Cover image for The story of America : freedom and crisis from settlement to superpower
Title:
The story of America : freedom and crisis from settlement to superpower
Author:
Weinstein, Allen.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : DK Pub. Co., 2002.
Physical Description:
688 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
General Note:
"An Agincourt Press production."

"With contributions by James Axtell ... [et al.]"--Cover, P. [4].

Includes index.
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780789489036
Format :
Book

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E179 .W454 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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E179 .W454 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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E179 .W454 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

An insightful, informative, and entertaining volume with contributions by Pulitzer Prize winning authors. The Story of America presents the history of the United States not as a parade of facts and dates but as a story with twists and turns, heroes and villains, lovers, saints -- and even some comic relief. With the help of more than two dozen eminent colleagues, many of them Pulitzer Prize-winners, Allen Weinstein and David Rubel give you American history from Columbus to the present not as you've studied it before, but as Americans lived it at the time. It's a fascinating way to understand how America became a world power and the ways in which the nation's past continue to impact its present. With hundreds of brilliant images, and prose as captivating as that of any good novel, The Story of America fills in the blanks in your education with tales and observations that delight as they inform.


Author Notes

Allen Weinstein is the president of The Center for Democracy, a winner of the United Nations Peace Medal, and the author of several books, including the American Book Award nominee Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case. He has held professorships at Smith College, Georgetown, and Boston University. David Rubel is the president of Agincourt Press and the author of many books on American history, including The Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times.


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

As does every one-volume history of the U.S. worth reading, this one picks and sticks to a central organizing principle, which is to illustrate the major events and crises in American history with a single, in-depth narrative and let all else related to that major event cluster around the story in sidebars, profiles, and thousands of pictures. There are 26 such narratives, and the first few, such as those concerning the Salem witch trials and the Boston massacre, are self-contained with faint echoing in subsequent chapters. But topics such as slavery, the fate of the Indians, the Civil War, or capital versus labor sound down through the decades, and the authors' judicious selection of story carries the reader, via the vehicle of particular people and their passions, upon the wider theme. Nat Turner serves as the central story for slavery; the infamous Triangle fire of 1911 for labor. The prose may be ruthlessly economical, but it is also high quality, on target, and concise and opens the American historical panorama for new discoverers. The visually oriented among them will be especially enticed. --Gilbert Taylor


Publisher's Weekly Review

An alternative title for this might be "The Treasury of American History" as it's an anthology of our nation's favorite stories: Lewis and Clark's expedition, Nat Turner' s revolt, Custer's last stand, Lindbergh's trans-Atlantic flight, and Nixon' s Watergate scandal. If the stories are familiar, the format-at least for the pre-Internet generation-is new. Adapting Web site dynamics to the printed page, the designers enhance the text with sidebars and photographic collages. The stories themselves mimic the skip-and-jump of Web narratives. Nat Turner's revolt opens with slaves plotting an uprising, then steps back to discuss the origins of slavery in the South before returning to the failed revolt and its aftermath. Readers with an above-average attention span may find the chronological shifts jolting and the cluttered pages distracting; but the book never becomes tiresome. Taken together, the stories advance two themes. Weinstein, who heads the Center for Democracy, portrays our nation's history as the crisis-ridden spread of freedom through American society and outward to rest of the world. At the same time, the authors emphasize the key role of individuals; the vivid profiles of Great Men (and Women), contributed by today's leading historians (such as Joseph Ellis and Geoffrey Ward), reinforce this message. With its lively storytelling and thorough coverage of our nation's first five centuries, this truly is a treasury. 2,000 illus. (Oct.) Forecast: Appealing as this volume is, it may have a tough time competing with Joy Hakim's Freedom: A History of US (an adult version of her acclaimed and bestselling children's series), available from Oxford University Press in October, which will receive major media coverage. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Both of these works provide a refreshing approach to narrative histories of the United States. Weinstein (Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case), the founder and president of the Center for Democracy, and juvenile author Rubel here offer a college-level work that revolves around 26 events from American history, beginning with Corts and Moctezuma and concluding with September 11, 2001. This approach allows the authors to contextualize events by describing a period in greater detail than in a broad overview. This thematic approach is nicely supplemented by a broad array of illustrative material, ranging from cartoons to contemporary maps, and both the layout and the graphic design are aesthetically pleasing. Each chapter is supplemented by a two-page biographical essay written by a well-regarded historian (e.g., Elliot West, Joseph Ellis, and Robert Dallek). Hakim's Freedom: A History of Us is the companion to the PBS series set to air in January 2003 and is loosely based on her popular ten-volume series, A History of Us. Hakim, a former reporter, editor, and teacher, was reportedly so appalled by the history texts her grandchildren were reading in junior high school that she set out to write her own. Her book is an extraordinary departure from the typical text found in most public schools. Her voice resonates throughout, and her tone is that of a knowledgeable but opinionated maternal figure who doesn't let every detail keep her from crafting a great story. Her work too is copiously illustrated. Although written for different audiences, both of these books are highly recommended for public libraries.-Daniel Liestman, Florida Gulf Coast Univ. Lib. Svcs., Ft. Myers (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Despite the authors' claims to the contrary, this book is indeed a textbook, both in form and in content. It offers a broad look at US history from the time of first contact through September 11, 2001. Weinstein and Rubel (both of whom have written extensively on US history) have wisely chosen not to emulate a typical textbook by attempting to cover every event that occurred during this time period. Instead, the authors provide narrative coverage of 26 significant episodes in US history in a fluid, engaging manner. Their selections are drawn more from political and diplomatic history than from social or cultural history. In all cases, the authors nicely frame their topics and set them into good historical context. They offer the right amount of detail for undergraduates and bolster their pages with numerous pictures, photos, cartoons, and other memorabilia. Occasional two-page biographies of notable people, written by highly respected historians, add greatly to the book by broadening the topics covered and briefly introducing readers to some important players in US history. Summing Up: Recommended. All public, community college, and undergraduate libraries. D. B. Burk New York University