The life of the iconic libertine Giacomo Casanova (1725–1798) has never been told in the depth it deserves. An alluring representative of the Enlightenment’s shadowy underside, Casanova was an aspiring priest, an army officer, a fortune teller, a con man, a magus, a violinist, a mathematician, a Masonic master, an entrepreneur, a diplomat, a gambler, a spy—and the first to tell his own story. In his vivid autobiography Histoire de Ma Vie, he recorded at least a hundred and twenty love affairs, as well as dramatic sagas of duels, swindles, arrests, and escapes. He knew kings and an empress, Catherine the Great, and most of the famous writers of the time, including Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin. […Learn More]
The day of 9 Thermidor (27 July 1794) is universally acknowledged as a major turning-point in the history of the French Revolution. At 12.00 midnight, Maximilien Robespierre, the most prominent member of the Committee of Public Safety which had for more than a year directed the Reign of Terror, was planning to destroy one of the most dangerous plots that the Revolution had faced. […Learn More]
A sweeping exploration of revolutionary ideas that traveled the Atlantic in the late eighteenth century
Nation-based histories cannot do justice to the rowdy, radical interchange of ideas around the Atlantic world during the tumultuous years from 1776 to 1804. National borders were powerless to restrict the flow of enticing new visions of human rights and universal freedom. This expansive history explores how the revolutionary ideas that spurred the American and French revolutions reverberated far and wide, connecting European, North American, African, and Caribbean peoples more closely than ever before. […Learn More]
A new, brash, and unexpected view of the president we thought we knew, from the bestselling author of Astoria
Two decades before he led America to independence, George Washington was a flailing young soldier serving the British Empire in the vast wilderness of the Ohio Valley. Naïve and self-absorbed, the twenty-two-year-old officer accidentally ignited the French and Indian War—a conflict that opened colonists to the possibility of an American Revolution. […Learn More]
From one of our most acclaimed and original colonial historians, a groundbreaking book tracing the critical “long year” of 1774 and the revolutionary change that took place from the Boston Tea Party and the First Continental Congress to the Battles of Lexington and Concord. […Learn More]
An immersive tale of the killing of a Native American man and its far-reaching implications for the definition of justice from early America to today.
On the eve of a major treaty conference between Iroquois leaders and European colonists in the distant summer of 1722, two white fur traders attacked an Indigenous hunter and left him for dead near Conestoga, Pennsylvania. Though virtually forgotten today, this act of brutality set into motion a remarkable series of criminal investigations and cross-cultural negotiations that challenged the definition of justice in early America. […Learn More]
A magisterial history that recasts the Enlightenment as a period not solely consumed with rationale and reason, but rather as a pursuit of practical means to achieve greater human happiness.
One of the formative periods of European and world history, the Enlightenment is the fountainhead of modern secular Western values: religious tolerance, freedom of thought, speech and the press, of rationality and evidence-based argument. […Learn More]