The Genuine Article: A Historian Looks at Early America



The Genuine Article: A Historian Looks at Early America This Book Amounts To An Intellectual AutobiographyThese Pieces Are Thus A Statement Of What I Have Thought About Early Americans During Nearly Seventy Years In Their Company, Writes Historian Edmund S Morgan In The Introduction To This Landmark Collection The Genuine Article Gathers Together Twenty Five Of Morgan S Finest Essays Over Forty Years, Commenting Brilliantly On Everything From Jamestown To James Madison In Revealing The Private Lives Of Those Sexy Puritans And The Price Of Honor On Southern Plantations, The Genuine Article Details The Daily Lives Of Early Americans, Along With The Great Political Fiction That Continues To This Day As One Of Our Most Celebrated Historians, Morgan S Characteristic Insight And Penetrating Wisdom Are Not To Be Missed In This Extraordinarily Rich Portrait Of Early America And Its Founding Fathers

10 thoughts on “The Genuine Article: A Historian Looks at Early America

  1. says:

    a perfect model of condensing american history books into 5 page reviews essays edmund morgan can write like a mf and synthesize and critique what he reads with what he knows believes into funny, informative and easy to understand short essays about early america, comparing and contrasting new england, new dutch, and southern colonies in all kinds of ways, from religion to sex a must have reference for any serious history readers i cannot quite figure out if these were all nyrb book reviews o a perfect model of condensing american history books into 5 page reviews essays edmund morgan can write like a mf and synthesize and critique what he reads with what he knows believes into funny, informative and easy to understand short essays about early america, comparing and contrasting new england, new dutch, and southern colonies in all kinds of ways, from religion to sex a must have reference for any serious history readers i cannot quite figure out if these were all nyrb book reviews or just reviews he has written over the years, but he deserves a gold star for being such a kick ass thinker

  2. says:

    The Genuine Article is a collection of essay reviews that Edmund S Morgan published in the New York Review of Books beginning in the 1970s into the early years of the 21st century Morgan was already regarded as one of the leading historians of the American colonial period and Revolutionary War at the time he wrote the first of these essays, which of course his why the editors of the Review selected him His work since has only enhanced that reputation He groups the essays topically rather tha The Genuine Article is a collection of essay reviews that Edmund S Morgan published in the New York Review of Books beginning in the 1970s into the early years of the 21st century Morgan was already regarded as one of the leading historians of the American colonial period and Revolutionary War at the time he wrote the first of these essays, which of course his why the editors of the Review selected him His work since has only enhanced that reputation He groups the essays topically rather than chronologically into four categories New Englanders, Southerners, Revolutionaries, and the shortest Questions of Culture In the process he comments on some of the most important books in colonial and revolutionary war history published during this period and reveals Catholic interests, probing intellect, and a very appealing modesty He can raise hard questions about books in very measured and gentle prose Taken collectively, these essays are hardly an overview of the field at the very least they exclude all mention of his own work but they offer searching examination of some very important books My favorite essays include The First Great American John Winthrop , The Big American Crime on slavery , A Loyal Un American Thomas Hutchinson , Secrets of Benjamin Franklin, The Great Political Fiction, on the House of Commons debate on the Petition of Right, the Continental Congress, the ratification of the U.S Constitution, and the first federal elections , The Second American Revolution on Gordon Wood s The Radicalism of the American Revolution , and Who s Really Who The last, a review of the 24 volumes of the American National Biography contrasted with its 20 volume predecessor, the Dictionary of American Biography written with the assistance of Morgan s wife Marie, is a masterpiece of thoughtful concision and a genuine tour de force I highly recommend this book

  3. says:

    A collection of book reviews by a preeminent historian of early American history These were published in The New York Review of Books, which encourages reviewers to expound on the book s material The cumulative result is a brief but informative look at the reviewed books subject matter, at Morgan s views and at the state of American history in the late 20th century the reviews are from the late 1970 s to 2002 The reviews are divided into sections dealing with the Puritans, the South, and the A collection of book reviews by a preeminent historian of early American history These were published in The New York Review of Books, which encourages reviewers to expound on the book s material The cumulative result is a brief but informative look at the reviewed books subject matter, at Morgan s views and at the state of American history in the late 20th century the reviews are from the late 1970 s to 2002 The reviews are divided into sections dealing with the Puritans, the South, and the Revolution There is muchdocumentation from New England prior to the 19th century than from the South The Puritans were given to much introspection, Southerners wereinclined to practical matters Another reason for Southern reticence was their desire to avoid the embarrassment of discussing slavery The result was that the Puritan and New England experience became embedded early on as the major strain in the American story This was altered after the Civil War by Southern apologists, Western myth makers and Progressive debunkers However, the idea of a city on a hill remains basic to our understanding of ourselves.Morgan was a student of Perry Miller, the historian who in his The New England Mind restored the Puritan s intellectual reputation Although an atheist himself, Miller argued that the beliefs and arguments of men like John Winthrop and Cotton Mather should be taken seriously and at face value In the 1960 s Bernard Bailyn did the same for the Revolutionary generation, as he refuted Progressive historians like Charles Beard, for whom the Founders rebelled for purely economic reasons Morgan argues that there was a genuine constitutional argument, not understood by England, that led to the Revolution The most difficult task of the historian is to perceive history in the context of the actors, yet relate them in terms relevant to his contemporaries Morgan points out that a listing of George Washington s accomplishments cannot explain the awe that his contemporaries held him in It may be fun to debunk the marble man by today s standards, but it cannot be denied that even men who disagreed with him, thought him special

  4. says:

    The author, Edmund Morgan, obviously knows his history And is as expert an historian I ve read when it comes to knowing previous historical works and what they covered So in that sense, this book isfor historians than the layman It also repeatedly professes his admiration of one of Morgan s former professors and comrades, Perry Miller, who I am not familiar with Some good information and essays abound, but most of it is above my area of knowledge.

  5. says:

    Ultimately a charming compendium of reviews written by Morgan, one of the most important early American historians of the 20th century Morgan has always had a knack for distilling complex ideas in rather straightforward language and the same holds true in his reviews for the New York Review of Books.

  6. says:

    Ended up being a great book I sort of skipped around and read the chapters that sounded most interesting as it was a collection of essays Morgan is sort of the authority on the American Revolution, so it was interesting to hear his take A good refresher on Early America, specifically John Winthrop, Salem Witch Trials, Puritans, Ben Franklin, Madison Jefferson, and Washington Ended up being a great book I sort of skipped around and read the chapters that sounded most interesting as it was a collection of essays Morgan is sort of the authority on the American Revolution, so it was interesting to hear his take A good refresher on Early America, specifically John Winthrop, Salem Witch Trials, Puritans, Ben Franklin, Madison Jefferson, and Washington

  7. says:

    Although it is strange to read historians reviewing other history books or essays, I found it interesting how the author would critique others works It certainly made me realize that history is somewhat subjective and makes me wonder how much historical knowledge that we hold as truth is based upon the coloring of the particular author.

  8. says:

    This book collects reviews published in the New York Review over twenty or thirty years Morgan is an excellent book reviewer He places the book in a larger background both the historical period covered and the academic trends that affect it He finds something new or interesting or novel in every book, even those he doesn t ultimately like much.

  9. says:

    Its pretty hard to go wrong with a book that compiles NYRB articles on pre revolutionary America That said, I find that some of Morgan s reviews provide less background information and or analysis of the subject matter than the strongest of NYRB efforts.

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