The noblest ideals and aspirations of the peoples of the United States of America - its commitment to freedom, constitutionality and equality - came out of the Revolutionary era. The story is a dramatic one. Thirteen insignificant colonies of His Britannic Majesty King George III, three thousand miles from the centres of Western civilization, fought off British rule to become, in fewer than three decades, a huge, sprawling, rambunctious republic of nearly four million citizens. It is also a complicated and at times ironic story that needs to be explained and understood, not blindly celebrated or condemned. How did this great revolution come about? What was its character? What were its consequences? These are the questions this short history seeks to answer. That it succeeds in such a profound and enthralling way is a tribute to Gordon Wood's mastery of his subject, and of the historian's craft.
Gordon S. Wood received his B.A. from Tufts University and his Ph.D. from Harvard. Since 1969 he has been at Brown University where he is a professor of history. In 1970 his book THE CREATION OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC 1776-1787 was nominated for the National Book Award and received the Bancroft Prize and the John H. Dunning Prize. In 1993 he won the Pulitzer Prize for The Radicalism of the American Revolution.