Monday, June 26, 2017

For a Non-American's History of America

The Ordeal of Bernard Bailyn writing The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson was like sooo unnecessary. The most insightful account of the early New Republic ever written was written by a Frenchman. Chinese have an adage, "The history of China is written by the foreigner." History written by a foreigner supplies Bailyn's desideratum of "distance," and it would be speedy history, no need to wait 190 years to get to the "third turn," the "ultimate mode of interpretation," as does the native. Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America immediately after tour. "Partisanship," asymmetric "sympathy," "peculiarly difficult" writing "likely to be misinterpreted," "doomed to failure," angst, defensive apologetic prefaces--gone!