I am Canadian and have somehow never really become informed about early US history. Although I have a basic familiarity with the events of the time and some of the key individuals, I want to learn more about the subject, the players, and the ideas of the era.
That said, I do have a few constraints and focuses.
I am most interested to learn more about the US in the years ~1750 to ~1800. What I think I’m looking for is a book that recounts the facts (obviously) but also spends ample time providing the ideological background and framework for seminal developments such as The Declaration of Independence. I am especially keen to learn more about the thoughts and ideas of Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Paine, et al., and what their individual views were of things such as the Revolution itself, and the drafting and contents of the inchoate Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
If possible, the book(s) should be readable - not a dense, scholarly tome, but something that can be read for enjoyment as much as enlightenment. And, truthfully, despite the hours I spend on these boards, I don’t have a lot of extra time; in other words, if possible, I’m looking for shorter and more concise as opposed to longer and exhaustive.
So the ideal choice should include:
- chronicle/description of the events (ca. 1750 - 1800)
- introduction to the key players and especially to their ideas (about liberty, rights, ‘freedom’, etc.)
- readable and concise
Finally, at the risk of sounding prematurely ungrateful, I don’t think a long list of books would help me; how would I ever know which to read? No, I would much rather have ONE or TWO key choices.
Do you know anything that fits the bill?