THE YOUNG UNITED STATES: 1783 to 1830 by Edwin Tunis
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THE YOUNG UNITED STATES: 1783 to 1830

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the same format and with the same spanking good-looks as Colonial Living and Frontier Living, this is nevertheless a departure for the estimable Mr. Tunis, a broadening of his scope to encompass the drift of American history. Bounded by the Revolution and the inauguration of Jackson is the development of the nation from an Eastern agrarian base--independent farmers and the villages dependent on them--as inland towns batten on trade, the frontier is breached, cities support commerce and style and scholarship. Philadelphia is the case in point--examined closely as has been ""the Whittle Place"" and ""Benson Town"" (both illustrative inventions of the author's)--which leads (via ""Travel"") to the Constitution. Thereafter the narrative is less personal but no less particularized--a shift of focus paralleling that from Colonial Living to Colonial Craftsmen in order to study Inventions and Factories, Money and Some Foreign Affairs, Turnpikes and Travel, The Seafarers and the Countinghouse. The very arrangement is instructive as one after another aspect gains ascendancy, but always there is the interplay of political, social, economic, technological and mechanical factors, the last not the least. ""The Changing Americans"" refers to taste--in architecture, furniture, dress, food and general deportment; New York City, per se, precedes attendance upon The Arts, and Schools and Colleges; ""The Growth of the West,"" with Connor's Prairie as archetypal, sets the stage for Old Hickory. The illustrations are always instructive and sometimes amusing (see the fence-foiling animals ""encumbered with wooden yokes""), and the same may be said of the text: in one of many vivifying vignettes, courtesy ""Major"" Benson, ""not so much aided as enhanced by his walking stick,"" meets and doesn't greet his ""Declared Enemy,"" Judge Murray (which is also a lesson in 'manners'). There are some 1450 index entries, making this a prime resource; it is also a rare pleasure to read.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1969
Publisher: World