America: The Story of Us


America The Story of Us is a groundbreaking series that brings to life the epic story of our nation in a new way for a new generation. The companion book, America The Story of Us is a history that is at once penetrating and lively, elegant and authoritative; great for serious reading as it is for casual skimming. America The Story of Us brings to life the vast forces that shaped this remarkable country and the ways in which revolutions in technology and transportation altered the way Americans lived, made money,...
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America The Story of Us is a groundbreaking series that brings to life the epic story of our nation in a new way for a new generation. The companion book, America The Story of Us is a history that is at once penetrating and lively, elegant and authoritative; great for serious reading as it is for casual skimming. America The Story of Us brings to life the vast forces that shaped this remarkable country and the ways in which revolutions in technology and transportation altered the way Americans lived, made money, and fought one another. Explored in these pages is the struggle between settlers and Native Americans; the epic conflict of slavery, from cotton gin to Civil War; the creation of the transcontinental railroad alongside the thundering herds of buffalo across the West; and how American ingenuity and determination both carried us through the Great Depression and won the Second World War. Beginning with Jamestown and Plymouth Bay, the first successful British colonies on the mainland, the book highlights the landmark moments in political, social, economic, and military history, from the prototypical entrepreneur John Rolfe and his tobacco seeds to Barack Obama and the seeds of change, from the Model T to the moon landing. Written by novelist, historian, and journalist Kevin Baker (a key contributor to The American Century, by Harold Evans), the narrative shares the TV series- eye for the dramatic moment in U.S. history-there is danger, action, struggle-while adding new layers of detail and nuance. America The Story of Us is decisive and essential, the story of the country that every family will want to own.

Foreword by President Obama

A stunning companion piece for the most anticipated HISTORY broadcast of all time, includes 412 heavily illustrated pages featuring over 300 full color images and layers of information including “charticles,” graphics, photographs, and text.

The adventure that became a nation – the complete history of the US has not been told for 40 years.

AMERICA the Story of Us is an exuberant, unprecedented look at the invention of America focusing on how events small and large are intrinsically linked to the exploration and innovation, leading us from the frontier to 21st century cities, from the Mississippi to the moon, from Jamestown to 9/11 up to present day. Moving though time and space linking key events, people and locations, capturing the vast sweep of American history— bringing viewers on a journey through the forces that shaped the destiny of America.

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  • America: The Story of Us
    America: The Story of Us  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ever since its first settlers came for freedom and wealth, America has always boasted a rambunctious, idiosyncratic population. In this poppy illustrated history, historian Baker even-handedly reveals how we gained independence, acquired vast territory, and made monumental industrial and technological advances while overcoming tragedies of war, civil and labor unrest, economic depression, and other grand challenges. Baker doesn't shy away from the darker corners of American history, and the origins and expansion of the slave trade, brutality towards Native Americans, and exploitation of land for profit are all covered here. As produced by the A&E network, this is a glossy, highly-accessible survey of the great American experiment from 1497 to today, full of eye-catching photography, charts, maps, highlighted text, and historical documents (there's not a single page free of some graphic element). If every history text was as lively as America, everyone would know our story. Illus. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

“The most in-depth series they’ve ever produced HISTORY’S history.”

“Visually thrilling.” — THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781422983430
  • Publisher: A&E Home Entertainment
  • Publication date: 9/14/2010
  • Pages: 412
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Baker

Kevin Baker was born in August 1958, in Englewood, New Jersey, and grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, a small town on the North Shore. He graduated from Columbia University in New York City in 1980, and since then has earned his living as a writer and editor.

His first novel, Sometimes You See It Coming, based loosely on the life of Ty Cobb, but set in the modern day, was published in hardcover by Crown in 1993 and in paperback by HarperPaperbacks in the spring of 2003. Dreamland, part of Baker’s New York‚ City of Fire trilogy was published by HarperCollins in 1999, and in paperback the following year. Paradise Alley was published by HarperCollins in 2002, and the third and final volume of the trilogy, Strivers Row, which was published in February, 2006. Kevin was the chief historical researcher on Harold Evans’ best–selling history, The American Century,published by Knopf in 1999. He wrote the monthly “In the News” column for American Heritage magazine from 1998-2007, and has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Frankfurter Rundschau, Harper’s magazine, Talk, and The Industry Standard, among other publications.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: RISE OF THE PATRIOTS In 1607 a small group of English travelers lands in Jamestown. Thirteen years later the Pilgrims settle in New England. These men and women are all driven by the promise of a new life: all face huge dangers from disease, starvation and war. A diverse group of men, women and children are about to become truly American.

Chapter 2: REVOLUTION! July 9 1776 the Declaration of Independence is read to jubilant crowds in New York. Offshore 500 ships bristling with soldiers and guns are massing. It is the largest British invasion force till D-Day. America’s thirteen colonies have taken on the might of the world’s leading superpower. American forces learn the hard way to master the landscape, new weapons, and unconventional battle tactics. And with this elite force, forged from the blood of his soldiers, Washington saps the strength of the British Army to prevail in what has become a titanic battle of wills. The British leave and The United States is born.

Chapter 3: WESTWARD

As the American nation is formed, a vast continent lies to the west of the mountains, waiting to be exploited. Yet this land is not empty – Native American Indians are spread across the land mass, as are Spanish and French explorers. For the pioneers who set out to confront the wilderness beyond the mountains, following trailblazers like Daniel Boone, the conquest of the West is a story of courage and hardship that shapes the character of America.

Chapter 4: SEEDS OF WAR

America becomes a nation at the moment a revolution in commerce and industry sweeps across the western world. This vast new country, rich in resources, experiences a rapid change - in trade, transport and manufacturing – quickly turning America into one of the wealthiest nations on earth richest nations on earth.

Chapter 5: CIVIL WAR

America has reached a crossroads in history: The strict discipline and unshakeable belief in their cause have welded Robert E Lee’s Confederate army into a formidable force. But the tide turns during a series of pivotal events: Following the battle of Antietam, the bloodiest ever on American soil, Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves forever; black men now join the Union army in droves; the industrial capacity of the North is harnessed; and new, aggressive, generals take charge. The industrial might which sees the Union prevail now leaves America poised to explode on the twentieth century as a global superpower.


In 1869, the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of America, more than two thousand miles apart, are linked by continuous metal rails. The Transcontinental Railroad – the world’s first - is the most ambitious human enterprise since the Great Wall of China, and much of it is built by Chinese laborers. The railroad doesn’t just change the lives of Americans, it alters the entire ecology of the continent – and there are casualties. In less than a quarter of a century, the West is won – not by the gun, but by the railroad, the fence, and the plough.

Chapter 7: CITY

In 1871 Chicago burns to the ground. From the ashes of the old a new kind of city rises as architects like William Jenney maximize space by building into the air. Their revolutionary designs are made possible by steel. Produced on a massive scale by Scottish immigrant Andrew Carnegie, steel production undergirds the infrastructure of the modern city – drawing rural migrants and newly arrived immigrant workers. Between 1890 and 1914, more than 15 million new immigrants arrive in America. Powered by steel and electricity, the city begins to be tamed and defined by mass transportation; stunning bridges; electric light...and the innovative, industrious American spirit.

Chapter 8: BOOM

In 1910 California, a column of oil and sand 20 feet high and 200 feet wide explodes out of a derrick and flows uncapped for 18 months. Los Angeles is growing rapidly, swallowing the desert and requiring an aqueduct to quench the city’s thirst. Abundant oil reserves in Pennsylvania, Texas and California open up a new way of life, driving a consumer revolution affecting all Americans. Henry Ford’s mass car production brings unprecedented individual mobility. Mass production and job opportunities prompted by the First World War draw African Americans to northern cities like Detroit. Such changes ignite conflict and race riots erupt in 26 cities. Prohibition triggers a rise in gangster activity, with Al Capone insisting he’s just supplying a public demand. Speakeasies, flappers and celebrities flourish. By 1928, 110 million movie tickets are sold a week to a total US population is 120 million. The future seems bright, but disaster looms...

Chapter 9: BUST

On 29 October 1929 the boom time of the Twenties crashes on Wall St. Over 16 million shares change hands that day – a record that stands for 40 years. The American Dream has become a nightmare. The Crash coincides with the start of the Great Depression. All but 10 of the 48 states are forced to close their banks in 1933, and $2 billion in deposits evaporate between 1929 and 1932. But new President Franklin D. Roosevelt starts to turn things around. The New Deal and public works projects save millions from starvation and unemployment. The Hoover Dam is constructed in the depths of the Great Depression. Built by 20,000 men, it’s the biggest dam project in the world when it opens – a true wonder of the industrial world.

Chapter 10: AMERICA AT WAR

1939. America is still mired in a ten year Depression, but U.S. involvement in the Second World War will make the nation economically prosperous again. The nation taps into the vast manufacturing reserves that have been idle for ten years: factories, electrical plants, railroads. The war gives jobs to seven million unemployed – half of them women. By 1944, the US is producing 40% of the world’s armaments. American tactics lead to the astonishing success of D Day. A new world order has been created. And America is more prosperous than ever before.

Chapters 11+12: THEN AND NOW

America’s most prominent faces; Presidents, political commentators, entertainers, athletes, technology gurus and historians share their personal perspective on the definitive moments in American history, and reflect on what has made us who we are. These prominent Americans will look at the defining moments from 1945 onwards and trace them back to their antecedents in earlier American history. The story of the domestic impact of the Cold War, how a new prosperity transformed domesticity, civil rights, the assassinations of Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., Vietnam, Watergate and the changing role of women. Following the theme of technological innovation, these chapters will look at how the U.S. landed humans on the moon and contributed to enormous technological inventions like the internet. It will also memorialize September 11th and explore the groundbreaking elected of an African-American President. Finally, it will look at what has endured through 400 years in the American character.

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