Thursday, August 11, 2016


I've read some of Sean Willentz' work in the past and been mildly impressed. His latest effort, The Polticians and the Egalitarians, is interesting because it is a sort of a "gonzo" history. Willentz looks at several important people through the course of our history--through the eyes of other historian, and writes his own book critiquing those portrayals. I found it fascinating, to be honest. And the choice of subjects was very illuminating. Thomas Paine is often overlooked among the influential Founding Fathers. Willentz goes to great lengths to show that we hold Jefferson and Lincoln to impossible standards; both were the preeminent politicians of their time. And the chapter on Lyndon Johnson alone is worth the price of the book...If more people wrote history like Willentz, we wouldn't have 40% of the electorate voting for people like people like Donald Trump. Because they would know more about the country we live in, and make better choices.

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