I’ve been looking for a new history book that plays it down the middle of the line and includes a reflection, however slight, on the attacks of September 11. I think this may be it, judging by the Christian Science Monitor review.
Since Sept. 11, we have regained some sense, in the parlance of historians, of our “contingency.” Freedom, even Western civilization itself, may seem like a given, but in fact it’s the result of effort, bravery, and serendipity. To the Founders, the future was an unknown, bigger than the continent they yearned to possess. Ferling ably recovers some sense of how unsure they were. His book provides not just political and intellectual history, but emotional history as well.