Oxford History of the United States
The series originated in the 1950s with a plan laid out by historians C. Vann Woodward and Richard Hofstadter for a multi-volume history of the United States, one that would provide a summary of the political, social, and cultural history of the nation for a general audience. The project proved to be more challenging than initially envisioned, however. New fields of historical study emerged in the 1960s, and personal issues intervened for some of the authors. Among the historians connected with the series at one time or another were Willie Lee Rose, Morton Keller, John Lewis Gaddis, Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick. Though some of these historians completed books as a result of their respective assignments, none of them was published as part of the series.
The first volume published in the series, Robert Middlekauff's The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789, finally was released in 1982 (ISBN 0-19-502921-6). Included on the rear dust jacket flap to the original hardcover edition was a projected outline for the series at that point:
- Volume 1: Colonial America by T. H. Breen
- Volume 2: The Glorious Cause by Robert Middlekauff
- Volume 3: Early National America, 1789–1815 by Gordon S. Wood
- Volume 4: Jacksonian America, 1815–1846 by Charles Grier Sellers
- Volume 5: The Civil War by James M. McPherson
- Volume 6: Reconstruction and Industrial America by George M. Fredrickson
- Volume 7: Early 20th Century America, 1900–1930 by William H. Harbaugh
- Volume 8: The New Deal, 1930–1945 by David M. Kennedy
- Volume 9: Postwar America, 1945–1968 by William E. Leuchtenburg
- Volume 10: The American Economy by Stuart Bruchey
- Volume 11: American Diplomacy by Norman A. Graebner
McPherson's volume on the Civil War and its causes was subsequently published in 1988 as Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. Two more volumes followed under Woodward's editorship. Volume 10, Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974 by James T. Patterson, was published in 1997, while Volume 9, David Kennedy's Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945, was published in 1999. Sellers's contribution was published separately from the series in 1991 as The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815–1846 (ISBN 0-19-503889-4), supposedly for its excessive focus on the economics of the era, and the volume reassigned to another historian.
After Woodward's death in 1999, David Kennedy assumed the editorship of the series. Since the start of his tenure, in addition to the revised and expanded edition of Middlekauff's book, four more volumes have appeared: Volume 11, Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush v. Gore by James T. Patterson, which was published in 2005 (ISBN 0-19-512216-X), Volume 5, Daniel Walker Howe's What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 (ISBN 0-19-507894-2), which was released in 2007, Volume 12, From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776 (ISBN 0-19-507822-5) by George C. Herring, published in October 2008, and Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (ISBN 978-0195039146) by Gordon S. Wood, published in September 2009. Volume 9 was also published in 2003 as two smaller volumes: The American People in the Great Depression: Freedom from Fear, Part One (ISBN 978-0195168921) and The American People in World War II: Freedom from Fear, Part Two (ISBN 978-0195168938). Also in 2003, The Illustrated Battle Cry of Freedom was published, a new edition of James M. McPherson's book with the footnotes and a fifth of the original text removed, instead adding numerous maps and photographs with McPherson's commentary (ISBN 978-0195159011).
Herring's 2008 book From Colony to Superpower will be republished in November 2017 in a new two-volume paperback edition: Years of Peril and Ambition: US Foreign Relations, 1776–1921 (ISBN 9780190212469), featuring a new introduction covering this period, and The American Century and Beyond: US Foreign Relations, 1893-2014 (ISBN 9780190212476), also with a new introduction on the period, as well as a new chapter bringing the original book's timeline up to 2014.
A volume written by H. W. Brands covering Gilded Age America — Leviathan: America Comes of Age, 1865–1900 — was also to be published as part of the series, but was withdrawn in 2006 and published outside the Oxford History series in October 2010 as American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900.
|1||Peter Mancall||American Origins||2017||TBA||TBA|
|3||Robert Middlekauff||The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789||1982; 2005 (2nd ed.)||760||978-0195162479||Nominated for 1983 Pulitzer Prize for History|
|4||Gordon S. Wood||Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815||2009||800||978-0195039146||Nominated for 2010 Pulitzer Prize for History|
|5||Daniel Walker Howe||What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848||2007||928||978-0195078947||Won 2008 Pulitzer Prize for History|
|6||James M. McPherson||Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era||1988||904||978-0195038637||Won 1989 Pulitzer Prize for History|
|7||Richard White||The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865–1896||2017||TBA||TBA|
|8||Bruce Schulman||Reawakened Nation: The Birth of Modern America, 1896–1929||2018||TBA||978-0195156362|
|9||David M. Kennedy||Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945||1999||990||978-0195038347||Won 2000 Pulitzer Prize for History|
|10||James T. Patterson||Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974||1996||880||978-0195076806||Won 1997 Bancroft Prize|
|11||James T. Patterson||Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush v. Gore||2005||448||978-0195122169|
|12||George C. Herring||From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations Since 1776||2008; 2017 (2nd ed.)||1056||978-0195078220||Nominated for 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award|
For the most part, the publication of each volume has been greeted with laudatory reviews. Three of the volumes (McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom, Kennedy's Freedom from Fear, and Howe's What Hath God Wrought) were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History upon their publication. Middlekauff's Glorious Cause and Wood's Empire of Liberty were finalists for the prize in 1982 and 2010, respectively. Patterson's Grand Expectations also received the 1997 Bancroft Prize in American history, and Kennedy's Freedom from Fear also received the 2000 Francis Parkman Prize.
However, in the October 2006 issue of the Atlantic Monthly, the magazine's book editor, Benjamin Schwarz, condemned some of the titles in the Oxford History of the United States as "bloated and intellectually flabby." He argued that volumes 9 through 11 in the series compared unfavorably to the entries in the New Oxford History of England, maintaining that the volumes "lack the intellectual refinement, analytic sharpness, and stylistic verve" of their English counterparts. Schwarz wrote his review when only five volumes in the series were available, and he specifically exempted two (McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom and Middlekauff's Glorious Cause) from his criticisms.
In 1927, Oxford University Press published a two-volume history of the United States by Samuel Eliot Morison, entitled The Oxford History of the United States, 1783–1917. Morison later invited Henry Steele Commager to join him in preparing a revised and expanded version, under the title The Growth of the American Republic. This history in two volumes became the leading undergraduate American history textbook; it appeared in seven editions between 1930 and 1980 (1930; 1937; 1942; 1950, 1962; 1969; 7th edition, with William E. Leuchtenburg, 1980). In 1980, Leuchtenburg prepared a revised and condensed version, The Concise History of the American Republic, which saw a second edition in 1983.
- "Oxford History of the United States". Audible.com. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
- McPherson, James M. (September 2000). "The War that Never Goes Away". People & Mountains. West Virginia Humanities Council. Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
- "History: It's Still About Stories". Nytimes.com. 1999-09-19. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
- Shea, Christopher (December 24, 2006). "The rejection bin of history". The Boston Globe. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
- "Nonfiction Review: The Illustrated Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson, Author Oxford University Press $75 (786p) ISBN 978-0-19-515901-1". Publishersweekly.com. 2003-10-01. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
- The Republic for Which It Stands.
- Pulitzer Citation for "What Hath God Wrought"
- Pulitzer Citation for "Freedom From Fear"
- List of Pulitzer winners and nominees
- List of Bancroft Prize winners
- In Depth with James McPherson. C-SPAN (Videotape). National Cable Satellite Corporation. March 4, 2001. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
- Schwarz, Benjamin (October 2006). "The Path of Least Resistance". The Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
- ""Through English Eyes", by David S. Muzzey, The Saturday Review, April 28, 1928, p. 819". Unz.org. 1928-04-28. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
- Oxford University Press
- C-SPAN's BookTV panel with series historians David Kennedy, James McPherson, Robert Middlekauff, James T. Patterson, and moderator John Avlon (September 20, 2005)
- Powells.com: Book Review — Oxford History of the United States #03: The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789, The Atlantic Monthly, 1 March 2005