Virtual Event: Woody Holton
Liberty Is Sweet:
The Hidden History of the American Revolution
in conversation with ANNETTE GORDON-REED
November 1, 2021
7:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes WOODY HOLTON—the award-winnng author of Abigail Adams and Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution—for a discussion of his latest book, Liberty Is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution. He will be joined in conversation by Pulitzer Prize–winning historian ANNETTE GORDON-REED, author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.
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While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of Libery Is Sweet on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
About Liberty Is Sweet
Using more than a thousand eyewitness accounts, Liberty Is Sweet explores countless connections between the Patriots of 1776 and other Americans whose passion for freedom often brought them into conflict with the Founding Fathers. “It is all one story,” prizewinning historian Woody Holton writes.
Holton describes the origins and crucial battles of the Revolution from Lexington and Concord to the British surrender at Yorktown, always focusing on marginalized Americans—enslaved Africans and African Americans, Native Americans, women, and dissenters—and on overlooked factors such as weather, North America’s unique geography, chance, misperception, attempts to manipulate public opinion, and (most of all) disease. Thousands of enslaved Americans exploited the chaos of war to obtain their own freedom, while others were given away as enlistment bounties to whites. Women provided material support for the troops, sewing clothes for soldiers and in some cases taking part in the fighting. Both sides courted native people and mimicked their tactics.
Liberty Is Sweet gives us our most complete account of the American Revolution, from its origins on the frontiers and in the Atlantic ports to the creation of the Constitution. Offering surprises at every turn—for example, Holton makes a convincing case that Britain never had a chance of winning the war—this majestic history revivifies a story we thought we already knew.
Praise for Libery Is Sweet
"With Liberty Is Sweet, Woody Holton once again troubles the mythical narratives of our founding and the hagiography of our 'founders' to reveal the dynamic, complicated and multiracial pressures that led to the creation of the United States. This book rightly decenters the almost exclusively white revolutionary narratives that we've all been taught and instead makes visible the influence and agency of Black and Indigenous people as well as white women, who together played such a critical, if erased, role in creating this multiracial nation. This book unsettles the reader in the best possible way, and shows once again how the simplistic histories of our founding fail to explain the divided country in which we all live." —Nikole Hannah-Jones, staff writer for the New York Times Magazine and creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project”
"Even readers who think they know all about the Revolution will find here a much broader, provocative narrative and new perspectives." —Booklist (starred review)
"A spirited account of the Revolution that brings everybody and everything into the story." —Gordon S. Wood, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Radicalism of the American Revolution
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