Misinformation Nation

Winner of the 2021-22 Research Society for American Periodicals Book Prize.

Runner-up, 2022 Journal of the American Revolution Book-of-the-Year.

The American Revolution was all about big ideas of liberty, freedom, and equality. Right?

Maybe not.

My book Misinformation Nation: Foreign News and the Politics of Truth in Revolutionary America makes the case that the American Revolution was based largely on false premises and misperception. It describes how the revolutionary generation tried to understand the world, and how they fought false news at every turn.

The book provides a prehistory, in a lot of ways, to our present social media-driven “post-truth” era defined by a mountain of so-called “fake news.” Disinformation may be news to some, but it’s not new. In fact, it’s an essential part of the story of how the American nation came into being.

It’s a good book! You should order it. You can also find my (many) tweets about the book here.

Table of Contents

Introduction. “any thing but the age of Reason”

Ch. 1: Foreign Advices and False Friends: The Mediation Revolution in British America

Ch. 2: Taxation with Misrepresentation: Fears of Deception in the Anglo-American Imperial Crisis

Ch. 3: The Lying Gazettes: News from London in Revolutionary Politics

Ch. 4: An Ocean of News: Independence, War, and Atlantic Information Exchange

Ch. 5: The Genius of Information: Scripting an Age of Revolutions

Ch. 6: The American Constellation: Dreams of a Continental Revolution

Ch. 7: Bentalou’s Wager: The French Revolution and the Birth of American Partisanship

Ch. 8: Unmaking the Revolutionary Caribbean: Race, Commerce, and Communication in the Early Republic

Ch. 9: The Fruits of Revolution: False News and the Eclipse of the Federalists

Epilogue: Tanguy’s Faithful Mirror

Appendix: A Note on Data Sources