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154 Canadian Review of American Studies Revue canadienne d etudes americaines H.L. Mencken voiced the new appreciation of the Pilgrim tradition even more directly: "show me a Puritan and I'll show you a son-of-a-bitch," Mencken wrote in a diatribe against the evils of religion (626). Ironically, as the popularity of wits like Mencken shows, America flipflopped from New England-philia to phobia. As the term melting pot gained currency in popular explanations of American society, the Statue of Liberty became the abiding symbol of America. Plymouth Rock became, at best, just another place where one group of immigrants came and, at worst, a beachhead for conquering bigots, prudes, and witch-burners. Seelye follows the popular history of the Rock in the years after the demise of the Henry Cabot Lodges in much less detail than in the years before when the Rock's tradition held sway. He does not deal with the steady counteroffensive on behalf of Puritanism mounted by professional historians in the years after World War Two. Nor should he. Seelye's history of Plymouth Rock is emphatically not a historiography of the Pilgrims or of Puritanism. Memory's Nation is far more sophisticated and far more consequential than a mere analysis of the ups, downs, and cycles of the thoughts of traditional scholarship. Seelye searches for Plymouth Rock in the soul of America not in the university classroom . It is a tough job to find out what a people think and why they think it. And, it is even tougher to tease out the relationship between the soul of a people and their history, literature, politics, and geography. Real popular culture, not the mindless nonsense created by the media to be popular culture , must be discerned in the icons of a society, its great as well as its tawdry literature, its high- and its lowbrow art, its lofty rhetoric and cliche-ridden speeches. Seelye penetrates all these and the results are astounding. Memory's Nation is a monument on the cultural landscape. Bruce C. Daniels University o{Winnipeg Patricia U. Bonomi. The Cornbury Scandal: The Politics of Reputation in British America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1998. Pp. ix + 290 and bibliography and 44 illustrations. Generations of historians have enlivened their lectures with the story of Lord Cornbury, the transvestite governor of New York and New Jersey, whose Book Reviews 155 personal deviance and political corruption seemingly epitomized the alleged shortcomings of English imperial governance. According to four letters written by three of Cornbury's contemporaries in New York, the governor dressed in women's clothing to review the troops in his provincial capital. This allegation was perpetuated over the years through hearsay and, most notably, through the portrait of a masculine-looking woman now in the collections of the New York Historical Society. That portrait bears a label, affixed in 1867, identifying its subject as Edward Hyde, Viscount Cornbury. In this brilliant, entertaining, and superbly illustrated book, Patricia U. Bonomi, arguably the foremost historian of colonial New York, reexamines Cornbury's life (1661-1723) and governorship (1702-1708) and insists that the meagre evidence against him be viewed in its proper historical context. After exhaustive research in public archives, private correspondence, contemporary satire, and the history of portraiture, Bonomi concludes that the Cornbury legend is a hoax. She argues persuasively that the governor's political enemies in New York fabricated the charges of cross-dressing and corruption, and that Whiggish Americar1historians later uncritically accepted their story, which served the larger purpose of denigrating British imperial rule and vindicating the American Revolution. She suggests that an unknown woman was probably the subject of the infamous portrait, which appears to have been painted in England decades after the death of the governor. This book is both a highly readable biography and a cogent analysis of the underside of Anglo-American politics in the later Stuart era. Born into a family of stalwart royalists who enjoyed the favour of the restored Stuart monarchs after 1660, Cornbury nevertheless supported William and Mary's accession to the throne in 1688, and William subsequently commissioned...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 154-156
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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