by Patrick Spero and Michael Zuckerman, editors
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016. Pp. x, 414.
Illus., figs., notes, biblio., index. $55.00. ISBN: 0812248465
New Perspective on Revolutionary America
Spero, Director of the American Philosophical Society, author of Frontier Country, and Prof. Zuckerman (Penn, emeritus) have collected more than a dozen papers that break new ground in our understanding of the American Revolution, most of which offer rather contrarian views to the accepted Patriot version of events, and are certainly thought-provoking. The essays fall into four categories.
“Civil Wars” includes five essays that focus on encounters between those who chose Toryism or those who just wanted to be left alone and the Patriots, including questions of accommodation and passivity under occupation.
“Wider Horizons”, with four essays, covers the consequences of the war in the American Colonies for the larger British community, such as the echoes of the revolution in distant imperial outposts or the problems generated by the revolution for the Anglican Church.
“New Directions” has three essays on unusual subjects or methodologies that throw new light on the events, relics – often grisly -- of the war on the frontier, the Patriots’ problem procuring saltpetre, and the war and slavery.
“Legacies,” the final section, includes three essays on some aspects of the results of the Revolution’s effects, its effect on trans-Atlantic migration, the beginnings of the North-South split on slavery, and America as a place to recreate oneself.
Several subjects come up more than once, such as slavery and the slave trade or religious organization and influences. The American Revolution Reborn, a volume in the Penn series “Early American Studies”, is an important work primarily for those seriously interested in the American revolution.
Note: The American Revolution Reborn is also available as an e-book, ISBN 978-0-8122-9318-0.