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.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

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

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

From This Author

Just In