In my opinion, a good history book for the general public begins with deep research about a topic that no one really examined before and then an art to bring it to life. A renegade history begins exactly with this premise: among the citizens of the US, probably a good portion were criminals, low-life, outlaws that lived, worked, stealed and, ultimately, had a great influence on the direction the country takes. Yet, history tends to systematically focus on the grander figures and the great moments, just leaving aside all of this.
While the topic is rich, I found myself getting completely disinterested from the book very quickly. The problem is not that the author did not do research (research has been extensive) and not that he does not bring life to the telling (he does), but rather than there seems to be very little to say after all, beyond what one would imagine or already know. Yes, there was certainly a lot of prostitution and debauchery; yes, alcohol was always a recurrent problem; yes, slaves would often mix with the common man in lower-class taverns; yes, some of the disturbances against the british did originate from drunken brawls. But, did we really think otherwise? The book does place some historical precision into these things but, if you are curious, will not teach a lot that is new.
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