Invisible Giants: Fifty Americans Who Shaped the Nation but Missed the History Books

Overview


History records the accomplishments of individuals. For successive generations of Americans, iconic figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, and Emily Dickinson have been household names and role models, inspiring us all by the lessons their lives teach us. But some great Americans, just as worthy, never attain this recognition. Because history is as fallible as the people who record it, many of those who shaped the nation and its future have receded from public memory. In celebration of...
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Overview


History records the accomplishments of individuals. For successive generations of Americans, iconic figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, and Emily Dickinson have been household names and role models, inspiring us all by the lessons their lives teach us. But some great Americans, just as worthy, never attain this recognition. Because history is as fallible as the people who record it, many of those who shaped the nation and its future have receded from public memory. In celebration of these lives-and to demonstrate the lasting power history's giants have over their successors-Oxford University Press recently asked fifty accomplished personalities from a diverse range of industries and interests to each select a person from the 24-volume American National Biography that they felt deserved more attention. The biographies of these forgotten figures appear alongside the often-personal comments of their selectors in Invisible Giants, a varied and lively collection of portraits celebrating history's forgotten and fading heroes.
In Invisible Giants we discover the man who inspired Sherwin Nuland to become a doctor, the writer Jacques Barzun considers America's first cultural critic, and the woman who taught Tina Brown to bare her teeth. We learn of the poetry recited to Henry Louis Gates, Jr., as a boy, the magazine Helen Gurley Brown required every one of her editors to subscribe to, and the book Andy Rooney deems "better than the Bible and easier to understand." Whether encountering these figures for the first time or uncovering surprising details in the lives you thought you knew, today's public thinkers guide us on a journey into the deep folds of our rich biographical tapestry.
Edited by Mark Carnes and published with the American Council of Learned Societies, Invisible Giants introduces one of the nation's most treasured resources--The American National Biography--to a broad audience by presenting the architects of our country's past through the eyes of the architects of its future.
Invisible Giants includes: James Agee (Sven Birkets)
Jessie Daniel Ames (Alan Brinkley)
Rodger Nash Baldwin (Richard Avedon)
Béla Bartók (John Simon)
Sterling Brown (Sharon Olds)
John Jay Chapman (Jacques Barzun)
John England (Andrew Greeley)
Oliver Evans (Harold Evans)
Dorothy Fields (David Lehman)
Charles Grandison Finney (Edmund Morgan)
Arthur Goldberg (Alan Dershowitz)
Adolphus Washington Greely (Simon Winchester)
Charles Tomlinson Griffes (Wayne Koestenbaum)
William Halsted (Sherwin Nuland)
Fannie Lou Hamer (Gloria Steinem)
Handsome Lake (Wilma Mankiller)
Herman Haupt (James McPherson)
DuBois Heyward (Stephen Sondheim)
Henry Hornbostel (Michael Graves)
James Gibbons Huneker (Gary Giddins)
Libbie Henrietta Hyman (Steven Jay Gould)
Christopher Isherwood (Armistead Maupin)
Walter Lippmann (Andy Rooney)
Melvin Beaunorus Tolson (Rita Dove)
Bronislava Nijinska (Joan Acocella)
Albert Jay Nock (William F. Buckley, Jr.)
Fairfield Porter (Hilton Kramer)
Dawn Powell (Fran Lebowitz)
Bayard Rustin (Evan Wolfson)
Sequoyah (William Least Heat-Moon)
James McCune Smith (Henry Louis Gates, Jr.)
Joseph Smith (Harold Bloom)
Ida B. Wells-Barnett (Tina Brown)
Dewitt Wallace (Helen Gurley Brown)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195168839
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Lexile: 1350L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 5.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Carnes is Professor of History at Barnard College. In addition to his scholarly works and serving as co-editor of the American National Biography, he is the editor of numerous innovative books bringing together diverse groups of people to discuss history, including Past Imperfect: History According to the Movies and Novel History: Historians and Novelists Confront America's Past. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Introduction vii
Johnny Ace 3
James Agee 7
Jessie Daniel Ames 12
Roger Nash Baldwin 16
George Bancroft 23
Bela Bartok 32
Sterling A. Brown 37
A. P. Carter and Sara Carter 42
John Jay Chapman 47
Leon F. Czolgosz 52
Robert Latou Dickinson 57
Dorothy Draper 62
Paul Laurence Dunbar 67
John England 74
Oliver Evans 78
Dorothy Fields 84
Charles Grandison Finney 89
Arthur J. Goldberg 96
Emma Goldman 101
Adolphus Washington Greely 109
Nathanael Greene 114
Charles Tomlinson Griffes 120
John Hoskins Griscom 124
William Halsted 128
Fannie Lou Hamer 133
Handsome Lake 137
Herman Haupt 142
DuBose Heyward 150
Henry Hornbostel 154
James Gibbons Huneker 159
Blind Lemon Jefferson 165
Murray Kempton 170
Walter Lippmann 176
Malcolm X 188
Rocky Marciano 195
Adolf Meyer 202
Lindley Murray 209
Bronislava Nijinska 214
Albert Jay Nock 221
Fairfield Porter 224
Dawn Powell 230
Gisela Richter 235
Bayard Rustin 240
Sequoyah 245
Joseph Smith 249
Melvin B. Tolson 259
Felix Francisco Varela y Morales 265
DeWitt Wallace 270
Ida B. Wells-Barnett 275
Frank W. Woolworth 280
Authors of Articles from the American National Biography 287
Sources and Further Readings 289
The Selectors 311
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2002

    history candy!

    This book is a delight. short bios and short introductions by fascinating people. It's the kind of book that's great for beach reading--and has inspired a new biography reading list for me. Loved the reasons the notable people gave for their choices. It makes you realize that history is about people, and every generation picks its own icons that speak to it.

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