THE BIRTH OF THE NATION by Arthur M. Schlesinger


Portrait Of The American People On The Eve Of Independence
Email this review


The author, who finished this book just before his death in 1965, was a Harvard professor of considerable stature as well as the father of Arthur, Jr. From a scholarly point of view, the book sidesteps the preludes to the domestic, democratic revolution which developed concurrently with the War of Independence; instead, Schlesinger merely claims that everyone took a class structure for granted. But then legislative struggles lie on the periphery of this study. It is a social history in its best and largest descriptions. Bundling, smuggling, coping with sewage and crime, the colonists seem as vital a bunch as we were brought up to believe. There is an adumbration of the darker side (Yankee slave-traders as well as Southern masters) and a few cliche-busters (only a minority formally belonged to any church). Yet it's principally the sweeter, lighter side--scant mention of the French and Indian Wars; a claim that the aristocracy was benign and unresented; little about taxes and governmental structures; and little inkling of the half-hearted support for the Spirit of '76. It's an utter delight to read; no substitute for classics like the Beards, Dorfman or Jameson, much less new, rigorous scholarship--but a worthy complement.
Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1968
ISBN: 0241017149
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1968


NonfictionTHE DISUNITING OF AMERICA by Arthur M. Schlesinger
by Arthur M. Schlesinger
NonfictionTHE CYCLES OF AMERICAN HISTORY by Arthur M. Schlesinger
by Arthur M. Schlesinger
NonfictionROBERT KENNEDY AND HIS TIMES by Arthur M. Schlesinger
by Arthur M. Schlesinger