From the Publisher
D. E. Vitale
Welcome to the first edition of The Early America Review. Many months of effort finally bears witness to the blood, sweat and tears (yes, there were times when I felt like crying!) of producing the Internet’s first historical journal of early America. To be specific, 18th century America.
Why the 18th century, and not the 17th or 19th? Because most of us are behind the curve on what we know about this unique period of our history, a time that can never again be duplicated. World-class personalities and events of great moment left their mark on a new nation, an imprint that survives to this day. Never were words more true: to know your roots is to know yourself.
We are a quarterly journal, an Internet-only magazine. We are also eclectic. We hope the historical scholar will find a comfortable place within our pages, alongside the “pop history” enthusiast. We hope that students and their teachers find things of value here. And a lot of other folks as well, all of whom have one common interest— the desire to know more about early America.
I believe we underestimate the “informed layperson.” Those individuals who do not as a matter of course read historical journals, any more than they read the professional journals of physicians, lawyers and accountants. Individuals, nonetheless, who appreciate and would welcome a publication offering articles about America during the 1700’s.
So what does eclectic really mean? It means that every edition of The Review will contain at least one academic paper written by a professional in a specific field of historical interest. It also means that each edition will contain stories offering a more popular approach, those with broad appeal.
As you may have noticed, our edition debuts with a Summer 1996 date. Unlike traditional print publications, we are not bound by the despotic tyranny of paper, ink and printing press. Because of the new paradigm offered by the Internet in general and the World Wide Web in particular, we will continue to add new articles, stories and features to the current edition. A reader flipping the pages of the Review two weeks from now may encounter new content that doesn’t exist in these pages today.
All of the content that appears in this Summer 1996 edition– including additional new material– will continue to appear until we publish the Fall issue. At that time the Fall issue will contain all new content. As a reference source for old and new readers alike, we plan to archive all previous editions.
In the days and weeks to come we will be adding book reviews, commentaries, dissertations, 18th century American art and other features we hope will be worthy of your interest.
We intend be as interactive as it’s possible to be, given the nature and contents of The Review. As an example, this edition features a poem that is spoken aloud and you can listen to a personal introduction by two of our authors.
Within its pages, The Review rings up what is probably another Internet first, an interactive crossword puzzle. Its subject is– what else?– early American history. Be forewarned: when you type in a wrong answer, you will be told about it in a solicitous yet unwavering voice.
Before you wander about, it might be a good idea to start with About This Edition for background on the current lineup…and also, what’s new since your last visit.
I should also point out that the Cover Page of The Review functions as its Table of Contents. Click on each item to go to that place in the magazine.
And, lest I forget, the Review does not subscribe to the No-Longer-Than-1700-Words format taken up by many Internet publications. I suspect it’s part of the “less is better” approach, namely, if you read less of something, you’re able to read more of everything else. According to this theory, today’s reader won’t take the time to wade through any more than 6 or 7 paragraphs on any subject, no matter how compelling.
Our view runs counter to that thinking. If an academic paper is submitted that we feel is of interest to our readers….and it runs 18,000 words….we’ll run it. I don’t believe the informed individual is put off by an 18,000-word opus if it offers the right stuff. On the other hand, if a letter (from Jefferson to James Madison) is 550 words long, and merits attention, we’ll run that also.
In Internet lingo I suppose I’d have to describe The Review as moving out of its alpha stage, and coming into beta. If you’re in alpha, you’re like a car without an engine. When you push it downhill, it goes; and you can always sit inside and listen to the stereo. If you’re in beta, the engine’s in place but the brakes squeal, the steering wheel’s loose and the windshield wipers keep falling off. So….where’s the Review? We’ve just installed the engine and now we’re ready to see if it all works.
And, finally, there are those Netizens who, I’m told, are able to stare in front of a monitor until their eyes bleed. For those who do not belong in that camp, I am happy to report that you can download all of the contents of The Review for viewing at a later time. At present each article or feature must be downloaded on an individual basis. For those who want all of it at once ….we’re working on it.
After you download a story, you can then read it off-line at your leisure, either on-screen or by printing it out (if you have a printer). To download a story you go to File and click on Save As. When the download is completed, at that point you are…..as they say…..in business.