Directed Readings

More

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.
Jump to comments

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.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Social Security: The Greatest Government Policy of All Time?

It's the most effective anti-poverty program in U.S. history. So why do some people hate it?


Elsewhere on the web

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

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

From This Author