Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas at Mount Vernon

How did George and Martha Washington observe the Christmas season? Check out this informative video from the folks at Mount Vernon...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Christmas 2010 Gift Ideas: New Books on the American Revolution Period

Do you have a history buff or two on your Christmas gift list? There are several new books on the American Revolution available for this Christmas season (or, for those politically correct..."holiday season"). While I have not been able to review all of these books, here are some that look very interesting...
  • Robert Morris: Financier of The American Revolution -- Would the American cause have been triumphant in the Revolutionary War, were it not for the innovative, financial machinations of Robert Morris? Though he is one of the "forgotten Founders" today, he was certainly not "forgotten" in his day. A close friend of George Washington, Morris made things happen money-wise for the Continental cause. This new biography by Charles Rappleye is the first comprehensive, full-length treatment of Morris, and looks very interesting. I have a copy myself and plan to read it over this Christmas season.
  • Lion of Liberty: Patrick Henry And The Call to a New Nation -- The patriot leader who "smelt a rat" in Philadelphia and therefore refused to attend the Constitutional Convention has, in the years since 1787, slipped into the second tier of America's Founders. Though he's been overshadowed in the history books, Henry was larger than life during his time period. As biographer Harlow Giles Unger reminds us, Henry was among the first to call Americans to arms against Britain and also to call for a national bill of rights, when ratification of the new Constitution (and a strong central government) became increasingly inevitable. 
  • Ratification: The People Debate The Constitution, 1787-88 -- Historian Pauline Maier examines not simply the Federalist Founders who crafted the Constitution and defended it in such well-studied tomes as The Federalist, but rather looks carefully at the ratification debates which ranged across the young United States. Maier looks at the battles which took place at the state and local level, and thus highlights one of the most important dramas in early American history. 
  • Valley Forge: A Novel -- Historical novelists Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen tackle the most famous winter camp in U.S. history. In the spirit of Michael Shaara and his son, Jeff Shaara, Gingrich and Forstchen take readers into the middle of history, rather than just telling them about it. If this novelization is as good as To Try Men's Souls (their novelized, but factually accurate take on the Battle of Trenton)it's worth your time. 
Happy Reading and Merry Christmas!