EXCELLENT HISTORY OF THE EARLY NATIONAL PERIOD Aug 30, 2012
I am a believer in reading works of history around the anniversary of a specific historical event. Subsequently, I read Gordon S. Wood's "Empire of Liberty" recently around the start of the War of 1812. This book is excellent and recommended without reservation (I could very easily say the same for several other works of Wood that I have read in graduate school and afterwards). The writing style and chapter formation is detailed for the serious American history student and fluid for the general reader especially those who are avid fans of the many recent biographies of of the Founding Fathers. Specifically, I write to the reader of US diplomatic and military history and find the chapters superb. The only criticism is maybe a bit of more military operational detail of the 1815 war with the Barbary States would be convenient, but this is a minor (maybe microscopic) point considering the richness of this work. I make a point for the advanced undergraduate and graduate students to read and enjoy this book for its sourcing - from primary documents to major topical mongraphs on specific subjects of the era to even an obscure MA thesis - letting the reader know you have selected the work of a historian who is leaving no stone unturned in pursuit of explaining a very turbulent era.