Rakove and “Revolutionaries” at Kepler’s tonight!


Jack Rakove‘s new book Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America, also got a review at the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday — it’s here.

“Rakove shows us how these legendary figures were a bundle of results as well as forceful agents of history. They were made by the Revolution, he keeps reminding his readers, not just the makers of it. Too often, books about these men, taken together or presented individually, render them larger than life, and abstract them out of the dense social, cultural and political matrix that defined their opportunities and their challenges. Rakove manages to demystify the leaders of the Revolutionary era even while clarifying the terms on which they continue to deserve our admiration.  …

What makes this conclusion so important is its defiance of a common pathology in our thinking about our national origins. We too often treat the Founding Fathers as having set us upon a highly specific political course that it is our mission to follow as closely as possible, no matter how much the times change. Rather, we need to think our way through our own dilemmas, within the broad and flexible constitutional framework we owe to Rakove’s revolutionaries. We must not expect Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson to do our thinking for us. That we should do for ourselves.”

However, you can bypass persuasive endorsements altogether and see for yourself:  Rakove will be appearing tonight at Kepler’s — and presumably providing citations from his own book.  (There’s also an Amazon Q&A here.)

That’s at 7.30 p.m. tonight.

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