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The Postcolonial Genius of Unbecoming British

The Postcolonial Genius of Unbecoming British Review Essay HARVEY R. NEPTUNE Unbecoming British: How Revolutionary America Became A Postcolonial Nation. By Kariann Akemi Yokota. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. PP. xiv 354, illus. Cloth $34.95.) Kariann A. Yokota has written a first book of remarkable portent. Precociously well crafted, this study of commodity consumption among the patriotic elite in the early republic subverts professional North Americanist historiography through a stunningly simple yet major premise: Citizens of the newly independent United States, the author assumes, faced challenges that made them for the most part just ``[l]ike people of other nations emerging from colonialism'' (8). By virtue of this unexceptional approach, Unbecoming British conjures up an image of the republic's founding fathers that might be strange to the U.S. field but familiar to ´ the point of cliched in the study of other former colonies. In Yokota's account of the variegated trade between the young American country and its old European colonizers, the fresh patriots are shown cultivating desires--material, aesthetic, and intellectual--that reduce them to a kind of historic caricature, to quintessential ``mimic men.'' In other words, early U.S. nationalists, in other words, come across in this book as so pathetically consumed by insecurities and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

The Postcolonial Genius of Unbecoming British

Journal of the Early Republic , Volume 33 (2) – Apr 17, 2013

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620
Publisher site
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Abstract

Review Essay HARVEY R. NEPTUNE Unbecoming British: How Revolutionary America Became A Postcolonial Nation. By Kariann Akemi Yokota. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. PP. xiv 354, illus. Cloth $34.95.) Kariann A. Yokota has written a first book of remarkable portent. Precociously well crafted, this study of commodity consumption among the patriotic elite in the early republic subverts professional North Americanist historiography through a stunningly simple yet major premise: Citizens of the newly independent United States, the author assumes, faced challenges that made them for the most part just ``[l]ike people of other nations emerging from colonialism'' (8). By virtue of this unexceptional approach, Unbecoming British conjures up an image of the republic's founding fathers that might be strange to the U.S. field but familiar to ´ the point of cliched in the study of other former colonies. In Yokota's account of the variegated trade between the young American country and its old European colonizers, the fresh patriots are shown cultivating desires--material, aesthetic, and intellectual--that reduce them to a kind of historic caricature, to quintessential ``mimic men.'' In other words, early U.S. nationalists, in other words, come across in this book as so pathetically consumed by insecurities and

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Apr 17, 2013

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