My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I greatly enjoyed Howe's history and learned a lot, mostly details of topics I only had surface knowledge of, such as the Mexican War.
I'm very intrigued by his overall interpretation of the period. The heroes are John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay, standing for a vision of America that challenged the white supremacy of the Jacksonian Democrats. He feels that Abraham Lincoln fulfilled the Adams-Clay vision for America and that that vision ultimately triumphed over the other. He closes with Seneca Falls as the 1848 event that most heralded America's (and the globe's) future.
Which is interesting to read now, more than a decade after he published the book. For Jacksonian populist nationalist white supremacy has reared its ugly head. Is the great history of America a battle between Jacksonian Democrats (now the GOP) and Whigs?
His treatment of religion is very well done and one of the reasons the book was on my list.
The closing chapter, centered on Seneca Falls, never mentions Sojourner Truth, which I found both odd and deeply disturbing. Especially because Sojourner Truth was one of the characters introduced early in the book, so I assumed it would circle back around to her once I realized the great women's rights covention was the closing scene. In a rather exhaustive tome, it is a noticeable absence that mars the whole.
View all my reviews