Breen presents a provocative reinterpretation of the American Revolution as more of a grassroots movement of ordinary persons than is often presented. Beginning roughly two years before the 1776 Declaration of Independence, thousands of colonists—mostly farm families living in small communities—elected committees to channel their mounting fear, fury, and resentment into organized resistence. Fed up with the British Empire’s incessant demands for ever greater loyalty, obedience, and taxes—and, Breen emphasizes, motivated by their evangelical faith—they had resolved to fight well before their famous leaders made it official, according to Breen. Their tipping point was the Battle of Lexington and Concord of April 19, 1775, news of which spread effectively throughout the 13 colonies, thanks to established communications systems. Northwestern history professor Breen (The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence) writes compellingly, but, contrary to his repeated claims, his is hardly the first account to focus on grassroots rural rebels. Even Mel Gibson’s shlock movie The Patriot made the same basic point. Still, this is a valuable book by a distinguished scholar. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This perceptive history paints Mexico’s 1810–1821 struggle for independence as a dark, dejected affair, tainted by massacres, famine and crippling contradictions. Auburn University historian Henderson (A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and Its War with the United States) explores the difficulties facing successive Mexican insurrections against Spain’s heavy-handed, parasitic rule, including ill-equipped and untrained armies and a fractious, brutal, often incompetent leadership. But the main problem, he contends, was the social chasm between the white Creole elite who led the rebellion and the harshly exploited Indian and mixed-race masses who manned their armies. Revolutionaries envisioned a new liberal order, Henderson argues, but feared to stir up the social resentments of their troops, whose attachment to king and church trumped nationalist sentiment. The result was an incoherent revolution torn between progressive and reactionary impulses that bequeathed a tendency toward unstable or authoritarian government. Henderson’s concise, lucid narrative skillfully guides readers through these confused political currents while sketching vivid portraits of leaders like the rebel priests Hidalgo and Morelos. Henderson illuminates the fault lines in the Mexican nation through this trenchant study of its founding. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In this vivid and visceral work of historical fiction, two-time Booker Prize winner Peter Carey imagines the experiences of Alexis de Tocqueville, the great French political philosopher and author of Democracy in America. Carey brings de Tocqueville to life through the fictionalized character of Olivier de Garmont, a coddled and conceited French aristocrat. Olivier can only begin to grasp how the other half lives when forced to travel to the New World with John “Parrot” Larrit, a jaded survivor of lifelong hardship who can’t stand his young master who he is expected to spy on for the overprotective Maman Garmont back in Paris. Parrot and Olivier are a mid-nineteenth-century Oscar and Felix who represent the highest and lowest social registers of the Old World, yet find themselves unexpectedly pushed together in the New World. This odd couple’s stark differences in class and background, outlook and attitude—which are explored in alternating chapters narrated by each—are an ingenious conceit for presenting to contemporary readers the unique social experiment that was democracy in the early years of America.—Lauren Nemroff
This title offers authentic insights by a renowned Pakistani Journalist…into the Islamic nation’s plunge towards Talibanisation. ‘Amir Mir has earned fame for his investigative reporting and for facing odds during the Musharraf dictatorship. His latest book is a dramatic, authoritative account of the menace convulsing Pakistan and sending shock waves throughout the world. His extraordinary first-hand and second-hand reportage takes the reader into mountains and plains, to shanty towns and capitals to know the guerrilla fighters, militant religious leaders, and terrorists. No one has covered the terrorist attacks, including the one which killed a former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, as Mir does, detailing the origin and larger political and ethnic context in which they took place. The book should be required reading for the architects of Pakistan’s often disastrous foreign and domestic policies.
The book is essential reading for those interested in understanding contemporary Pakistan by a Pakistani living in the country, who has come under repeated pressure for his bold writings. This is not an opinion book, but an informative book, created by a Pakistani journalist to expose his country’s own establishment.
“No event in the twenty first century has had anywhere near the impact of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The 9/11 Encyclopedia is a complete and comprehensive two volume collection on the topic, covering each aspect of the tragedy and its aftermath, as thorough as can be seven years later. Remembering Flight 93, connections to the bombing in 1993, and explanations of conspiracy theories are all within volume one of the set. Volume two looks at Bin Laden's Jihad, and includes interviews with survivors of the attacks alongside people who conducted rescues. Many more issues covered in incredible depth in this expertly compiled, scholarly reference worthy of community and college library politics and reference collections”–Midwest Book Review