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Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860: An Abridged Edition of Conjectures of Order Hardcover – Abridged, June 1, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review

A beautifully written and persuasive intellectual history. . . . Michael O'Brien deserves the highest praise for making this rich intellectual history accessible to a higher audience.--Florida Historical Quarterly

A rare work, deeply researched, sympathetically written, and critically engaged both in its subject and in its own moment in the field.--Virginia Quarterly Review

Provides the most ambitious, sophisticated, and detailed intellectual history of the Old South yet written. Its scale and scope are astonishing, its analysis illuminating, and its prose graceful.--Journal of the Early Republic

O'Brien succinctly and fluidly surveys the lives and works of many significant Southern intellectuals. . . . He offers a new understanding of the South by describing a place neither monolithic nor out of touch, but conflicted, mobile, and ambitious to integrate modern intellectual developments into its tense and idiosyncratic social experience.--McCormick Messenger

Tightly argued, well written, and well documented. . . . With skillful acknowledgment of the intellectual ties to the transatlantic world, O'Brien manages to document the intellectual life of the region even as he shows how regional writers and thinkers helped give meaning to the South. . . . Should have a place in the libraries of all who would understand the prewar South. . . . Highly recommended.--Choice

An astonishing book. Beautifully written and meticulously researched, it chronicles the lives, thoughts, and varying fortunes of intellectuals in the Old South from early in the nineteenth century up to the Civil War. . . . Michael O'Brien addresses not only what rendered Southern thinking distinctive, but the entire tapestry of intellectual life as it was conducted in the Old South.--Times Literary Supplement

[O'Brien's] narrative [has] the density of experience and the sense of individuals swept up by change more usually found in great fiction than in even the best histories. [A] magisterial work of investigation and recovery. . . . From this point forward, it will be impossible to write about any aspect of antebellum intellectual life without reference to it.--American Scholar

A deeply impressive effort. It will stand as one of the most important books in antebellum Southern intellectual life for a long time.--Civil War History

A great achievement. It is hard to imagine anyone matching it for depth, scope and subtlety of analysis as a whole or in its parts.--Journal of American Studies

About the Author

Michael O'Brien is professor of American intellectual history at the University of Cambridge, a fellow of Jesus College, and a fellow of the British Academy. He is author or editor of several books on Southern intellectual history and, most recently, of Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; Abridged edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807834009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807834008
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,493,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael O'Brien (b. 1948) is Professor of American Intellectual History at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of the British Academy, and a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He has written widely on the history of American intellectual culture. His book, CONJECTURES OF ORDER (2004) won the Bancroft Prize and was a Nominated Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History and his MRS. ADAMS IN WINTER (2010) was a Nominated Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography and Autobiography.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. E. Mynchenberg on July 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book helps you appreciate the variety of opinions in the South on a lot of different issues. Not an easy read, but a rewarding one, if you are interested in the topic. Michael O'Brien is a fine writer, which helps to make the book readable rather than dense.
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Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860: An Abridged Edition of Conjectures of Order
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