I’m now reading an advance copy of Mike McDonnell’s wonderful, soon-to-be-released Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America (2015). And recently, in a conversation with Cody Osterman (one our fine ACS grad students, as well as a funny guy), we were talking about Ben Carp’s fine Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America (2010). Which got us thinking, how many books have that in the subtitle? And what does it all mean?
Although I haven’t had the privilege of teaching a course on the American Revolution for a few years, this semester I’m leading a graduate student on an independent study of the Revolution, and among the books we’re reading is Bernard Bailyn’s The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Because it’s insights have become so central to much of how we think about the Revolution, it’s hard to remember just how pathbreaking the book was. Just as amazing are its flaws, which, even in its original forward, were on display for everyone to see, had they only looked.