In The Idea of America, Professor Wood presents a series of eleven different essays he authored over a period of approximately forty-five years. These essays, which provide the headings for eleven separate chapters, discuss the American Revolution (Part I), The Making of the Constitution and American Democracy (Part II), and The Early Republic (Part III). Also included is an exceptionally cogent and remarkably insightful conclusion recently authored by Wood.
Essentially, the book considers and examines historical scholarship concerning the Revolution, the Constitution,and the Early Republic. Professor Wood provides succinct summaries of the various theories historians have ascribed to the American Revolution, the Making of the Constitution, and growth of the Early American Republic. While scholarly and seemingly written for academics, the essays are generally accessible for the lay reader; although some may be a bit technical and overly analytical. All of the essays, notwithstanding, are extraordinarily interesting, thoughtful, and intellectually stimulating. In addition, Professor Wood's conclusion is simply outstanding. In the conclusion, he gives a wonderful description of what the American Revolution meant and then narratively traces its evolution from inception through modern events. This book provides an amazing glimpse into the thoughts and ideas of the Revolutionary generation. It also compares the United States' republican experience with that of the rest of the World. An outstanding, remarkable, and intellectual look at the ideas which make the America Republic uniquely great. Without question, this is precisely the kind of work that has made Professor Wood a legendary academic!