Directed Readings

As always, I want to thank the Horde for its guidance and input on my reading list. As a result of comments, I dropped Masters and Lords and picked up an old copy of C.V. Wedgewood's 30 Years War. It really is an exceptionally well-written book, rising to that McPherson level of historical synergy. 


One point she makes early is understanding the differences in political identity of the time. Being French may not have meant as much as being, say, Catholic. Or being Catholic may not have meant as much as being the vassal of Sir suchandsuch.

Again this is still about the Civil War. I'm coming to think of the thing as the radical actualizing of Enlightenment principles through steel. But to really understand that, I've had to understand how much of our political reality would have been new at that time. Individual rights, fealty before The nation-state, free labor etc. are modern ideas. And at the time of The Late Unpleasantness, they were still, relatively, untested. 

America was, in so many ways, an experiment.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

From This Author

Just In