Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Couldn't Finish a Book

Last time I updated the What I'm Currently Reading section, I was working on T.H. Breen's American Insurgents, American Patriots (see previous post). I'm sad to admit that I couldn't finish it. I don't know if I just couldn't get into the material, or if it was Breen's writing style, or what, but I just had to put it down. This was particularly discouraging because I got more than a third of the way through it before I quit. The book received a lot of favorable reviews, but I guess it just couldn't stand up to the previous two books I had read (David Goldfield's America Aflame and Stephen Budiansky's Perilous Fight)

After putting down Breen's book, I decided to read a short work by Gordon Wood, The American Revolution: A History. Though it is only 166 pages, this book is an excellent, basic history of the Revolution. If you are looking for an in-depth study this certainly isn't it, but it is a well-written overview that highlights the causes of the war and the development of republicanism in America. There's very little military history here, aside from the one chapter that deals specifically with the conduct of the war. This book can be purchased from Amazon for well under $10 which would make it a perfect book for an undergraduate class on the time period. If I were able to select my own books for my classes I would seriously consider having my students read this as a supplement to their textbook. I am almost finished with it and getting through this book has made me feel better about not finishing American Insurgents, American Patriots.

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