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America's Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation

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Overview

"Kenneth C. Davis, author of the phenomenal New York Times best seller Don't Know Much About History, presents a collection of stories, each detailing an overlooked episode that shaped the nation's destiny and character. Davis's dramatic narratives set the record straight, busting myths and bringing to light little-known but fascinating facts from a time when the nation's fate hung in the balance." Full of color, intrigue, and human interest, America's Hidden History is an iconoclastic look at America's past, connecting some of the dots between
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Overview

"Kenneth C. Davis, author of the phenomenal New York Times best seller Don't Know Much About History, presents a collection of stories, each detailing an overlooked episode that shaped the nation's destiny and character. Davis's dramatic narratives set the record straight, busting myths and bringing to light little-known but fascinating facts from a time when the nation's fate hung in the balance." Full of color, intrigue, and human interest, America's Hidden History is an iconoclastic look at America's past, connecting some of the dots between history and today's headlines, proving why Davis is truly America's teacher.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Kenneth C. Davis's Don't Know Much About History transformed the line of a Simon & Garfunkel lyric first into a resilient bestseller and then into a hit series. In America's Hidden History, he ventures into America's much-mythologized colonial history with the same light touch that made his earlier episodic narratives so popular.
Library Journal

Best-selling author Davis (Don't Know Much About History) here treats the "human factor" in American history, an ingredient often ignored by survey texts that stress dates, battles, and court decisions. With coverage from the 1519 arrival of the Spanish in the New World to George Washington's 1789 presidential inauguration, its central themes are the acquisition of wealth and land, the retention of political power, and the overarching force of religious fanaticism and its resulting conflict. Davis examines how the backfiring of a British plot to assassinate rebel leaders John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Joseph Warren perhaps saved the American Revolution's core leadership; how the Revolution's most successful officer, Benedict Arnold, came to be this nation's most despised traitor; and how Shays's Rebellion in January 1787 set the scene for the constitutional convention that met in Philadelphia that spring. With his witty and irreverent view of this country's Colonial and revolutionary past, he ably shows that the success or failure of isolated events can have national and international consequences. May we expect a sequel to this delightful effort? Recommended for Colonial and American Revolution collections in all libraries.
—John Carver Edwards

Richard M. Cohen
“Once again Ken Davis proves that what you don’t know can be shocking. Do yourself a favor. Read this book.”
Joy Hakim
“You’ll learn lots in this engaging book of true, and often important, stories from U.S. history. These aren’t the tales you’ll find in most textbooks.”
Ron Powers
“Writing from a rich font of scholarship, seasoning the facts with wit, irony and a novelist’s eye for telling detail, Kenneth C. Davis has conjured back to life some of the most fascinating figures of America’s founding decades. ”
Associated Press
PRAISE FOR AMERICA’S HIDDEN HISTORY: “[M]errily removes the whitewash from an often-bland concept of the past, peeling people from their statues with tales of how some of the most famous Americans of whom you never heard shaped our nation.”
Associated Press Staff
PRAISE FOR AMERICA’S HIDDEN HISTORY: “[M]errily removes the whitewash from an often-bland concept of the past, peeling people from their statues with tales of how some of the most famous Americans of whom you never heard shaped our nation.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061668029
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/29/2008
  • Pages: 288

Meet the Author

Kenneth C. Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of A Nation Rising; America's Hidden History; and Don't Know Much About® History, which spent thirty-five consecutive weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, sold more than 1.6 million copies, and gave rise to his phenomenal Don't Know Much About® series for adults and children. A resident of New York City and Dorset, Vermont, Davis frequently appears on national television and radio and has been a commentator on NPR's All Things Considered. He blogs regularly at www.dontknowmuch.com.

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Read an Excerpt

America's Hidden History
Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation

Chapter One

Isabella's Pigs

1469
Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon are married.

1492
The Reconquest (la reconquista) forces the last Moors out of Spain.

As part of a revived Inquisition, all Jews are forced to convert or leave Spain.

Christopher Columbus arrives in the Caribbean; he names Hispaniola (modern-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and founds the settlement of La Navidad.

1497
John Cabot, an Italian sailing for England, sights North America, probably around Newfoundland, and claims the territory for England.

1501
Amerigo Vespucci, sailing for Portugal, reaches the South American coast. Upon his return, he writes to his patron, Lorenzo de' Medici, that he has voyaged to a "new world." A mapmaker attaches Amerigo's name to the New World.

1509
Henry VIII is crowned king of England and marries Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella.

1516
King Ferdinand dies; Charles I, grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella, inherits the Spanish throne.

1528
Pánfilo de Narváez, accompanied by Cabeza de Vaca, leads a Spanish attempt to conquer Florida.

1531
King Henry VIII divorces Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn. In 1534, the Act of Supremacy declares the king to be the head of the Church of England, completing the break with Rome.

1536
John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion is published, expanding the Protestant Reformation.

1539-1543
Hernando de Soto leads a Spanish army through the Southeast; de Soto dies on the banks of the Mississippi on May 21, 1542.

1553
Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, becomes queen of England. In 1554, she marries Philip II, the future king of Spain, but dies childless in 1558.

1556
Philip II becomes king of Spain.

1558
Queen Elizabeth I succeeds her half sister Queen Mary.

1564
French Huguenots establish Fort Caroline near the St. Johns River in Florida.

1565
St. Augustine, Florida, founded.

Fort Caroline massacre.

1588
The Spanish Armada is defeated by a smaller British fleet.

America's Hidden History
Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation
. Copyright © by Kenneth Davis. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

I Isabella's Pigs 1

II Hannah's Escape 37

III Washington's Confession 81

IV Warren's Toga 119

V Arnold's Boot 161

VI Lafayette's Sword 203

Acknowledgments 235

Notes 237

Bibliography 247

Index 261

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 67 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(29)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 68 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Review of "America's Hidden History"

    Kenneth Davis reveals tales unheard of in America's Hidden History. His revelations are both enlightening and intriguing. Most of us remember what we were taught in History classes, but there are many things in Mr. Davis' book that are not in our school textbooks.

    For instance, did you know George Washington signed a confession to a murder and started a war? Or that the French Huguenots were here before the Pilgrims? How about our foremothers, one of which a statue was erected in honor of her escape from Indians after scalping them? Did you know the Pilgrims and Indians did not really get along as well as it is depicted in our Thanksgiving stories?

    There are so many things to learn, even if they differ from what we were previously taught. A nation shaped by the things we still see today; greed, fighting, lying...the list is endless.

    In my opinion, this book was well worth the read and I wish it was required reading in the educational arena. This is the first book I have read by Mr. Davis, however I intend to read more of his work.

    26 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Unlike history books with names and dates, this book adds character and personality to the characters. I loved the detail that the author added to make the reader aware of the fact that women too helped to shape America.

    I was drawn to the book immediately because it had bits hidden treasures from America's history that you will not learn in history class. I am a firm believer that we must study history to prevent us from making the same mistakes as our ancestors.

    The author had the ability to give the reader a view of history in a new light. He adds personality to the characters that gave me a feeling of connection with those who helped shape America. They were not just people from the past, they were real with real families and real struggles. Yet they made a difference. America's Hidden History helps the reader to understand the choices made by the men and women from the past.

    Often women are overlooked in history. This book adds women such as Anne Hutchinson, Mary Rowland, and Hannah Dustin as being heroic and playing an important part in shaping America.

    In this amazing book you will read stories like:

    Spanning a period from the Spanish arrival in America to George Washington's inauguration in 1789, America's Hidden History details these episodes, among others:

    The story of the first real Pilgrims in America, who were wine-making French Huguenots, not dour English Separatists

    The coming-of-age story of Queen Isabella, who suggested that Columbus pack the moving mess hall of pigs that may have spread disease to many Native Americans

    The long, bloody relationship between the Pilgrims and Indians that runs counter to the idyllic scene of the Thanksgiving feast

    The little-known story of George Washington as a headstrong young soldier who committed a war crime, signed a confession, and started a war!

    The author sites his sources in the back of the book for the reader to take his research to a higher level.

    This book will give you an exciting and new look at history. It spans a period from the Spanish arrival in America to George Washington's inauguration in 1789. America's Hidden History explorers so many different episodes that it is impossible to tell you about all of them.

    The stories are both heroic and entertaining. In this book you will learn little know facts about George Washington, Spain's Queen Isabella, as well as some women that you have probably never heard of before. It connects some of the dots have been previously unconnected in history books. If you think history is boring, this book will change your opinion. If you love history, you will not want to put this book down until you are finished it.

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 28, 2009

    Very Original

    This book for the beginner historian has many new facts, but to the old jaded historian it is somewhat informative and original, I will give it that. It a good book to read and reads concisely as well as quickly and sparingly. It does not pull punches and gives Benedict Arnold a deserved new acclaimed role in history. I recommend it!

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 18, 2009

    In school I hated history.

    This book add's a human aspect, you can see them. My husband was amazed that I was reading it instead of one of my usual topics.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting incidents that you should know

    I really expected to find some interesting items. Instead I found a book that told story that are really essential to understanding how the United States got where it is today.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2013

    Highly Recommend to anyone that enjoys early American History

    Opens my eyes to things about American History that is not taught in school. Enjoyable read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 23, 2013

    Recommend

    This was an interesting journey into American history which taught me things I didn't learn in school. Somehow the people I read about became more real to me.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    America's Hidden History

    I bought this as a gift to my 14-year-old son, who is a real history buff. He thought it was a great read, that it had new and interesting information.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 19, 2012

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    2 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2014

    Sun

    Next res.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2014

    Cyrus

    "Kay."

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  • Posted August 8, 2014

    Recommend -- Should be required to be read by every American

    Davis does a great job probing America's past bringing forth true stories that help to better understand our history. The history we learned in high school left much of the truth about our Colonial "heroes." I wouldn't say they have clay feet but that they were human just like the rest of us. If you enjoy the early history of America, this book with fill the many holes most of us carry.

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

    Posted November 6, 2014

    Good true to life history

    So moch better than the cut and dried versions taught in school. This brings history to life with real people and their motivations successes and failures.

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

    Posted February 22, 2014

    its ok

    Not that great if yiu already have a firm grasp on history

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2013

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 4, 2013

    Liked it... fun and interesting.

    Liked it... fun and interesting.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 25, 2013

    Good reading of American History

    I am not up on American history not having read any since college. This book provided a really good review of history from 1469 to 1789. The depth of the information in the book is excellent. It is easy to read and the topics flow well. The book brings some of the people to life and makes it more interesting. I highly recommend this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 20, 2013

    Interesting tid-bits of American History

    America’s Hidden History, by Kenneth C. Davis, is a very well researched book which features seven different episodes of American History. The writer has dug deeply into the details that have been left out of most history books. Many of the odd-ball details that he has uncovered make this very interesting. It is a good read and well worth the cost of the book and investment of time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 20, 2013

    Interesting accounting of history

    I was familiar with parts of the Hidden History, and was very interested in reading about the parts that I was not familiar with. The author has done a good job in research and writing about the past. Good read

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

    Posted September 20, 2013

    Finally! An historian who tells History from the "Other" point of view.

    It's been said many times, "History is Written by the Victors." Kenneth C. Davis gives us a glimpse at 'the Other Perspective. It's not a complete look into what's missing from our usual history books, but it will wet your appetite enough to make you want more of the same.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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