May 20th 2017


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Morrison's budget jive lacks inherent harmony

CANBERRA OBSERVED Does budget do heavy lifting or is it "Labor lite"?

NEW ZEALAND Porn poll shows strong majority supports default opt-out policy to protect kids online

FRANCE Emmanuel Macron: a president without a political base

YOUNG POLITICAL ACTIVIST TRAINING (YPAT) Seven-day intensive course without equal in Australia

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Taiwan to go full steam ahead with submarines

RURAL AFFAIRS Murray Goulburn closures an omen of an industry in crisis

CLIMATE SCIENCE Temperature hasn't risen in 20 years: latest data

QUEENSLAND ENERGY 50 per cent renewables target: Is it credible?

LITERATURE Inexplicable: the ongoing appeal of H.P. Lovecraft

LITERATURE The gentle giant: Samuel Johnson

MUSIC Promissory notes: the public funding siphon

CINEMA Going in Style: Old dogs turned rookie robbers

LETTERS

BOOK REVIEW An abstemious revolutionary

BOOK REVIEW Soviet-era thriller revels in details

Books promotion page

REVOLUTIONARIES:
A New History of the Invention of America

Jack Rakove

$33.90


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(Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011)
Paperback: 504 pages
ISBN: 9780547521879
Price: AUD$33.90

 

Description

In the early 1770s, the men who invented America were living quiet, provincial lives in the rustic backwaters of the New World, devoted primarily to family, craft and the private pursuit of wealth and happiness. None set out to become “revolutionary” by ambition; but when events in Boston escalated, they found themselves thrust into a crisis that moved, in a matter of months, from protest to war.

In this remarkable book, American historian and Pulitzer-Prize winning author Jack Rakove shows how the private lives of these men were suddenly transformed into public careers — how Washington became a strategist, Franklin a pioneering cultural diplomat, Madison a sophisticated constitutional thinker, and Hamilton a brilliant policy-maker.

Rakove shakes off accepted notions of these men as godlike visionaries, focusing instead on the evolution of their ideas and the crystallising of their purpose. In Revolutionaries, we see the founders before they were fully formed leaders, as individuals whose lives were radically altered by the explosive events of the mid-1770s. They were ordinary men who became extraordinary — a transformation that finally has the literary treatment it deserves.

Spanning the two crucial decades of the country’s birth, from 1773 to 1792, Revolutionaries uses little-known stories of these famous (and not so famous) men to capture — in a way no single biography ever could — the intensely creative period of the republic’s founding. From the Boston Tea Party to the First Continental Congress, from Trenton to Valley Forge, from the ratification of the Constitution to the disputes that led to our two-party system, Rakove explores the competing views of politics, war, diplomacy and society that shaped our nation.

Thoughtful, clear-minded, and persuasive, Revolutionaries is a majestic blend of narrative and intellectual history, one of those rare books that makes us think afresh about how the country came to be, and why the idea of America endures.

 

The author

Jack Rakove, the William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies and a professor of political science at Stanford University, is one the most distinguished historians of the early American republic. He is the author of, among other books, Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1997. He frequently writes op-ed articles for the New York Times, the Washington Post and other major newspapers. He has been an expert witness in Indian land claims litigation and has testified in Congress on impeachment.


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