Review: The Americas In The Revolutionary Era, Marshall C. Eakin

Rating: 3 out of 5

This was a solid overview of all of the American revolutions—and this is where I went astray—but it doesn’t really extend beyond this. For some reason, I should note, I took this to be only an overview of the revolutions other than that in the US, but the American Revolution and the war are also covered. I think it actually adds value in this case even though most people are likely to be far more familiar with this time and period compared to the other subjects.

The other subjects range from Haiti to Argentina, more or less exactly. This means that we get to take a look at Simon Bolivar, Toussaint Louverture, and Jose de San Martin go through their respective stories. Many other South American leaders feature, though only Francisco de Miranda is mentioned in any great detail beyond the ones mentioned above. Santa Anna is noted for some eccentricities, but there’s no good evaluation of that great man’s character.

Insofar as this course goes, it was enlightening—but never amusing. Mr Eakin’s style passed on the information it had to, but it rarely managed to reveal gems. The one (possible) exception was his description of the meeting between Bolivar and de San Martin, but I would wager most biographies will do a finer task. But, that is both the pro and the con of the format that this work takes—and as a part of ‘The Great Courses’ series, this serves its purpose well.

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