Today is the day you’ve all been waiting for with eager anticipation–the official unveiling of the Junto’s March Madness bracket! Thank you to all who nominated books yesterday–this whole project wouldn’t have been possible without it.
The response to yesterday’s call for nominations was overwhelming, with over 150 books receiving nominations, and over half of those receiving more than one mention. As such, The Junto’s Selection Committee had a difficult task whittling down the nominees to a bracket of 64, and an even tougher time organizing it into something resembling the NCAA tournament.
(Side note: I will never be so swift to criticize the work of the basketball seeding committee ever again). We ultimately fixed on the following principles:
1) Seeds 1 through 8 in each bracket were decided on the basis of the number of votes (or “seconds”) each book received.
2) One book per historian.
3) Books were not assigned to Brackets 1, 2, 3 or 4 on any particular basis other than the potential for interesting conversation.
4) For seeds 9 through 16, we simply tried to create matchups that would spark discussion.
In case the principles outlined above didn’t make it clear, this is designed to be frivolous and fun. I repeat . . . THIS IS MEANT TO BE FUN. If any subfields or subtopics seem underrepresented, it is simply because the sample size of persons nominating the books was very small in relation to the size of the field. We’re not out to find the “best” book in early American history; we simply want to have fun, interesting and informative conversations about early American historiography.
So, when voting, please keep that in mind. Don’t vote for the book you necessarily think is the “best,” but which one is your favorite of the two.
Starting on Monday, we will be using polls placed here at the Junto to allow you to choose the winner for any given match-up. The rules are simple: the book with the most votes proceeds to the next round; we’ll continue until there’s only one book left standing.
Voting will proceed according to the following schedule:
Round One (Round of 64)
Monday, March 25th – Brackets 1 and 2
Tuesday, March 26th – Brackets 3 and 4
Wednesday, March 27th – Recap
Round Two (Round of 32)
Thursday, March 28th – Brackets 1 and 2
Friday, March 29th – Brackets 3 and 4
Monday, April 1st – Recap
Sweet 16 / Elite 8
Tuesday, April 2nd – Sweet 16
Wednesday, April 3rd – Elite 8
Thursday, April 4th – Recap
Friday, April 5th
Monday, April 8th
1. Edmund Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom (1) vs Patrick Griffin, American Leviathan (16)
2. Winthrop Jordan, White Over Black (2) vs Richard Brown, Knowledge Is Power (15)
3. Jack Greene, Pursuits of Happiness (3) vs Holly Brewer, By Birth or Consent (14)
4. Gregory Dowd, A Spirited Resistance (4) vs. Nathan Hatch, The Democratization of American Christianity (13)
5. Andrew O’Shaughnessy, An Empire Divided (5) vs. Clare Lyons, Sex Among The Rabble (12)
6. Paul Johnson and Sean Wilentz, The Kingdom of Matthias (6) vs. Mark Noll, America’s God (11)
7. Richard Godbeer, The Sexual Revolution in Early America (7) vs. Jon Butler, Awash In A Sea of Faith (10)
8. Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello (8) vs. Eugene Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll (9)
1. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale (1) vs. John Mack Farragher, Men and Women on the Overland Trail (16)
2. Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (2) vs. Michael Warner, Letters of the Republic (15)
3. Catherine Allgor, Parlor Politics (3) vs. Joanne Freeman, Affairs of Honor (14)
4. Woody Holton, Forced Founders (4) vs. Robert Gross, The Minutemen and Their World (13)
5. Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic (5) vs. David Waldstreicher, In The Midst of Perpetual Fetes (12)
6. James Merrell, Into The American Woods (6) vs. Peter Onuf, The Mind of Thomas Jefferson (11)
7. Daniel Richter, Facing East From Indian Country (7) vs. Gary Nash, Urban Crucible (10)
8. Alfred Young, The Shoemaker and the Tea Party (8) vs. Rhys Isaac, The Transformation of Virginia (9)
1. William Cronon, Changes In The Land (1) vs. Susan Scott Parrish, American Curiosity (16)
2. Kathleen Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches and Anxious Patriarchs (2) vs.David Shields, Civil Tongues and Polite Letters (15)
3. T.H. Breen, The Marketplace of Revolution (3) vs. Richard Bushman, The Refinement of America (14)
4. Trish Loughran, The Republic In Print (4) vs. Seth Rockman, Scraping By (13)
5. Max Edling, A Revolution In Favor of Government (5) vs. Drew McCoy, The Elusive Republic (12)
6. Charles Sellers, The Market Revolution (6) vs. Catherine Brekus, Sarah Osborn’s World (11)
7. Peter Wood, Black Majority (7) vs. Marcus Rediker, The Slave Ship (10)
8. Maya Jasanoff, Liberty’s Exiles (8) vs. David Hall, Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgement (9)
1. Alan Taylor, William Cooper’s Town (1) vs. David Hackett Fischer, Washington’s Crossing (16)
2. Ira Berlin, Many Thousands Gone (2) vs. Monica Najar, Evangelizing the South (15)
3. Jill Lepore, The Name of War (3) vs. Peter Silver, Our Savage Neighbors (14)
4. Pekka Hamalainen, The Comanche Empire (4) vs. James Brooks, Captives and Cousins (13)
5. Richard White, The Middle Ground (5) vs. Kathleen DuVal, The Native Ground (12)
6. Walter Johnson, Soul by Soul (6) vs. Anne Hyde, Empires, Nations and Families (11)
7. Ann Martin, Buying Into The World Of Goods (7) vs. Mary Beth Norton, Liberty’s Daughters (10)
8. Rosemarie Zagarri, Revolutionary Backlash (8) vs. Eric Foner, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men (9)
(Compare to here to see the seeding order we followed, with the top seed as the first listed, and the second seed in the last matchup.)