Berkowitz on Wood on America

Peter Bekowitz of the Hoover Institution has a thoughtful review of Gordon Wood's new book, The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States.

Many politicians play fast and loose with the Founding Fathers and Wood's lifetime of careful scholarship is, as Berkowitz notes, a tonic both to the excesses of some historians and of some politicians. Wood has a distinctly Catholic approach, although he might not choose to descibe his contribution that way. Nonetheless, if one of the principal characteristics of Catholic intellectual thought is a preference for "both/and" solutions to human conundrums, as opposed to "either/or" solutions, Wood looks at the extant historiography of the Revolutionary era and culls what is good from all the different schools of thought, brings them together, allows them to self-correct each other, and produces just about as balanced and thorough an understand of those momentous events as can be found in the pages of any book.

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