A Patriot's A to Z of America: Things Every Good American Should Know

Overview

America is a nation of firsts, from its pioneering innovation in technology and science to its politics, social affairs, and culture. But despite its intriguing and unique history, many Americans aren't as well-versed as they think they are when it comes to knowledge of the monumental events, people, and ideas that shaped this revolutionary country. Chock-full of surprising snippets of history you should know about, A Patriot's A to Z of America: Things Every Good American Should Know is the eye-opening remedy ...

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Overview

America is a nation of firsts, from its pioneering innovation in technology and science to its politics, social affairs, and culture. But despite its intriguing and unique history, many Americans aren't as well-versed as they think they are when it comes to knowledge of the monumental events, people, and ideas that shaped this revolutionary country. Chock-full of surprising snippets of history you should know about, A Patriot's A to Z of America: Things Every Good American Should Know is the eye-opening remedy for every aspiring good American, featuring heroic events and creative individuals who surmounted great difficulties to achieve great things going to the moon, wiring the planet, defeating the Nazis, setting up the first large democratic republic, and largely banishing starvation overseas achievements of which no other nation can boast. Organized from A to Z, these exceptional tales are America's to tell and for you to discover.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The best description of America I’ve ever seen. Like Americans and their history, Moser’s writing is both brief and deep, sharp though blunt, and clear-sighted while still being starry- (and stripey-) eyed.” —P. J. O'Rourke

“A witty look at U.S. history.” Publishers Weekly, about The Politically Correct Guide to American History by Edward P. Moser

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596525498
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 11/15/2011
  • Pages: 302
  • Sales rank: 947,250
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Edward P. Moser has served as a speechwriter to President George H. W. Bush and writer for Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show. The author of the “Politically Correct Guide to” series, Edward has cowritten seven other books, and his articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. Edward earned his M.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University and his B.A. in journalism from SUNY at Albany. He resides in Alexandria, Virginia.

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Read an Excerpt

Presidents had no Secret Service, and often no bodyguards, back in 1881. So when an assassin with a loaded pistol stepped up to President Garfield at a downtown Washington train depot that July, the Chief Executive had no defense. Shot twice at point-blank range, Garfield was soon fighting for his life.
Yankee ingenuity emerged, as some of the country’s best thinkers fought to save the President’s life. A team of Navy engineers put together a prototype air-conditioner to blow cool air over the sweating, bedridden Garfield. In trying to locate and remove a bullet buried in Garfield’s abdomen, doctors turned to a 34-year-old scientist, who quickly devised the first metal detector.
Due to the metal in the President’s bed frame, the detector failed in its task. But Americans saddened by the Garfield tragedy thought back with pride to the scientist’s great triumph in Boston five years before.

A Master of Speech Trains with the Deaf
The man, named Aleck, born and raised in Scotland, had accompanied his family to Canada in 1870 after a tragedy of his own. Both his brothers had died of tuberculosis, and he himself had contracted the disease. His father took his son Aleck, along with the rest of the family, to recuperate in Ontario.
Adept in many fields, Aleck was a noted instructor of sign language to deaf-mute students. After regaining his health, he traveled to Boston, and in 1872 set up the School of Vocal Physiology and Mechanics of Speech.
Communication skills ran deep in his family. His grandfather was an actor. His father was the author of a well-known book on teaching the deaf to lip-read and to speak. His mother, though herself deaf, was a skilled pianist.
As a youth, Aleck and a friend constructed, from scraps of rubber and wood, a toy robot that could enunciate words like “mama.” Playing with the family terrier, Aleck got it to make English-like sounds by manipulating its vocal chords and lips. In Boston, one of his handicapped students was the blind-and-deaf child turned author, Helen Keller. He spent much of his free time tinkering with telegraphs and other electrical devices.
Long-distance communications were then in the hands of the telegraph companies, who were eager to cut costs by finding a way of sending multiple messages at once. In 1873, Aleck decided to focus on his research in that field. He cut back his students to two: six-year-old Georgie Sanders and 15-year-old Mabel Hubbard—the fathers of both girls bankrolled his extracurricular work.
Laboring for long hours in his workshop, nagged by headaches, Aleck came upon a new way of communication by wire—with the human voice.

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Table of Contents

Introduction    xiii
Apollo: The Missions to the Moon    1
Arlington: The Nation’s Cemetery    7
Clara Barton: Angel of the Battlefield    11
Alexander Graham Bell: “Innovator:
Get Me Long Distance”    17
Norman Borlaug: He Saved More Lives than        
Any Other American    21
The Cajuns: South to America    25
The Chosin Reservoir: Winter Heroics
in War-Torn Korea    29
Inventing the Computer: Mauchly and Eckert    33
The Constitution: A Federal Blueprint    37
D-Day: Invasion of Europe    41
The Declaration of Independence:
A Separate Nation    45
Walt Disney: Theme Parks and Fantasy            
Films    51
Frederick Douglass: Ride to Freedom    55
George Eastman: Instant, Easy, and Cheap
Creation of Pictures    61
Thomas Alva Edison: Inventor of the
Modern World    65
Ellis Island: Immigrant Epicenter    69
A Federal Bank: To Be or Not to Be    73
Food in the U.S.A.: As American as Avocado Pizza    79
Henry Ford: Personal Transport for All    85
Robert Fulton: From Ancient Sail to Modern
Steam    89
The Wild Battle of Gettysburg: A Turning
Point    93
Robert Goddard: Rocket Man    97
The Gold Rush Creates the Golden State    101
Hamilton and Jefferson: Differing Visions    105
J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI: The G-Men    109
The Interstate Highway System: Ribbons of Roads    113
William Le Baron Jenney: Skyscraper Creator    117
Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan:
Teaching the Blind to See    121
Martin Luther King, Jr. and the
“I Have a Dream” Speech    125
Lewis and Clark: Expedition for the Ages    129
Lincoln’s Addresses: Words from a Peerless
Statesman    135
Charles Lindbergh : Pioneer of Long-Distance
Flight    141
The Louisiana Purchase: The Greatest Real Estate
Deal    145
The Manhattan Project: Building a Bigger Bomb    149
Justice John Marshall: Supreme Interpreter of the
Constitution    155
Cyrus McCormick: Mechanized Farming
Feeds a Nation    159
The Battle of Midway: A Miracle Halfway
Across the Ocean    163
Samuel Morse: Original Instant Messaging    167
American Music: Kings of Swing and Rhythm    173
National Debt: In the Red    177
The National Parks: Yosemite and Beyond    181
Frederick Law Olmstead: Country in the City    185
The Panama Canal: Between Pacific and Atlantic    189
Edgar Allan Poe: Creator of Literary Genres    193
James K. Polk: Underrated Chief Executive    197
Quarterbacks and Knickerbockers: The National
Pastimes of Sports    201
Religion in America: A Multiplicity of Sects    207
John D. Rockefeller: King of Industry,
Controversy, and Philanthropy    211
Dr. Jonas Salk: Ending the Blight of Polio    217
Sequoyah: The Alphabet and the Trail of Tears    221
The Star-Spangled Banner: Nation’s Emblem and National Anthem    225
The Statue of Liberty: Freedom’s Symbol    229
The First Thanksgivings: Bounty’s Gratitude    233
The Transcontinental Railroad: Ties That Bind    237
United Flight 93: Heroes of 9-11    243
Victory at New Orleans: Old Hickory’s Motley Crew    247
The Wright Brothers: First to Fly    251
XI Corps and General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall”
Jackson: Defeat by the Master of Stealth and Surprise    255
The Battle of Yorktown: The World Turned
Upside Down    261
The Zenger Trial: Freedom of Expression    265
Bibliography    269
 

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 22, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    This book has a lot of detail on military history, social reformers, inventions and science, and political leaders. Reads more like a novel than a history book; the author knows how to make events from long ago very interesting. The sections on Lincoln's speeches, MLKing, and Lewis and Clark's journeys are among those that gripped my attention, and taught me things I hadn't known.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 20, 2011

    Loved it & I learned many new things

    This book highlights events, heroic people and discoveries that have been the American experience since the days of our founding fathers. The author has a knack for uncovering many interesting facts I had not known relating to many of these well known events & people. I bought additional copies to place in my kids Christmas stockings as I know they'll love it too.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 4, 2011

    Riveting, and information-packed

    A Patriot's A to Z of America is a riveting primer for everyone interested in this nation's past, featuring heroic events and creative individuals who surmounted great difficulties to accomplish great things--traveling to the moon, defeating the Nazis, wiring the planet, setting the first large democratic republic, and largely banishing starvation overseas, among many other feats.

    From the Apollo moon missions to the nation¿s food and music to the landmark Zenger free speech trial, this information-packed book, organized from A to Z, reveals many exceptional tales.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 6, 2011

    Must read!

    This books really runs the gamut, from politics and warfare to the
    history of medical science and engineering in America, even music,
    even landscape architecture! And the style is conversational and
    fast-paced, probably not what you remember from your dull history
    class in school. I enjoyed in particular the sections on the Manhattan
    Project, Frederick Douglass, and the Apollo moon program.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 3, 2012

    A Welcome Relief

    The American ¿Declinest¿ industry is thriving these days, led by liberal cheerleaders like Thomas Friedman and faux conservatives like Fareed Zakaria who use the rise of the global economy as a basis for sweeping statements about historic change that in their eyes should create a new form of American self-knowledge. Moser¿s book gives a welcome respite to that overreaching chant and educates us with stories familiar and new about what the American spirit has been and still is. The book is full of surprises, like the chapter on John Mockley, the real inventor of the modern computer, who worked not in Silicon Valley, but in Washington DC

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2011

    Thumbs up!

    I read this book, along with my eleven-year-old son. We both enjoyed learning obscure facts about historical events and figure and as a home schooling family, this book is an excellent resource to begin conversations about history. This book will be our "go-to" history resource!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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