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Bryan Callen (Co-animateur / The Fighter and the Kid)What I like about Thaddeus is that his book he actually takes a look at things I never heard. I was a history major and historians tend to be pretty conservative, stagy people, right? Your average college history teacher is a pretty conservative guy, even though he might be very left wing, they’re conservative people [...] And when they write history, they always write it from this really stagy kind. You hear about the events. You actually don’t hear about what it was like in the brothels, you don’t hear like what it smelled like in the bars, you don’t hear about the noise, you don’t hear about things that actually have an effect on people. Who were the criminals? How safe were the streets? Where are the prostitutes? Who was actually getting laid? Was there actually a lot of black and white sex that went on in the revolutionary war? Which apparently there was.
This provocative perspective on America’s history claims that the country’s personality was defined not by the ideals of the elites and intellectuals, but by those who throughout have lived on the fringes of society history—slaves, immigrants, gangsters, and others who challenged the conventions of their day.
“Raucous, profane, and thrillingly original, Thaddeus Russell’s A Renegade History of the United States turns the myths of the ‘American character’ on their heads with a rare mix of wit, scholarship, and storytelling flair” (Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad Is Good for You and The Invention of Air ).
An all-new, stunning, and controversial story of the United States: It was not “good” citizens who established American liberty, declares Thaddeus Russell, but “immoral” and “degraded” people on the fringes of society whose subversive lifestyles legitimized the taboo and made America the land of the free.
In vivid portraits of renegades and their “respectable” adversaries, Russell shows that the nation’s history has been driven by clashes between those interested in preserving social order and those more interested in pursuing their own desires. The more these accidental revolutionaries—drunkards, prostitutes, gangsters, unassimilated immigrants, “bad” blacks—persevered, the more American society changed for the better.
This is not the history taught in textbooks or classrooms—this renegade book will upend everything you believe about the American past.