Oxford History of the United States

Oxford History of the United States

The Oxford History of the United States (1982–present) is an ongoing multi-volume narrative history of the United States published by Oxford University Press.

Contents

Woodward editorship

Cover of the 2nd edition of The Glorious Cause

The series originated with a plan laid out by historians C. Vann Woodward and Richard Hofstadter for a multi-volume history of the United States, one that would provide a summary of the political, social, and cultural history of the nation for a general audience. The project proved to be more challenging than initially envisioned, however. New fields of historical study emerged in the 1960s, and personal issues intervened for some of the authors. Among the historians connected with the series at one time or another were Willie Lee Rose, Morton Keller, John Lewis Gaddis, Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick. Though some of these historians completed books as a result of their respective assignments, none of them was published as part of the series.[1]

The first volume published in the series, Robert Middlekauff's The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789, finally was released in 1982 (ISBN 0-19-502921-6). Included on the rear dust jacket flap to the original hardcover edition was a projected outline for the series at that point:

  • Volume 1: Colonial America by T. H. Breen
  • Volume 2: The Glorious Cause by Robert Middlekauff
  • Volume 3: Early National America, 1789–1815 by Gordon S. Wood
  • Volume 4: Jacksonian America, 1815–1846 by Charles Grier Sellers
  • Volume 5: The Civil War by James M. McPherson
  • Volume 6: Reconstruction and Industrial America by George M. Fredrickson
  • Volume 7: Early 20th Century America, 1900–1930 by William H. Harbaugh
  • Volume 8: The New Deal, 1930–1945 by David M. Kennedy
  • Volume 9: Postwar America, 1945–1968 by William E. Leuchtenburg
  • Volume 10: The American Economy by Stuart Bruchey
  • Volume 11: American Diplomacy by Norman A. Graebner

McPherson's volume on the Civil War and its causes was subsequently published in 1988 as Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. Two more volumes followed under Woodward's editorship. Volume 10, Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974 by James T. Patterson, was published in 1997, while Volume 9, David Kennedy's Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945, was published in 1999. Sellers's contribution was published separately from the series in 1991 as The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815–1846 (ISBN 0-19-503889-4), supposedly for its excessive focus on the economics of the era, and the volume reassigned to another historian.

Kennedy editorship

After Woodward's death in 1999, David Kennedy assumed the editorship of the series. Since the start of his tenure, in addition to the revised edition of Middlekauf's book, four more volumes have appeared: Volume 11, Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush v. Gore by James T. Patterson, which was published in 2005 (ISBN 0-19-512216-X), Volume 5, Daniel Walker Howe's What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 (ISBN 0-19-507894-2), which was released in 2007, Volume 12, From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776 (ISBN 0-19-507822-5) by George C. Herring, published in October 2008, and Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (ISBN 978-0195039146) by Gordon S. Wood, published in September 2009.

Volumes

Published volumes

At this time, the following volumes have already been published (in publication order):

  • Volume 3: Robert Middlekauff, The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789 (1982; 2nd ed., 2005)
  • Volume 6: James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (1988)
  • Volume 10: James T. Patterson, Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974 (1996)
  • Volume 9: David M. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945 (1999)
  • Volume 11: James T. Patterson, Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush v. Gore (2005)
  • Volume 5: Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 (2007)
  • Volume 12: George Herring, From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776 (2008)
  • Volume 4: Gordon S. Wood, Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)

A volume written by H. W. Brands covering Gilded Age America — Leviathan: America Comes of Age, 1865–1900 — was also to be published as part of the series, but was withdrawn in 2006[2] and published outside the Oxford History series in October 2010 as American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900.

Volume 9 was also published in 2003 as two smaller volumes:

Volumes to be published

The following volumes are currently in progress:

  • Volume 1: Peter Mancall covering the discovery and colonization of America
  • Volume 2: Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton, Imperial America, 1674–1764 (publication expected in 2013)
  • Volume 7: Richard White, The Long Crisis, covering Reconstruction, the rise of industry, and the development of the West[3]
  • Volume 8: Bruce Schulman, Reawakened Nation: The Birth of Modern America, 1896–1929 [4]

Complete listing

Volume Author Title Release date Pages ISBN
Volume 1 Peter Mancall American Origins TBA TBA TBA
Volume 2 Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton Imperial America, 1674–1764 2013 (projected) TBA TBA
Volume 3 Robert Middlekauff The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789 2005 (2nd ed.) 760 978-0195162479
Volume 4 Gordon S. Wood Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 2009 800 978-0195039146
Volume 5 Daniel Walker Howe What Hath God Wrought: the Transformation of America, 1815–1848 2007 928 978-0195078947
Volume 6 James M. McPherson Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era 1988 904 978-0195038637
Volume 7 Richard White The Long Crisis TBA TBA TBA
Volume 8 Bruce Schulman Reawakened Nation: The Birth of Modern America, 1896–1929 TBA 736 978-0195156362
Volume 9 David M. Kennedy Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945 1999 990 978-0195038347
Volume 10 James T. Patterson Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974 1996 880 978-0195076806
Volume 11 James T. Patterson Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush v. Gore 2005 448 978-0195122169
Volume 12 George Herring From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776 2008 1056 978-0195078220

† = won Pulitzer Prize

‡ = nominated for Pulitzer Prize

Reception

For the most part, the publication of each volume has been greeted with laudatory reviews. Three of the volumes (McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom, Kennedy's Freedom from Fear, and Howe's What Hath God Wrought) were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History upon their publication.[5][6] Middlekauff's Glorious Cause and Wood's Empire of Liberty were finalists for the prize in 1982 and 2010, respectively.[7] Patterson's Grand Expectations also received the 1997 Bancroft Prize in American history.[8]

However, in October 2006 issue of the Atlantic Monthly, the magazine's book editor, Benjamin Schwarz, condemned some of the titles in the Oxford History of the United States as "bloated and intellectually flabby." He argued that volumes 9 through 11 in the series compared unfavorably to the entries in the New Oxford History of England, maintaining that the volumes "lack the intellectual refinement, analytic sharpness, and stylistic verve" of their English counterparts.[9] Schwarz wrote his review when only five volumes in the series were available, and he specifically exempted two (McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom and Middlekauff's Glorious Cause) from his criticisms.

References

External links


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