Virginia Reconsidered: New Histories of the Old Dominion

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Kevin R. Hardwick, Warren R. Hofstra
University of Virginia Press, 2003 - History - 459 pages
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In their introduction to Virginia Reconsidered, Kevin Hardwick and Warren Hofstra note that "Virginia’s history is powerfully situated, in both the popular and the scholarly imagination." Even recalling only a handful of the many memorable figures and events of Virginia history—George Washington, Stonewall Jackson, Patrick Henry’s declamation at St. John’s Church—it is difficult to disagree. But Virginia Reconsidered,a richly diverse and innovative collection of pioneering essays, goes beyond simply recounting the exploits of famous figures or the major turning points in the state’s history. Probing deep currents of historical change and the revealing experiences of lesser-known Virginians, the fourteen essays offer teachers and general readers a fuller approach to Virginia’s history, one that gives important context to the state’s disparate people and events. Darrett B. and Anita H. Rutman’s essay on seventeenth-century Middlesex County, for example, details the decades-long effort of men like Arthur Nash to buy land and the struggle of subsequent generations to make the land into viable farms. This essay provides both a tale of economic independence and a history of early Virginia land development in miniature. Woody Holton explores the aspirations of enslaved Virginians during the revolutionary crisis, and demonstrates the connections between their hopes and actions and the decision of Virginia’s planters to declare independence from Great Britain. Essays like Holton’s investigate the fascinating but forgotten corners of Virginia history that are indeed its true foundation

o Stephen V. Ash, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

o Fred Arthur Bailey, Abilene Christian University

o Thomas E. Buckley, S.J., Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley/ Graduate Theological Union

o Gregory Michael Dorr, University of Alabama

o J. Frederick Fausz, University of Missouri, St. Louis

o Elna C. Green, Florida State University

o Jack P. Greene, Johns Hopkins University

o Kevin R. Hardwick, James Madison University

o Warren R. Hofstra, Shenandoah University

o Woody Holton, University of Richmond

o Deborah A. Lee, George Mason University

o Jan Lewis, Rutgers University, Newark

o Edmund S. Morgan, Yale University, Emeritus

o the late Anita H. Rutman

o the late Darrett B. Rutman

o J. Douglas Smith, Occidental College

o Elizabeth R. Varon, Wellesley College

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About the author (2003)

Kevin R. Hardwick, Assistant Professor of History at James Madison University, teaches the history of British colonial America and Virginia history. Warren R. Hofstra, Stewart Bell Professor of History and director of the Community History Project at Shenandoah University, is the author of A Separate Place: The Formation of Clarke County, Virginia, editor of George Washington and the Virginia Backcountry, and coeditor of After the Backcountry: Rural Life in the Great Valley of Virginia, 1800–1900.

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