Gordon Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor Emeritus at Brown. His new book, Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, will be published in the fall.
 (May 2017)

IN THE REVIEW

The Inventor of the Presidency

Gilbert Stuart: George Washington (The Athenaeum Portrait), 1796; from Susan Rather’s The American School: Artists and Status in the Late Colonial and Early National Era, published by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and Yale University Press

George Washington’s Journey: The President Forges a New Nation

by T.H. Breen
In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act to take effect in 1971. It moved the observance of several holidays to Mondays in order to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. In the case of George Washington’s birthday, which had traditionally been celebrated on February 22, Congress …

The Strangely Contentious Lives of the Quincy Adamses

Louisa Adams; miniature painting by John Thomas Barber Beaumont, 1797

John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit

by James Traub

Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams

by Louisa Thomas
We have always considered John and Abigail Adams as the most famous couple of the Revolutionary generation—each of them smart, observant, and a superb letter-writer. What were the odds that their brilliant son John Quincy would marry a woman who was as bright, as interesting, and as able a writer …

Revealing the Total Jefferson

“Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination

by Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf
Conventional wisdom has it that there are more books written about Abraham Lincoln than any other American figure. If so, then Thomas Jefferson must be running a close second. Over the past several decades there has been a never-ending profusion of works about him and his various interests. Since 1990 …

Federalists on Broadway

Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton in the Broadway musical Hamilton

Hamilton: An American Musical

book, music, and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda

War of Two: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Duel That Stunned the Nation

by John Sedgwick
Although Alexander Hamilton never became president of the United States, he is more famous than most presidents, and these days is doubly famous because of the impending decision to remove him from the ten-dollar bill and, more important, because of the hit Broadway show Hamilton. Indeed, the response to this …

A Different Story of What Shaped America

The Origins of American Religious Nationalism

by Sam Haselby
During the past six years or so Sam Haselby has taught history at both the University of Beirut and the University of Cairo. Perhaps the experience of teaching at these two Middle Eastern universities convinced him that religion tends to trump politics every time. For that is a major theme …

A Different Idea of Our Declaration

Danielle Allen at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, 2008

Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality

by Danielle Allen
This is a strange and remarkable book. There must be dozens of books on the Declaration of Independence written from every conceivable point of view—historical, political, theoretical, philosophical, and textual—but no one has ever written a book on the Declaration quite like Danielle Allen’s Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality.

The Bleeding Founders

‘George Washington in His Last Illness, Attended by Doctors Craik and Brown’; colored engraving, 1799

Revolutionary Medicine: The Founding Fathers and Mothers in Sickness and in Health

by Jeanne E. Abrams
The history of medicine, like the history of science, is a highly bifurcated and contentious field. Some historians of medicine, Lewis Thomas and David Wootton, for example, believe that the past is decidedly inferior to the present and that nothing much good happened in medicine until the mid-nineteenth century and …