As much of a fan as I am of Alan Taylor, I must confess that I was a little underwhelmed when I learned that this was going to be his next book. Histories of the American Revolution aren't exactly thin on the ground, and I didn't see why another one was necessary. Still, when I encountered a copy a couple of weeks ago in a used bookstore (likely a copy the publisher sent out for review), I thought I would give it a try.
And I'm glad I did.
In the preface to his book, Taylor explains that this is a sequel to his earlier book American Colonies, a fantastically comprehensive survey of colonial America that I found invaluable for my classes on the subject. His new book covers much less time chronologically but is proving so far to be just as informative in its approach. What makes his book stand out from previous surveys is its scope, as he incorporates regions (such as the West Indies and the trans-Appalachian frontier) that have not been included in traditional accounts of the American Revolution. As Taylor shows, this had led to an incomplete understanding of the issues that concerned many people at that time. It makes for a much richer portrait of the revolution, one that I look forward to incorporating into my material soon.