David Library Spring Lecture Series

  Wednesday, June 7, 2017  – 7:30 PM -  Holger Hoock, Ph. D., the J. Carroll Amundson Professor of British History, University of Pittsburgh: “Scars of Independence: Violence in the American Revolution.” Americans tend to portray the revolution and war for independence as a heroic tale, the triumph of high-minded ideals in the face of imperial overreach, and a unified, nation-building struggle. It’s a stirring narrative, and one the Founders did their best to encourage after the war. But Professor Hoock, author of the new book Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth, will demonstrate in this illustrated lecture that to understand the Revolution, it must be acknowledged that it was also a profoundly violent civil war. Drawing on extensive new research, Professor Hoock will take the audience into the streets and homes of Revolutionary America, onto battlefields, and inside prisons, to illustrate the terror that lay at the very heart of the Revolutionary project, and the battlefield atrocities, rape, and plunder that characterized the war across the thirteen colonies. He will also consider why and how the Revolution’s all-pervasive violence has been moved to the margins of the story as it is typically told.

Event date: 
Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm
Event address: 
David Library of the American Revolution
1201 River Rd.
Washington Crossing, PA 18977
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Scars of Independence: America's Violent Birth Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804137287
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - May 9th, 2017

"[R]evelatory... Scars of Independence [forces] readers to confront the visceral realities of a conflict too often bathed in warm, nostalgic light.... [Hoock] marshals a good deal of startling new evidence, the fruits of prodigious research in British archives too rarely used by historians of colonial America.... The myth of an America conceived in love and sprung fully formed from the thigh of George Washington misshapes our present as much as it distorts our past. Hoock's research casts a startling light on that primal scene. We must not turn away."
-- Jane Kamensky, The New York Times Book Review

"Certainly, no reader will ever be able to imagine the Revolution again as the pop-gun pageantry that those Philadelphia school talks instilled in us kids.... Hoock makes the wise point that, given what wars of national liberation are actually like, Americans should perhaps be disabused of our enthusiasm for nation-building and democracy exportation.... The Revolution, he shows, was far more brutal than our usual memory of it allows."
-- Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker



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