US Intellectual History

Top 10 US Intellectual History : The Metaphysical Club, Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America, The Strange Career of Jim Crow, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, The Puritan Dilemma: The Story of John Winthrop, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln, Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention, May to September 1787, The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made

The Metaphysical Club
AuthorLouis Menand
The Metaphysical Club was an informal group that met in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1872, to talk about ideas. Its members included Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr, founder of modern jurisprudence; William James, the father of modern American psychology; and Charles Sanders Peirce, logician, scientist...
Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America
AuthorGarry Wills
In a masterly work, Garry Wills shows how Lincoln reached back to the Declaration of Independence to write the greatest speech in the nation’s history.

The power of words has rarely been given a more compelling demonstration than in the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln was asked to memorialize...
The Strange Career of Jim Crow
AuthorC. Vann Woodward
C. Vann Woodward, who died in 1999 at the age of 91, was America's most eminent Southern historian, the winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Mary Chestnut's Civil War and a Bancroft Prize for The Origins of the New South. Now, to honor his long and truly distinguished career, Oxford is pleased to publish this...
AuthorGordon S. Wood
In a grand and immemsely readable synthesis of historical, political, cultural, and economic analysis, a prize-winning historian describes the events that made the American Revolution. Gordon S. Wood depicts a revolution that was about much more than a break from England, rather it transformed...
AuthorEdmund S. Morgan
Caught between the ideals of God's Law and the practical needs of the people, John Winthrop walked a line few could tread. In every aspect of our society today we see the workings of the tension between individual freedom and the demands of authority. Here is the story of the people that brought this idea...
AuthorCharles A. Beard
In this famous study, the author turned the hagiography of many earlier American historians on its head. Unlike those writers, who had stressed idealistic impulses as factors determining the structure of the American government, Beard questioned the Founding Fathers' motivations in drafting...
AuthorSean Wilentz
In this magisterial work, Sean Wilentz traces a historical arc from the earliest days of the republic to the opening shots of the Civil War. One of our finest writers of history, Wilentz brings to life the era after the American Revolution, when the idea of democracy remained contentious, and Jeffersonians...
AuthorCatherine Drinker Bowen
A classic history of the Federal Convention at Philadelphia in 1787, the stormy, dramatic session that produced the most enduring of political documents: the Constitution of the United States.
From Catherine Drinker Bowen, noted American biographer and National Book Award winner, comes the...
AuthorPerry Miller
The biographical summary of Miller is interesting. A man who got his PhD in an era where 1 year of undergrad work, followed by three years of grad work after a hiatus traveling the world, could quite directly land tenure at Harvard. One thinks of Miller as a tweedy Harvard professor in the "consensus" era...
AuthorEugene D. Genovese
A fascinating, but vitally flawed, book, Roll, Jordan, Roll, is part Marxist-leaning polemic and part well-woven narratives of the slave experience in colonial and antebellum America. At just over 800 pages, Genovese's opus has become a classic in the field for its amazing scope and wide-ranging...
AuthorT.J. Jackson Lears
T. J. Jackson Lears draws on a wealth of primary sources — sermons, diaries, letters — as well as novels, poems, and essays to explore the origins of turn-of-the-century American antimodernism. He examines the retreat to the exotic, the pursuit of intense physical or spiritual experiences, and...
The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind
AuthorMark A. Noll
"The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind." So begins this award-winning intellectual history and critique of the evangelical movement by one of evangelicalism's most respected historians.

Unsparing in his judgment, Mark Noll ask why the largest...
W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919
AuthorDavid Levering Lewis
This is a biography that actually merits the “magisterial” among its blurbs, the kind of book that shows biography second only to the novel for difficulty of organization and effect. As epigraph to the first of the five volumes he would devote to the life of Henry James, Leon Edel quoted a line from...
That Noble Dream: The "Objectivity Question" and the American Historical Profession
AuthorPeter Novick
The aspiration to relate the past "as it really happened" has been the central goal of American professional historians since the late 19th century. In this remarkable history of the profession, Peter Novick shows how the idea and ideal of objectivity were elaborated, challenged, modified, and defended...
AuthorDaniel T. Rodgers
On a narrative canvas that sweeps across Europe and the United States, Daniel T. Rodgers retells the story of the classic era of efforts to repair the damage of unbridled capitalism. He reveals the forgotten international roots of such innovations as city planning, rural cooperatives, modernist...
AuthorCornel West
Taking Emerson as his starting point, West’s basic task in this enterprise is to chart the emergence, development, decline & recent resurgence of American pragmatism. Dewey is the central figure in this pantheon of pragmatists, but he treats as well such varied mid-century representatives...
American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation
AuthorJon Meacham
The American Gospel-literally, the good news about America-is that religion shapes our public life without controlling it. In this vivid book, New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham tells the human story of how the Founding Fathers viewed faith, and how they ultimately created a nation in...
The Declaration of Independence
AuthorThomas Jefferson

My first thoughts, on the morning of July 4, 2017.

Put aside slavery and hypocrisy—if you can—for a moment, and read the first paragraph (71 words, 405 characters): When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected...
The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin
AuthorGordon S. Wood
From the most respected chronicler of the early days of the Republic and winner of both the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes comes a landmark work that rescues Benjamin Franklin from a mythology that has blinded generations of Americans to the man he really was and makes sense of aspects of his life and career...
The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual: A Historical Analysis of the Failure of Black Leadership
AuthorHarold Cruse
Published in 1967, as the early triumphs of the Civil Rights movement yielded to increasing frustration and violence, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual electrified a generation of activists and intellectuals. The product of a lifetime of struggle and reflection, Cruse's book is a singular amalgam...
AuthorDavid Levering Lewis
I checked the second volume of Lewis' DuBois biography out of the library right after finishing the first volume which I think is a testament to the excellence of the author's work. Volume II was much harder to make my way through, which is not due to any fault of Lewis. In the second volume you could feel...
The Liberal Tradition in America
AuthorLouis Hartz
The uniqueness of the American political experience is that, lacking an ancien régime, we never had a social revolution, says Hartz, following de Tocqueville; we were "born equal." (I know, forget about slavery.) Unlike in Europe, there was no old structure for Americans to rebel against and destroy....
AuthorLawrence W. Levine
In this wide-ranging study, spanning more than a century & covering such diverse forms of expressive culture as Shakespeare, Central Park, symphonies, jazz, art museums, the Marx Brothers, opera & vaudeville, America's leading cultural historian demonstrates how variable & dynamic...
The Federalist Papers
AuthorAlexander Hamilton
Hailed by Thomas Jefferson as “the best commentary on the principles of government which was ever written", The Federalist Papers is a collection of eighty-five essays published by Founding Fathers Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay from 1787 to 1788, as a means to persuade the public...
The Origins of American Politics
AuthorBernard Bailyn
The Charles K. Colver Lectures, Brown University 1965.
"An astonishing range of reading in contemporary tracts and modern authorities is manifest, and many aspects of British and colonial affairs are illuminated. As a political analysis this very important contribution will be hard to refute...."
AuthorGail Bederman
When former heavyweight champion Jim Jeffries came out of retirement on the fourth of July, 1910 to fight current black heavywight champion Jack Johnson in Reno, Nevada, he boasted that he was doing it "for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a negro." Jeffries, though, was trounced....
Democracy in America
AuthorAlexis de Tocqueville
Democracy in America has had the singular honor of being even to this day the work that political commentators of every stripe refer to when they seek to draw large conclusions about the society of the USA. Alexis de Tocqueville, a young French aristocrat, came to the young nation to investigate the functioning...
AuthorEdmund Wilson
Patriotic Gore (1962) is the big book of Wilson’s final decade and in the dust jacket photo he looks just the toothless, growling old cuss one meets in “The Critic in Winter,” Updike’s worthwhile review of the late journals. Wilson spent his last summers in a decaying corner of Upstate New York,...
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
AuthorIbram X. Kendi
Americans like to insist that they are living in a post-racial, color-blind society. In fact, racist thought is alive and well; it has simply become more sophisticated and more insidious. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, racist ideas in America have...
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
AuthorDoris Kearns Goodwin
Winner of the Lincoln Prize

Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.

AuthorRoderick Nash
Roderick Nash's classic study of America's changing attitudes toward wilderness has received wide acclaim since its initial publication in 1967. The Los Angeles Times has listed it among the one hundred most influential books published in the last quarter century, Outside Magazine has included...
AuthorSusanne K. Langer
Modern theories of meaning usually culminate in a critique of science. This book presents a study of human intelligence beginning with a semantic theory and leading into a critique of music. By implication it sets up a theory of all the arts; the transference of its basic concepts to other arts than music...
AuthorChristopher Lasch
Can we continue to believe in progress? In this sobering analysis of the Western human condition, Christopher Lasch seeks the answer in a history of the struggle between two ideas: one is the idea of progress - an idea driven by the conviction that human desire is insatiable and requires ever larger production...
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