What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Howe is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book that offers a synthesis history of the early-nineteenth-century United States. It starts with the end of the War of 1812 and ends with the invention of the telegraph. The book interweaves accounts of national politics, new communication technologies, emergent religions, and mass reform movements to provide a comprehensive narrative of the period. It was published in 2007 as part of the Oxford History of the United States series.
The title of the book is taken from a phrase in the Book of Numbers (Numbers 23:23) that Samuel Morse used as the first phrase ever transmitted electronically.
The main themes of the book are the transformation of America between 1815 and 1848, the communications revolution of the nineteenth century, and the political and cultural history of the United States. It also highlights the relevance of the past to the present, with its emphasis on the communications revolution of the nineteenth century seeming to echo “the internet age of the 21st.”
What I Liked
The book is amazing. It’s not only an incredible work of history, but it covers an overlooked era in American history.
I love how he shows that while every era is different in its own way, there is something intrinsic about America that repeats over and over.
What I Did Not Like
I mean – it’s long, like door-stop long. I actually read the second half as an audiobook (which is also well done).