BOOKS

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A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution, coming December 2019. 

 

In the war’s waning days, the American Revolution neared collapsed when Washington’s senior officers were rumored to be on the edge of mutiny.

After the British surrender at Yorktown, the American Revolution blazed on, and as peace was negotiated in Europe, grave problems surfaced at home. The government was broke. Political rivalry among the states paralyzed Congress. The army’s officers, encamped near Newburgh, New York, brooded over a civilian population seemingly indifferent to their sacrifices. The result was the so-called Newburgh Conspiracy, a mysterious event in which Continental Army officers, disgruntled by a lack of pay and pensions, may have collaborated with nationalist-minded politicians such as Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Robert Morris to pressure Congress and the states to approve new taxes and strengthen the central government. Fearing what his men might do with their passions inflamed, Washington averted the crisis with an unexpected gesture: wearing glasses. A Crisis of Peace provides a fresh look at how the American Revolution really ended.

Vividly written, David Head’s A Crisis of Peace captures the perilous period when Washington’s fundamental decency meant more to the nation than more glorious qualities might have.  – David O. Stewart, bestselling author of The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution

David Head is a superb historian who writes in beautiful detail about the heat of political competition. ... Newburgh finally gets the clearheaded assessment students of the founding era have been waiting for. – Andrew Burstein,  Louisiana State University

The Newburg Conspiracy is one of the most important, least known episodes of the founding of the United States. Without George Washington’s leadership in that crucial crisis, we may have ended up like so many petty dictatorships. David Head tells the story masterfully with new details and expert drama, putting the crisis in both a contemporary context and showing its relevance for all ages. – Douglas Bradburn, President and CEO, George Washington’s Mount Vernon

David Head's compelling new narrative history reveals that military-civilian relations were from settled after the battle of Yorktown, and without Washington's intervention the course of American history might have been quite different. – Amy S. Greenberg, George Winfree Professor of American History, Pennsylvania State University

By tracing the actions and motivations of the participations, Head gives a nuanced treatment of the main characters that helps readers appreciate the human quality of the events at the end of the war. As a result, the book helps us better understand the civilian-military tensions at the end of the war, George Washington’s crucial role in preserving peaceful civilian authority over the military, and the formation of the new nation more broadly. – Lindsay M. Chervinsky, White House Historian, The White House Historical Association

David Head’s A Crisis of Peace is a thoroughly original take on one of the most critical moments in history that would determine no less than the success or failure of the American Revolution. – Craig Bruce Smith, author of American Honor: The Creation of the Nation’s Ideals during the Revolutionary Era

With an energetic pen and a flare for a good phrase, David Head recounts in intimate detail one of the United States’ most perilous moments. – Philip Levy, author of Where The Cherry Tree Grew: The Story of Ferry Farm, George Washington’s Boyhood Home

In this gripping account of George Washington’s remarkable efforts to preserve the American Republic after its existence had, only apparently, been secured with the victory at Yorktown in 1781, David Head reveals just how precarious the closing moments of the American Revolution truly were. – Kevin Butterfield, Executive Director, Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon

David Head’s A Crisis of Peace eloquently describes the Newburgh Conspiracy—perhaps the most dangerous challenge to American liberty and independence in our country’s history. – Gene Allen Smith, Texas Christian University

A Crisis of Peace is thoroughly researched and superbly written, keeping the reader engaged until the end. A must have book and highly recommended for all libraries! – Brian Mack, The Fort Plain Museum, Fort Plain, NY

Privateers of the Americas: Spanish American Privateering from the United States in the Early Republic.

The true story of the American seafarers who crossed borders to fight for the independence of Spanish America. In the early nineteenth century, Americans secured commissions from Spanish American nations, attacked Spanish vessels, and returned to sell their captured cargoes (which sometimes included slaves) from bases in Baltimore, New Orleans, and Galveston and on Amelia Island. Along the way, they angered foreign diplomats, worried American officials, and muddied U.S. foreign relations.

Winner of the 2016 John Gardner Award  presented by the Fellows of the G.W. Blunt White Library at Mystic Seaport Museum for making a significant contribution to maritime research.

Head has presented a fine distillation of the privateering enterprise. His research is admirable, his writing style is eminently readable, and his analysis of the workings of the business of Spanish American 'privateering' is unassailable. – Fred Leiner, Northern Mariner

The Golden Age of Piracy: The Rise, Fall, and Enduring Popularity of Pirates

Shrouded by myth and hidden by Hollywood, the real pirates of the Caribbean come to life in this collection of essays edited by David Head. Twelve scholars of piracy show why pirates thrived in the New World seas of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century empires, how pirates operated their plundering ventures, how governments battled piracy, and when and why piracy declined. The essays presented take the study of piracy, which can easily lapse into rousing, romanticized stories, to new heights of rigor and insight.

Just when you thought the Age of Depp was waning, along comes The Golden Age of Piracy. This superb collection harnesses the best and most innovative scholarship on Atlantic piracy, ranging from the real and material to the pirate's troubled public image.  . . . There is something here for everyone, more than enough to inspire a new cinematic franchise. – Kris Lane, author of Pillaging the Empire: Global Piracy on the High Seas, 1500–1750

Encyclopedia of the Atlantic World, 1400-1900: Europe, Africa, and the Americas in an Age of Exploration, Trade, and Empires. 

Encyclopedia of the Atlantic World, 1400–1900 synthesizes a generation of historical scholarship on the events on four continents, providing readers an invaluable introduction to the major people, places, events, movements, objects, concepts, and commodities of the Atlantic world as it developed during a key period in history when the world first started to shrink. The entries discuss specific topics with an eye toward showing how individual items, people, and events were connected to the larger Atlantic world. This accessibly written reference book brings together topics usually treated separately and discretely, alleviating the need for extra legwork when researching, and it draws from the latest research to make a vast body of scholarship about seemingly far-flung places available to readers new to the field.

Entries are deep and nuanced, but they are intended for the general reader and readily explain the subject's significance. –Booklist

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