A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, Apr 4, 2003 - Political Science - 576 pages
16 Reviews
It was an age of fascinating leaders and difficult choices, of grand ideas eloquently expressed and of epic conflicts bitterly fought. Now comes a brilliant portrait of the American Revolution, one that is compelling in its prose, fascinating in its details, and provocative in its fresh interpretations. In A Leap in the Dark, John Ferling offers a magisterial new history that surges from the first rumblings of colonial protest to the volcanic election of 1800. Ferling's swift-moving narrative teems with fascinating details. We see Benjamin Franklin trying to decide if his loyalty was to Great Britain or to America, and we meet George Washington when he was a shrewd planter-businessman who discovered personal economic advantages to American independence. We encounter those who supported the war against Great Britain in 1776, but opposed independence because it was a "leap in the dark." Following the war, we hear talk in the North of secession from the United States. The author offers a gripping account of the most dramatic events of our history, showing just how closely fought were the struggle for independence, the adoption of the Constitution, and the later battle between Federalists and Democratic-Republicans. Yet, without slowing the flow of events, he has also produced a landmark study of leadership and ideas. Here is all the erratic brilliance of Hamilton and Jefferson battling to shape the new nation, and here too is the passion and political shrewdness of revolutionaries, such as Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry, and their Loyalist counterparts, Joseph Galloway and Thomas Hutchinson. Here as well are activists who are not so well known today, men like Abraham Yates, who battled for democratic change, and Theodore Sedgwick, who fought to preserve the political and social system of the colonial past. Ferling shows that throughout this period the epic political battles often resembled today's politics and the politicians--the founders--played a political hardball attendant with enmities, selfish motivations, and bitterness. The political stakes, this book demonstrates, were extraordinary: first to secure independence, then to determine the meaning of the American Revolution. John Ferling has shown himself to be an insightful historian of our Revolution, and an unusually skillful writer. A Leap in the Dark is his masterpiece, work that provokes, enlightens, and entertains in full measure.
  

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Review: A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic

User Review  - Andy - Goodreads

Fantastically brilliant historical account of the early days of the USA. It is surprisingly contemporary-feeling in its approach, focusing on the shifting debates of the time, and some of the personal ... Read full review

Review: A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic

User Review  - Anna - Goodreads

*sticks tongue out at book* Haha I finished you. I did not like how Ferling would explain an event then go all the way back and explain a person's involvement in it. Very much a political history of the US. Read full review

Contents

1 17541763 Join or Die
1
2 17631766 A Loss of Respect and Affection
23
3 17661770 To Crush the Spirit of the Colonies
53
4 17701774 The Cause of Boston Now Is the Cause of America
87
5 17751776 To Die Freemen Rather Than to Live Slaves
123
6 17761777 A Leap Into the Dark
167
7 17781782 This Wilderness of Darkness Dangers
209
8 17831787 The Present Paroxysm of Our Affairs
247
10 17901793 Prosperous at Home Respectable Abroad
315
11 17931796 A Colossus to the Antirepublican Party
355
12 17971799 A Game Where Principles Are the Stake
405
13 17991801 The Gigg Is Up
451
14 1801 An Age of Revolution and Reformation
477
Abbreviations
489
Notes
493
Index
539

9 17871789 So Much Unanimity and Good Will
281

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About the author (2003)

John Ferling is a Professor of History at the State University of West Georgia. A familiar face in history documentaries on television, he has written numerous books, including John Adams: A Life, The First of Men: A Life of George Washington, and Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, Adams, and Jefferson in the American Revolution.

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