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What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 (Oxford History of the United States) Paperback – September 23, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Though Howe examines nearly every aspect of the period, politics dominate his coverage, which is understandable given his background as a political historian. The figure of Andrew Jackson looms large in these pages, yet Howe rejects any characterization of the era as "Jacksonian", arguing that the phrase glosses over his controversial and divisive nature. This controversy is reflected well within his account, as Howe is highly critical of Jackson (something that is somewhat predictable from the start given that his book is dedicated to the memory of John Quincy Adams), asserting that the seventh president demonstrated an authoritarian bent throughout his career. His arguments on this, as with so many other parts of the books, are convincing, and supported by an impressive command of the scholarship on the period. Nor is the author shy on asserting his own viewpoint in these debates, arguing that a "communications revolution" was more demonstrable than the "market revolution" seen by Charles Sellers and others, that the emergence of the market economy was not the negative development Sellers made it out to be, and that Jackson's campaigns were hardly the democracy-expanding force asserted by historians such as Sean Wilentz.Read more ›
Although he focuses largely on the achievements (or, in some cases the failures) of these men, he does not ignore society as a whole, nor does he ignore military endeavors, such as the Mexican War and the participants in that conflict.
All told, this is an excellent synthesis of the period. Professor Howe has demonstrated an extraordinary command of the secondary literature of the period, while incorporating many works of recent scholarship (especially the last 10 years). I was very impressed as I read the book with Howe's skillful weaving of a narrative loosely coupled by the theme of a communications revolution, which is much different than many other works pertaining to this period, which focus almost exclusively on the economic transformation that took place in this period.
I was equally impressed with Howe's command of the entire nation; unlike many books about this period, he did not sectionalize the book; by not focusing on just the Southern US, or just the Eastern seaboard, he allows the reader to understand the whole picture.
This is a worthy addition to any library of one who is intrigued by US History, even if that reader is not a 19th century specialist. I would even encourage professors to consider assigning this as a basic text (despite the fact that it is a rather lenghty tome at 860+ pages) for an upper level survey of Jacksonian America. It is a much appreciated addition to the Oxford History of the United States series.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great piece of history. A tad bias towards the Whig Party, though.Published 1 month ago by Abakereins
An excellent history. Beautifully written, thoroughly researched and thoughtfully organized. I stayed engaged through the entire book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lumberman
I found this book very interesting. This has informed me about a part of history not covered by many writersPublished 3 months ago by John D. Taft
The author, in his finale (p 853) states "History is made both from the bottom up and from the top down, and historians must take account of both in telling their stories. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book covers an amazing time in US history. The end of the Jefferson Virginian cohort and the beginning of a less aristocratic time. Read morePublished 4 months ago by AJ