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The American Revolution was far from inevitable, argues Bailyn, Harvard professor and Pulitizer Prize-winning historian ( Voyagers to the West ), who contends that ideological passion and human will tipped the scales in favor of revolt. Hastening the rupture were John Adams's conviction that British policies were evil and bankrupt Quaker corset-maker Tom Paine's aggressive attack on those who feared severing ties with Mother England. In the book's eight masterful biographical sketches, we also meet Thomas Jefferson, shedding his "deep conventionality" for pragmatic political decision-making, and Boston shopkeeper Harbottle Dorr, compiler of a massive, annotated dossier of newspapers and pamphlets. Four thematic essays highlight the antifederalist challenge to the Constitution and the reactionary muddle in Britain whose "every major institution was inadequate to its task." History Book Club alternate.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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ISBN-10:  0679736239
ISBN-13:  978-0679736233
Author:  Bernard Bailyn
Publisher:  Vintage
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review by . October 11, 2001
'All history is biography,' the saying goes, and while that may or may not be true in the absolute, it's certainly true that the best way to understand how 'movements' and 'forces' affect history is by studying the lives of the individuals who shape, and are shaped by, them.Bernard Bailyn is one of our leading historians (maybe THE leading historian) on the American Revolution. His classic 'Ideological Origins of the American Revolution' casts a huge shadow, not least over this small but valuable …
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