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Jeremy

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new york, NY, United States | Member Since 2010

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  • A Renegade History of the United States

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Thaddeus Russell
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    Overall
    (110)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (71)

    American history was driven by clashes between those interested in preserving social order and those more interested in pursuing their own desires---the "respectable" versus the "degenerate", the moral versus the immoral. The more that "bad" people existed, resisted, and won, the greater was our common good. In A Renegade History of the United States, Russell introduces us to the origins of our nation's identity as we have never known them before.

    Rory says: "One of those books...that cause brain freeze!"
    "Scratch out History from the title"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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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