Saturday, July 25, 2015

History According to Jim, Vol. 1, No. 11

The Oxford History of the United States

     Once upon a time two historians had the idea for a multi-volume history of the United States which would in their words, provide a summary of the political, social, and cultural history of the nation for a general audience. Those two historians were C. Vann Woodward and Richard Hofstadter and the time was the 1950s. Obviously, a bit of water has passed under the bridge. These two titans of history never got around to writing a volume for the planned series, but eventually the concept did bear fruit.

     Several historians were connected to the series at one time or another, but none of the original historians wrote a book for the series. Instead, they wrote books which were good, but not in keeping with the scope of the series. In addition, the field of history itself changed in the 1960s as several subfields were firmly established as having serious validity in the grand scheme of history which wrought a major upheaval in the historical profession itself. Finally, in 1982, the first volume to see print as part of the series was published. This was Robert Middlekauff's The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789.

     The original hardcover edition of this book contained a projected outline for the series on the rear dust jacket flap that showed eleven volumes for the set and listed the authors. Of those listed, only three were actually published as part of the set. These were over the Civil War, the New Deal era and WWII, and the Early Republic era. The rest of the list failed to be produced by the original authors although one volume on the Jackson era was written, but excluded due to the excessive focus on economics.
    C. Vann Woodward was the original editor of the series until his death in 1999. David Kennedy  took over the editorship of the series after that. As of today, eight volumes have been published for the series with four more in the works. The series has met with great success since the first volume was published. I have all of the eight published works at the moment and have found them to be quite useful in developing my survey and film classes. I am looking forward to the publication of the remaining four volumes which are supposed to be done by 2017, but I'm not holding my breath.

     For historians looking for a series on the history of the US, this is a great series. The authors are first rate. Their research is outstanding. Events are covered in good detail and if you want more information the notes with the sources are readily available to work from. I have used them extensively in my own research and found them to be a great starting point to build on. They are my go to books when I am looking for information on the grand scheme of events.

    This is list taken from Wikipedia showing the 12 volumes, their release dates, and awards earned. 

Volume Author Title Release date Pages ISBN Awards
1 Peter Mancall American Origins 2017 TBA TBA
2 Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton Imperial America, 1674–1763 2016 TBA TBA
3 Robert Middlekauff The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789 1982; 2005 (2nd ed.) 760 978-0195162479 Nominated for 1983 Pulitzer Prize for History
4 Gordon S. Wood Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 2009 800 978-0195039146 Nominated for 2010 Pulitzer Prize for History
5 Daniel Walker Howe What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 2007 928 978-0195078947 Won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for History
6 James M. McPherson Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era 1988 904 978-0195038637 Won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for History
7 Richard White The Long Crisis 2016 TBA TBA
8 Bruce Schulman Reawakened Nation: The Birth of Modern America, 1896–1929 unknown TBA 978-0195156362
9 David M. Kennedy Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945 1999 990 978-0195038347
Won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for History
10 James T. Patterson Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974
1996 880 978-0195076806 Won the 1997 Bancroft Prize
11 James T. Patterson Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush v. Gore 2005 448 978-0195122169
12 George Herring From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations Since 1776 2008 1056 978-0195078220 Nominated for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award

No comments:

Post a Comment