A New Age Now Begins (Magill's Literary Annual 1977)
The American Revolution has a fair claim to being the single most important episode in American history; given this fact, the prospective student faces a strange neglect of the period by historians. It is hard to find any part of this nation’s past which is not the subject of an eminent historian’s general treatment at least once a decade. The Civil War, for example, has received at least half a dozen synthetic works in the past generation. If anything, the field is plagued by an overabundance of broad, introductory works. But to find a comprehensive history of the Revolutionary era, one must search back to the work of the English liberal George Otto Trevelyan, who published his four-volume series at the turn of the century. The absence of synthetic works is all the more surprising in this case, for the seventy years since Trevelyan’s contribution have witnessed a remarkable series of monographs and interpretive essays which have dramatically altered our understanding of the Revolution and its causes. The subject has provoked profound disagreement among scholars, but their debates have been fought in skirmishes which have steadily avoided the main field. As a result, many new layers of historical insight have failed to break out of the academic environment and penetrate the traditional textbook accounts of the Revolutionary War.
Page Smith’s massive account of the period is clearly an attempt to fill this gap. Although much of his work is...
(The entire section is 2124 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1977)
America. CXXXIV, May 1, 1976, p. 388.
Antioch Review. XXXIV, Summer, 1976, p. 495.
Christian Century. XCII, April 28, 1976, p. 421.
Journalism Quarterly. LIII, Summer, 1976, p. 368.
Nation. CCXXII, May 29, 1976, p. 664.
New York Times Book Review. February 22, 1976, p. 7.
Virginia Quarterly Review. LII, Autumn, 1976, p. 701.
(The entire section is 36 words.)