Don't Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned

Don't Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned

3.8 71
by Kenneth C. Davis
     
 

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A new, completely revised, expanded and updated edition of the million-selling New York Times bestseller that launched the entire Don't Know Much About series. When Don't Know Much About History first appeared thirteen years ago, it created a sensation. With humor, wit, great stories, and a trademark conversational style, the book brought Americans a fresh new take on… See more details below

Overview

A new, completely revised, expanded and updated edition of the million-selling New York Times bestseller that launched the entire Don't Know Much About series. When Don't Know Much About History first appeared thirteen years ago, it created a sensation. With humor, wit, great stories, and a trademark conversational style, the book brought Americans a fresh new take on history. Shattering myths and vividly bringing the past to life, it spent thirty-five consecutive weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Davis proved that Americans don't hate history -- they just hate the dull textbook version they were force-fed in school. The book became an instant classic, an "anti-textbook" that has sold more than 1.3 million copies. In his irreverent and popular question-and-answer style, Davis now returns with a completely revised edition that brings history right up to the moment -- covering such topics as the end of the Cold War, Clinton's impeachment, the bizarre election of 2000, and the events that led to September 11.

Incorporating new research and discoveries, Davis also updates and expands on such long-standing American controversies as the Jefferson-Hemings affair, the Alger Hiss trial, and the Rosenberg spy case. And he includes an expanded "civics lesson" that examines some of America's hottest social and political issues, such as the death penalty, gun control, and school prayer. For history buffs and history-phobes alike, longtime fans who need a refresher course, and for a new generation of Americans who are still in the dark about America's past, Davis proves once more why People magazine said, "Reading him is like returning to the classroom of the best teacher you ever had."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Davis, author of the trademarked series of Don't Know Much About primers, seeks to dispel public boredom and ignorance about history and correct mistakes about various historical events in this update of his bestselling survey of American history. He arranges the book around a series of short essays on questions ranging from the basic (e.g., "Why did the southern states secede from the United States?") to the esoteric ("What was Teddy Roosevelt's grandson doing in Iran?"), intended to crystallize larger themes in our country's past. Davis's engaging treatment is spicy but judicious. He notes sex scandals from Alexander Hamilton's to Bill Clinton's, tamps out JFK conspiracy theories and speculation about J. Edgar Hoover's cross-dressing, and debunks myths like the legend of Betsy Ross and the movie Mississippi Burning. He provides sharply drawn, even-handed accounts of controversies, and his verdicts are generally well considered. Unfortunately, because discussions are usually tied to colorful personalities, heroic movements and dramatic crises, processes that are quiet but profound, such as the post-war rise of suburbia and the decline of unions, tend to get slighted. There's lots of history to browse through here, but little historiography to tie it together; while the book is far superior to standard high-school treatments, and a valuable reference for students young and old, it still leaves the impression that history is just one damn thing after another. (Apr. 1) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This latest in Davis's popular "Don't Know Much About" series is a revised and expanded edition of the series' first title (1990). Using the same question-and-answer format, the new edition includes over 200 pages of additional material covering the past 13 years-from one Bush administration to another, including the fall of communism, the dot-com bubble, the 2000 election, and the 9/11 attack. Davis has also inserted new questions into many chapters, included more "American Voices" (using contemporary quotes), and added a new appendix to the section on the Bill of Rights and other amendments. Davis covers U.S. history with a balanced and contemporary voice, shedding light on many legends, myths, and inaccuracies (e.g., Pocahontas did not save Capt. John Smith's life; the first President of the United States was John Hanson of Maryland, elected President under the Articles of Confederation). The book makes for fun reading for history buffs but is not for the scholar. With enough new material to warrant purchase, it is recommended for public libraries.-Robert Flatley, Kutztown Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Kenneth C. Davis uses wit, candor, and fascinating facts to reveal the very human side of history the textbooks neglect.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780833567062
Publisher:
San Val, Incorporated
Publication date:
06/28/1991
Series:
Don't Know Much About Series
Edition description:
REVISED
Pages:
466
Product dimensions:
5.36(w) x 8.16(h) x 1.42(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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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