... stimulating ... Many histories of this important interregnum period have been written, but none emphasizes the fragility of the American experiment as strongly as Taylor’s book does ... Taylor, acutely sensitive to such strains on the national fabric, traces the continuing conflict between competing visions of democracy ... Taylor’s special contribution in American Republics is his capacity for panning out to capture major historical trends. Not only does he cover about five decades in a relatively concise 384 pages of text, but he discusses events and people in various sections of the nation and in Canada and Mexico as well. The result of this broad-spectrum approach is, as Taylor’s subtitle indicates, a truly continental history ... he shows his skill in producing an expansive overview that synthesizes discoveries by historians, including himself ... Whether as a gloss of received historical wisdom or as an overview whose originality lies in its comprehensiveness, American Republics succeeds admirably.
... sweeping, beautifully written, prodigiously researched and myth-busting ... Taylor’s powerful overview explores this fierce struggle between groups and governments as settlers expanded the country westward ... Anyone interested in American history will appreciate this richly rewarding book.
... even as he insistently focuses on slavery in the U.S., Taylor places it in a broader social and geopolitical context. Readers thus see how the racial attitudes that sustain slavery shape policies that drive Native American tribes from their homes. But readers also see how those holding these attitudes become anxious over the emergence of the Republic of Haiti—created by slave revolt—to the south, and over Britain’s abolition of slavery in its dependency of Canada to the north, creating a new haven for fugitive slaves ... A history that speaks directly to the racial concerns of twenty-first-century Americans.