The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions, and the Making of the Modern World


Product Details

$35.00  $32.20
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.1 X 1.7 inches | 1.7 pounds

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About the Author

Professor of history at Princeton, Linda Colley is the author of books including Britons, winner of the Wolfson Prize, and The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh, a New York Times "Top 10" Book-of-the-Year. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.


Fascinating and important... Colley's wide-ranging survey covers many aspects of the global impact of constitutions, from the crucial importance of printers and publishers, to Thomas Paine's interest in putting political and legal concepts on paper, to Toussaint Louverture defying the French in 1801 and publishing his own constitution for a future Black-ruled Haiti... This carefully crafted exploration shows how constitutions have helped to bring about an extraordinary revolution in human behavior, ideas and beliefs over the years. Though constitutions are flawed, Colley writes, 'in an imperfect, uncertain, shifting, and violent world, they may be the best we can hope for.'--Roger Bishop - Bookpage
From the Mediterranean to Japan, a dazzling, beautifully written, and surprising tale to discover the deep connections between the transformations of modern warfare and the rise of constitutions across the globe. A must read.--M'hamed Oualdi, Sciences Po - Paris
Linda Colley's central proposition--that the pillars of modern nationhood arose chiefly from the catastrophes of war--may surprise as well as enlighten. The book's astonishing intercontinental scope, though, coupled with Colley's brilliance, make it a masterpiece.--Sean Wilentz, author of The Politicians and the Egalitarians
In this ambitious work, Linda Colley seeks to rethink the 'long' nineteenth century through the prism of the many constitutions it produced. Written with characteristic vigor and clarity, her book shows the continued validity of 'big picture' history in asking searching questions and providing unexpected answers.--Sanjay Subrahmanyam, author of Europe's India
In this bold, lucid, and wide-ranging book, Linda Colley reveals the international dialogue that created our age of constitutions.--Alan Taylor, author of Thomas Jefferson's Education
Despite their lofty ideals, constitutions' many guises across the world repeatedly failed to meet their stated aspirations. Remarkable therefore are our centuries of persistent belief in these documents. With her characteristic skill, erudition, and creativity, Linda Colley, one of our greatest historians, explains this seeming conundrum through a history of the durability of human hope, war, and political imagination. This is a monumentally important book.--Alan Mikhail, author of God's Shadow
A marvelous tour with a brilliant guide through world history in search of the early adopters of written constitutions--a thoroughly enjoyable read!--Mary Sarah Bilder, author of Madison's Hand
Copiously researched and elegantly written, Colley's treatise goes beyond the usual Anglo-American focus of constitutional history to show the global impact of the constitutionalist movement. The result is a fresh and illuminating take on these still-living documents.--Publishers Weekly