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Revolutionary War Reading Group at Donnelly Library


Las Vegas, N.M – United States Revolutionary War history is the topic for the New Mexico Highlands University Donnelly Library spring semester reading group that begins Feb. 7. The program is free and open to the public.

The name of the reading group is “Inspired by Revolution: The Founding Years, 1776 – 1804.” It will explore the Revolutionary War and the tumultuous early years of the new republic.

Kristie Ross, Highlands University history professor, will lead the book discussion at each session. Ross teaches American history, including a variety of classes on the Revolutionary War, Civil War & Reconstruction, the American frontier, and women’s history.

“The Revolutionary War and the early years of the new nation was a turbulent time,” Ross said. “The war and its contested outcomes are often overshadowed by the mythology surrounding the founding generation ­– men like John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. 

“But as recent scholarship shows, the history of this era is not a neat narrative, but a complex story that often pitted neighbor against neighbor, the backcountry against the Eastern seaboard, the elite against the less privileged, and the colonized against the colonizers,” Ross said.

She added, “This group of readings is meant to spark discussions of some of the challenges and conflicts confronting a range of Americans as they both imagined and gave shape to the new nation state.”

The reading group will begin with 1776 by historian David G. McCullough, a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner. The New York Times bestsellerfocuses on the military side of the first year of the Revolutionary War.

The second reading, Founding Brothers, is by Joseph J. Ellis, also a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner. The book explores six key events that helped form the new nation and the legendary leaders involved, including John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.

At its third meeting, the group will discuss The First Emancipator by Andrew Levy. This book is about Robert Carter III, a Virginia planter who freed his slaves 76 years before the Emancipation Proclamation. His story offers a more nuanced picture of the post-Revolutionary South.

The group will conclude with The Whiskey Rebellion by William Hogeland. It isa lively account of whiskey, taxes, federal authority, and local resistance in the then frontier of western Pennsylvania.

Books for the reading program are available at Donnelly Library, 802 National Ave. All discussions will begin at 7 p.m. in the library.

Thursday, Feb. 7 - 1776/ David G. McCullough        

Tuesday, March 5 - Founding Brothers/ Joseph J. Ellis

Thursday, April 4 – The First Emancipator/ Andrew Levy

Thursday, May 2 - The Whiskey Rebellion / William Hogeland

For more information and to register for the reading program, stop by the library or e-mail ajkent@nmhu.edu.


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