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Daniel Walker Howe, "What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 (Oxford History of the United States)"
Oxford University Press | 2007 | ISBN: 0195078942 | siPDF | 928 pages | 19.6 MB
Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for History
The Oxford History of the United States is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. The series includes three Pulitzer Prize winners, a New York Times bestseller, and winners of the Bancroft and Parkman Prizes. Now, in What Hath God Wrought, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expanded to the Pacific and won control over the richest part of the North American continent.
Howe's panoramic narrative portrays revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated the extension of the American empire. Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the spread of information. These innovations prompted the emergence of mass political parties and stimulated America's economic development from an overwhelmingly rural country to a diversified economy in which commerce and industry took their place alongside agriculture. In his story, the author weaves together political and military events with social, economic, and cultural history. He examines the rise of Andrew Jackson and his Democratic party, but contends that John Quincy Adams and other Whigs--advocates of public education and economic integration, defenders of the rights of Indians, women, and African-Americans--were the true prophets of America's future. He reveals the power of religion to shape many aspects of American life during this period, including slavery and antislavery, women's rights and other reform movements, politics, education, and literature. Howe's story of American expansion culminates in the bitterly controversial but brilliantly executed war waged against Mexico to gain California and Texas for the United States.
By 1848 America had been transformed. What Hath God Wrought provides a monumental narrative of this formative period in United States history.
From Publishers Weekly
In the latest installment in the Oxford History of the United States series, historian Howe, professor emeritus at Oxford University and UCLA (The Political Culture of the American Whigs), stylishly narrates a crucial period in U.S. history—a time of territorial growth, religious revival, booming industrialization, a recalibrating of American democracy and the rise of nationalist sentiment. Smaller but no less important stories run through the account: New York's gradual emancipation of slaves; the growth of higher education; the rise of the temperance movement (all classes, even ministers, imbibed heavily, Howe says). Howe also charts developments in literature, focusing not just on Thoreau and Poe but on such forgotten writers as William Gilmore Simms of South Carolina, who helped create the romantic image of the Old South, but whose proslavery views eventually brought his work into disrepute. Howe dodges some of the shibboleths of historical literature, for example, refusing to describe these decades as representing a market revolution because a market economy already existed in 18th-century America. Supported by engaging prose, Howe's achievement will surely be seen as one of the most outstanding syntheses of U.S. history published this decade. 30 photos, 6 maps.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Both academics and lay readers praised What Hath God Wrought, but they appreciated it for different reasons. It is certainly an exhaustively researched and well-written historical survey—exactly what a volume in the Oxford History Series ought to be. American historians admired its elegant synthesis but also understood that Howe is attempting to lead his readers and colleagues away from the strictly economic explanations that have often dominated writing on this period. Historian Jill Lepore, for example, thought that the change in perspective helps Howe subtly explain many aspects of the period, such as the women’s rights movement. Only historian Glenn C. Altschuler believed that Howe has some "axioms to grind" in his reworking of so-called Jacksonian Democracy. Howe’s approach also brings nonacademic readers back into the conversation, though at over 900 pages, the book is probably best suited for history buffs.
Tags: USHistory, WorldPolitics, TOHOTUS