Historian and cultural critic Thaddeus Russell asks a simple and shocking question with his new book, <i>A Renegade History of The United States</i> – what if Americans owe their modern social freedoms to their least desirable social classes? Taking Howard Zinn’s revisionism to even less mainstream conclusions, Russell provides an overview of American history through the eyes of criminals and outcasts. His take on social development – labeled “ultrarevisionist” by some in academia – has gained Russell considerable notoriety. And although he was widely acknowledged as a popular professor at Barnard, Columbia, and the New School University, many of his harshest critics come from the academic left. He has credited prostitution, not feminism, for modern women’s rights, and praises organized crime for promoting social freedoms now taken for granted, including legal alcohol, birth control, and gay rights. His most controversial position – that slaves were more socially liberated than slaveholders – places A Renegade History of The United States squarely outside conventional historical analysis. Known as ”Bad Thad” on campus, Russell has created a scholarly work guaranteed to expand his notoriety far beyond the academic community.
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