A Nation Rising: Untold Tales of Flawed Founders, Fallen Heroes, and Forgotten Fighters from America's Hidden History

A Nation Rising: Untold Tales of Flawed Founders, Fallen Heroes, and Forgotten Fighters from America's Hidden History

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by Kenneth C. Davis
     
 

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“History in Davis’s hands is loud, coarse, painful, funny, irreverent—and memorable.”
San Francisco Chronicle

Following on his New York Times bestsellers America’s Hidden History and Don’t Know Much About History, Ken Davis explores the next chapter in the country’s hidden history&

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Overview

“History in Davis’s hands is loud, coarse, painful, funny, irreverent—and memorable.”
San Francisco Chronicle

Following on his New York Times bestsellers America’s Hidden History and Don’t Know Much About History, Ken Davis explores the next chapter in the country’s hidden history: the gritty first half of the 19th century, among the most tumultuous in the nation’s short life.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“Davis is a fine writer who uses a fast-moving narrative to tell these stories well... This is an informative and enjoyable work.”
Ray Raphael
“With his special gift for revealing the significance of neglected historical characters, Kenneth Davis creates a multi-layered, haunting narrative.”
Ron Powers
Praise for America’s Hidden History:“American history in the vibrant narrative tradition of David McCullough.”
Library Journal
Davis (Don't Know Much About History) shifts gears slightly to identify obscure personalities and the darker side of American leaders, from Colonial America to the dawn of the 20th century. The strongest chapter begins with Aaron Burr's trial for treason and reflects on the rise of the nation. The flaws that Davis exposes include slave-owning Founding Fathers, Jackson's embracing Indian removal, and Lincoln's supporting the cause of returning slaves to Africa, then considered an enlightened solution. He also explores the wars of expansion, and, through Jessie Fremont, John Fremont's brave and capable wife, the notion of manifest destiny. Lastly, he looks at xenophobia through the Nativist riots of post-Civil War America. Davis likes comparisons: the Fort Mims massacre to 9/11, Iraq to manifest destiny. In a text that is very readable if not so tautly edited, Davis clearly enjoys his role as history teacher to nonhistorians. VERDICT Those who know their American history will find nothing new in this light and revisionist companion to standard history texts. Best for public and high school libraries.—Robert Moore, Lantheus Medical Imaging, North Billerica, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Don't Know Much About series creator Davis (America's Hidden History, 2008, etc.) examines six little-known episodes that influenced American history. By now the author's formula is familiar-seize a small or misunderstood incident from America's past, identify it as a precursor to or emblematic of a better-known event and use it to illustrate larger themes that have altered the nation's course. Focusing on the period between Jefferson's 1800 election and California's 1850 statehood, Davis looks at Aaron Burr's 1807 arrest for treason, the 1818 Creek attack on Fort Mims, the 1841 revolt aboard the slave ship Creole, the Seminole massacre of Major Francis Dade's relief column in 1835, the Nativist inspired Bible Riots in 1844 Philadelphia and the harrowing journey of Jesse Fremont across Panama's isthmus in 1849. In breezily entertaining fashion, the author does just fine when he confines himself to the details of each episode. Beyond that, these historical vignettes aren't exactly revelatory. Even casual students understand the gap between America's ideals and practice. For whom, any longer, is it news that America's presidents have frequently abused their power, that the nation has sometimes made war for ignoble purposes, that our history is marred by various eruptions of religious strife, that slavery, our intolerance of immigrants, and our shameful treatment of Native Americans continue to haunt our present? The narrative suffers, as well, when Davis attempts comparisons to contemporary events. Readers may be persuaded that Jefferson's pursuit of Burr is analogous to Nixon's efforts to destroy political enemies or to the Bush administration's so-called outing of Valerie Plame, but baldassertion makes neither proposition true. This is history-lite, misleading to those who know too little, harmless to those who know enough. Mostly engaging but rarely edifying. Author appearances in New York, Philadelphia, Vermont, Washington, D.C. Agent: David Black/David Black Literary Agency

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061118203
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/11/2010
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth C. Davis is the bestselling author of America’s Hidden History and Don’t Know Much About® History, which spent thirty-five consecutive weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has sold nearly 1.6 million copies, and gave rise to his phenomenal Don’t Know Much About® series for adults and children.

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