's founding to understand who we are. In a series of illuminating essays, he explores the ideological origins of the Revolution-from Ancient Rome to the European Enlightenment-and the founders' attempts to forge a democracy. He reflects on the origins of American exceptionalism, the radicalism and failed hopes of the founding generation, and the "terrifying gap" between us and the men who created the democratic state we take for granted. This is a profoundly revealing look at the event that forged the United States and its enduring power to define us.

Author Biography

Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor Emeritus at Brown University. His 1969 book, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, received the Bancroft and John H. Dunning prizes and was nominated for the National Book Award. His 1992 book, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Emerson Prize. His 2009 book, Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815, won the New-York Historical Society Prize in American History. In 2011 Wood was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Obama.  Wood contributes regularly to the New Republic and the New York Review of Books.


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