Nice Words From the Academy

History writers like me (that is, those without doctorates) sometimes develop a bit of a ‘tude about academics who occasionally sneer at our efforts.  An Ivy League type wrote of my first book (and I paraphrase), “I don’t know why they publish books like this.”

Because people like to read them!

In any event, a distinguished historian at the University of Virginia, Peter Onuf, has just published a very generous review of American Emperor in the Journal of American History, which helps shrink the chip on my shoulder.  A couple of excerpts:

  • “Burr’s great struggle with Jefferson provides the narrative thread to David O. Stewart’s compelling account of Burr’s later career.”
  • Burr is a fascinating character, and questions of character have dominated the literature on him from his time to our own.  Stewart is remarkably successful in avoiding this interpretative trap.”
  • “Had all the evidence that Stewart assembles been available in Richmond [for Burr’s treason trial] and the charges been adequately framed, the legal verdict would have been clear.”
  • “Stewart’s even handed verdict is that ‘Burr’s challenge strengthened the union and sharpened Jefferson’s own commitment to it.'”

I would link to the full review, but it’s behind one of those vile paywalls.  So, in a gesture of reciprocity, I herewith feature one of Onuf’s noteworthy books:



  1. Galen E. Graham on September 24, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    I just finished “American Emperor”. It is a wonderful read, very well written and extremely interesting. I now look forward to reading “The Summer of 1787” and “Impeached”. I see you live in Garrett Park. My son and daughter-in-law recently purchased a home there and love the place. Do you have other works in the mill?

    • David Stewart on September 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks so much for your generous words, and I hope you like the others, too. As for your question, I have written an historical novel about the John Wilkes Booth Conspiracy that Kensington Books will release next September, and am working now on a non-fiction examination of the unique talents of James Madison.

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