A powerful reinterpretation of the founding of America, by a Pulitzer Prize -- winning historian "The creation of the United States of America is the central event of the past four hundred years," declares Walter McDougall in his preface to Freedom Just Around the Corner. With this statement begins McDougall's most ambitious, original, and uncompromising of histories. McDougall marshals the latest scholarship and writes in a style redolent of passion, pathos, and humor in pursuit of truths often obscured in books burdened with political slants.
From the origins of English expansion under Henry VIII to the founding of the United States to the rollicking election of President Andrew Jackson, McDougall rescues from myth or oblivion the brave, brilliant, and flawed people who made America great: women and men, native-born and immigrant; German, Latin, African, and British; as well as farmers, engineers, planters, merchants; Protestants, Freemasons, Catholics, and Jews; and -- last but not least -- the American scofflaws, speculators, rogues, and demagogues.
With an insightful approach to the nearly 250 years spanning America's beginnings, McDougall offers his readers an understanding of the uniqueness of the "American character" and how it has shaped the wide-ranging course of historical events. McDougall explains that Americans have always been in a unique position of enjoying "more opportunity to pursue their ambitions...than any other people in history." Throughout Freedom Just Around the Corner the character of the American people shines, a character built out of a freedom to indulge in the whole panoply of human behavior. The genius behind the success of the United States is founded on the complex, irrepressible American spirit.
A grand narrative rich with new details and insights about colonial and early national history, Freedom Just Around the Corner is the first installment of a trilogy that will eventually bring the story of America up to the present day -- story as epic, bemusing, and brooding as Bob Dylan's "Jokerman," the ballad that inspires its titles.
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Walter A. McDougall is professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of many books, including the Pulitzer Prize winning . . . the Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age and Let the Sea Make a Noise. . . : A History of the North Pacific from Magellan to MacArthur. He lives in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
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