American History: A Very Short Introductionby Paul S. Boyer
In a miracle of concision, Paul S. Boyer provides a wide-ranging and authoritative history of America, capturing in a compact space the full story of our nation. Ranging from the earliest Native American settlers to the presidency of Barack Obama, this Very Short Introduction offers an illuminating account of politics, diplomacy, and war as well as the full
In a miracle of concision, Paul S. Boyer provides a wide-ranging and authoritative history of America, capturing in a compact space the full story of our nation. Ranging from the earliest Native American settlers to the presidency of Barack Obama, this Very Short Introduction offers an illuminating account of politics, diplomacy, and war as well as the full spectrum of social, cultural, and scientific developments that shaped our country.
Here is a masterful picture of America's achievements and failures, large-scale socio-historical forces, and pivotal events. Boyer sheds light on the colonial era, the Revolution and the birth of the new nation; slavery and the Civil War; Reconstruction and the Gilded Age; the Progressive era, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression; the two world wars and the Cold War that followed; right up to the tragedy of 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the epoch-making election of Barack Obama. Certain broad trends shape much of the narrativeimmigration, urbanization, slavery, continental expansion, the global projection of U.S. power, the centrality of religion, the progression from an agrarian to an industrial to a post-industrial economic order. Yet in underscoring such large themes, Boyer also highlights the diversity of the American experience, the importance of individual actors, and the crucial role of race, ethnicity, gender, and social class in shaping the contours of specific groups within the nation's larger tapestry. And along the way, he touches upon the cultural milestones of American history, from Tom Paine's The Crisis to Allen Ginsberg's Howl.
American History: A Very Short Introduction is a panoramic history of the United States, one that covers virtually every topic of importanceand yet can be read in a single day.
Meet the Author
Paul S. Boyer was Merle Curti Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A leading authority on American history, his writings span the social origins of the Salem witchcraft outbreak to the cultural impact of the atomic bomb and the political implications of Bible prophecy belief in contemporary America. A history textbook author and editor of reference works, including The Oxford Companion to United States History, he published in many general-interest periodicals. He also appeared on PBS, BBC, the History Channel, and the Discovery Channel, and lectured at some 100 colleges and universities in the United States, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia, and Switzerland.
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America is one of the most fascinating and influential countries in the history of the World. For a while now it has been recognized as a singularly important country in the World, be it in terms of its economic and military power, its cultural influence, or its remarkable scientific and technological advances. This is that much more remarkable considering that America is a relatively young country – as a nation it has only existed for close to a quarter of a millennium, and as an distinct political and cultural entity for perhaps a couple of centuries longer. This pales in comparison to any other major nation in the world, some of whose histories extend for several millennia. Nonetheless, America boasts of a rich and interesting history. This very short introduction to American history aims to give a highlight of all the major historical developments over the last four centuries or so. It is for the most part a very accessible and digestible account. People who are already well familiar with American history will find a lot of information in here that they had already been exposed to in other settings. The first two thirds of the book or so is just a very straightforward and clearly written rehash of the main events and developments in American history. Unfortunately as the book progresses it becomes increasingly tendentious and ideological. This is first manifested by the choice of topic covered (more and more space given to special grievance groups beloved by the liberal academics), then by the tendentious characterization of events and policies (liberal ones are always virtuous and “progressive,” while the opposition to them comes from the misguided conservatives), to the downright falsehood and lies that have been discredited many times by all objective sources, but have become articles of faith by the left (Bush himself never declared “Mission Accomplished,” there was no torture at Guantanamo Bay). The latter parts of the book read like a laundry list of highlights from the editorial pages of the New York Times or Huffington Post. They are not serious works of historiography by any measure. This is why I am unable to recommend this book to anyone interested in getting an objective and serious account of American history.