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West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776

by Claudio Saunt

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1678128,748 (3.25)6
Details the other revolutions during 1776, including the reaction of the native residents of San Francisco in the wake of the first European settlement there and the devastation of the Aleutian Islands by the Russians' hunt for sea otters.
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I really did enjoy this book. It was nice to have a new perspective on 1776, and a lot of the things Saunt mentions are things I had only heard mentions about. I think that the chapters should have been somewhat shorter, considering the length of the overall book. I think it was an interesting read and should be a must read for those interested in US history ( )
  historybookreads | Jul 26, 2021 |
Helped to fill in the blanks (sometimes literally) on what was happening in the rest of the future United States while the Atlantic was occupied with its revolt against England. It does a good job of showing the globalized world of the 18th Century, connecting nations across the entire Northern Hemisphere. ( )
  poirotketchup | Mar 18, 2021 |
This book briefly describes the encounters and interactions of Europeans and indigenous Americans from the Aleutian islands to the western Appalachians during the time of the American revolution. Since many Americans have a picture of the 1770s as a time when great and important things are happening along the East Coast of North America while the rest of the continent quietly waited for the British colonists to start marching west, this book is a good corrective. It's fairly brief, but a good introduction and reminder. I learned a lot esp. about the Russian and Spanish interactions with indigenous people along the West coast of North America. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
1776, it is a year known well in the Western World. The year when the American colonies declared their independence, so beginning a war with Britain that would have resounding consequences. Yet it was a war that happened exclusively along the Atlantic seaboard. Thousands of miles of land lay to west of these battles, land that was experiencing its own upheavals, but rarely is that story told. This book endeavors to do just that, spanning not only the North American continent but also unexpected locations such as Cuba, Russia, and Paris.

I must admit I picked up this book from the shelves on a whim, because I was intrigued Even as a history student we rarely touched on what was happening in North America outside of the British colonies, that is until the fledgling United States began their push into the interior of the continent on their way to Pacific. While I appreciated Saunt's effort, I really felt like he could have done more. The text was dry, often rambling at times as in the pages and pages of information on the magnificence and signifigance of the beaver population. Where he wasn't engaged in long tangents, the author skimmed quickly over the material. At only 210 pages of text, this book provides the barest of introductions to the several topics covered. Given the 50 pages of notes at the end of the book, it is clear that the author conducted extensive research, so it would have been nice to read a more expanded version of this book. As it is, he merely wet my interest in the topics he chose to present. To top it off he introduced yet another topic on the European discovery of the Hawaiinislands in the two page long epilogue. No where else in the book was Hawaii or Captain Cook mentioned, so I found this incredibly frustrating. Good thing he included all his notes so that I know where else to look for the rest of the history. ( )
  Mootastic1 | Jan 15, 2016 |
A fascinating account of our history removed from the myopic prism of the Boston/Philadelphia corridor. It is short sighted to think that nothing was happening in this vast land while revolutionaries were battling the British in the north east. In fact entire communities were thriving in Alaska, California, Florida, Colorado etc. We just don't know about them because they don't have a "Daughters of the..." group to keep the memory alive. This is not to take away from the impact of the revolution on our lives; it in fact broadens our understanding of how this country developed everywhere which combined to enrich us. Claudio Saunt writes a compelling book about those areas and ideas and experiences that took place in 1776, hidden from our view. Subtitled "An uncommon history of 1776", it is indeed that. Well footnoted, it opens with Saul Steinberg's "View of the world from 9th Avenue" which really captures our eastern perspective and lets us know this is no ordinary history. Kudos for digging out and placing in one volume, in one moment in time, this vast history. ( )
  book58lover | Sep 13, 2015 |
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Details the other revolutions during 1776, including the reaction of the native residents of San Francisco in the wake of the first European settlement there and the devastation of the Aleutian Islands by the Russians' hunt for sea otters.

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