Inventing America upended decades of thinking about The Declaration of Independence when it was first…
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Why read it?
1 author picked Inventing America as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
I’m torn between recommending this book and Lincoln at Gettysburg by the same author. Wills combines brilliant analysis of language (the meaning and feeling of words and phrases; the syncopation of sentences) with a scholarly understanding of the cultural and intellectual context within which these seminal texts are written. As he unpacks the Declaration, Wills connects the document to Jefferson's own reading and learning. "To understand any text remote from us in time," he writes "we must reassemble a world around that text. The preconceptions of the original audience, its tastes, its range of reference, must be recovered, so far…
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