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The Complete Idiot's Guide to American History, 5th Edition

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Overview

The compact history of a giant country.

American history is one of those subjects that students frequently labor over and can seem like a random collection of names, dates, and events. Understood as a collective biography and free of the cheerleading found in many text books, the fully updated fifth edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide(r) to American History explains the changing tides in America's most ...

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The Complete Idiot's Guide to American History, 5th Edition

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Overview

The compact history of a giant country.

American history is one of those subjects that students frequently labor over and can seem like a random collection of names, dates, and events. Understood as a collective biography and free of the cheerleading found in many text books, the fully updated fifth edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide(r) to American History explains the changing tides in America's most pivotal periods.

• From a seasoned author and researcher
• The most current and comprehensive series title on American history
• Heightened interest right now in the question of how America got where we are-a question that can only be answered by an understanding of history

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What People Are Saying

Jim Wright
Alan Axelrod has produced here a marvelous telling of the fascinating story of America—of all those wondrous folks who preceded us on this piece of earth, to our contemporaries of this present day.
—(Speaker Jim Wright)
Speaker Wright
Alan Axelrod has produced here a marvelous telling of the fascinating story of America—of all those wondrous folks who preceded us on this piece of earth, to our contemporaries of this present day.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592578696
  • Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/2/2009
  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
  • Edition description: Original
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 390,636
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Axelrod, Ph.D., has nearly 20 years of history book writing expertise and is the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide(r) to the American Revolution, The Complete Idiot's Guide(r) to the Civil War, Second Edition and The Complete Idiot's Guide(r) to World War I. He is now the president of the Ian Samuel Group, Inc., a research and writing firm.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 The New World 1
1 The First People (50,000 B.C.E.-C.E. 1500s) 3
People of the Land Bridge 3
45,000 Years of American History (Abridged Version) 4
South of the Border 5
Beyond the Aztec Horizon 7
Atlantic Presence 8
Leif the Lucky 8
2 West to East (1451-1507) 11
It's a Round, Round World 11
The Weaver's Boy 12
First Blood 14
Carving Up 15
Three More Voyages 15
Why We're Not Called Columbia 16
3 New Blood for Old Spain (1400-1600s) 17
The Sword of the Conquistador 18
The First American Revolutions 22
From Black Legend to Black Robes 23
4 England's Errand in the Wilderness (1497-1608) 25
O, Brave New World 25
A Colony Vanishes, Another Appears 29
5 A Rock and a Hard Place (1608-1733) 33
Promised Land 34
Massachusetts Bay 36
Rhode Island: Haven for the Heterodox 37
Maryland: Catholics Welcome 38
Pennsylvania: Quaker Colony 38
Georgia: Utopia, Prison, and Profit Center 39
6 Colonial Contenders (1608-1680s) 43
Champlain Sails In 43
The Sun King Beams 45
A Small Investment 46
Sweden in the Delaware VAlley 49
New Netherland Becomes New York 49
7 Fires in the Wilderness (1636-1748) 51
New England Bleeds 51
The French and Indians Wars 54
8 Global War in the Backwoods (1749-1763) 59
The French and Indian War 60
Seven Years' Bad Luck 63
Rebellion of a Chief 65
Part 2 The World Turned Upside Down 67
9 Invitation to a Tea Party (1763-1775) 69
King George Draws a Line 70
Taxation Without Representation 71
Bloody Boston 73
Tearing Apart and Coming Together 73
The Shot Heard 'Round the World 75
Washington Signs On 76
A Misnamed Battle Near Bunker Hill 77
The Olive Branch Spurned, a Declaration Written 77
10 Fanning the Flames of Liberty (1776-1783) 79
A Bad Bet 79
The British Lion Roars 81
Re-Crossing the Delaware 81
Saratoga Sunrise 82
Trouble in the City of Brotherly Love 83
Vive la France! 83
A Hard Forge 83
White War, Red Blood 84
More Action in the South 84
The Triumph at Yorktown 85
Part 3 Building the House 89
11 From Many, One (1787-1797) 91
Bound by a Rope of Sand 92
Northwest Ordinance 92
We the People 93
Constitutional Convention 94
Father of His Country 96
Glorious Afterthought: The Bill of Rights 98
Hamilton Gets the Credit 99
12 Growing Pains (1798-1812) 101
Foreign Affairs 102
The Age of Jefferson 104
Tecumseh Raises the Hatchet 107
13 1812: A War for What? (1812-1814) 109
The War Hawks Roost 109
Three-Pronged Flop 110
The West in Peril 111
British Stranglehold 112
"We Have Met the Enemy, and They Are Ours" 112
O, Say Can You See 113
Deliverance on Lake Champlain 114
An American Hero Is Born 115
14 Fanfare for the Common Man (1814-1836) 117
Good Feelings 117
Bad Feelings 120
The Age of Jackson 122
15 Trails of Tears (1817-1842) 125
Liberty and Union, Now and Forever 126
The Seminoles Say No 127
The Defiance of Black Hawk 128
Indian Removal 129
Part 4 The House Divided 135
16 A Nation in Chains (1724-1857) 137
Against the American Grain 137
The Tortured Course of Compromise 140
The Dred Scott Disaster 143
17 Westward the Course (1834-1846) 145
The Plow and the Reaper 145
Martyrdom in Texas 147
Rolling West 148
"What Hath God Wrought?" 149
18 Destiny Manifested (1846-1860) 151
Halls of Montezuma 152
Of God and Gold 153
19 A Strange Flag over Sumter (1859-1862) 159
John Brown's Body 160
Bleak Transition 161
April 12, 1861, 4:30 A.M. 162
From Bull Run to Antietam 162
Emancipation Proclaimed--More or Less 167
20 Bloody Road to Appomattox and Beyond (1863-1876) 169
Four Score and Seven 170
Vicksburg and Chattanooga 172
To Richmond 173
The March to the Sea 174
Mr. McLean's House 175
With Malice Toward Some 176
Enter "His Fraudulency" 178
Part 5 Rebuilding the House 179
21 Sea to Shining Sea (1862-1878) 181
Home Sweet Home 181
Ruts and Rails 183
22 The Warpath (1862-1891) 189
Blue, Gray--and Red 189
Massacre in Minnesota 192
War for the Bozeman Trail 192
Hancock's War and Sheridan's Campaign 193
Struggle for the Black Hills 194
"I Will Fight No More Forever" 195
After Geronimo 196
Wounded Knee Ending 197
23 Exploitation and Enterprise (1869-1908) 199
An Empire of Cows 199
Law and Disorder 200
Cornering the Market 202
An Age of Invention 204
24 Octopus and Jungle (1877-1906) 209
The Golden Door 209
The Knights of Labor 211
Boss Tyranny 213
Chicago Meat 214
Part 6 World Power 219
25 Over There (1898-1918) 221
Selling the News 222
He Kept Us Out of War 224
26 Booze, Boom, Bust (1918-1929) 231
Wilson's Dream 232
A Generation Lost and Found 234
America Goes Dry 237
Countdown to Black Tuesday 238
27 A New Deal and a New War (1930-1941) 241
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? 242
Tyranny Abroad 242
The Epoch of FDR 243
Street Wars 245
Bloodlust 246
28 Saving the World (1941-1945) 249
"I Shall Return" 250
Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree 251
The Dark Genius of Erwin Rommel 251
Coral Sea and Midway 252
Island Hopping 252
On Mediterranean Shores 253
D-Day 253
Retaking Europe 255
Fat Man and Little Boy 257
Part 7 Superpower 259
29 War Served Cold--and Hot (1944-1954) 261
Winning the Peace 261
Curtain of Iron 264
"Police Action" in Korea 267
30 From the Back of the Bus to the Great Society (1947-1968) 271
Executive Order 9981 272
The Dream Deferred 272
Or Does It Explode? 275
Sputnik and the New Frontier 276
JFK 277
LBJ 279
31 Nam (1946-1975) 281
History 282
American "Advisors" 283
Flaming Monks and the Fall of a "Friend" 283
Rolling Thunder 283
"Escalation" and "Vietnamization" 284
Hearts and Minds 285
The Light at the End of the Tunnel 286
Nixon's War 287
Peace with Honor 290
Part 8 Identity Crisis 291
32 Of Love, the Moon, and Dirty Tricks (1968-1974) 293
Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out 293
The Eagle Has Landed 296
Pentagon Papers 296
SALT, China, and the Middle East 297
CREEP 299
33 Women Rise, the Nation Drifts, Reagan Rallies (1963-1980) 303
A Woman's Place 303
Oil 306
The Japanese Miracle 307
Scary Cities, Crumbling Bridges 308
China Syndrome 309
The Fanatics 310
The Great Communicator 311
Part 9 A New World Order? 313
34 A New Economy, a Plague, a Fallen Wall, and a Desert in Flames (1980-1991) 315
The Trickle-Down Solution 316
"Gay Plague" and a Blind Eye 319
"Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!" 319
Ollie, Iran, and the Contras 322
Desert Shield and Desert Storm 323
35 Democracy (1991-1999) 325
The Economy, Stupid 325
The New Right 326
The Age of Rage 328
And It's Still the Economy 332
We Fight for Peace 333
36 E Pluribus Unum: Y2K (1991-) 337
American Trials 337
Of Wall Street Riches and the Great American Smokeout 341
From Leave It to Beaver to the Internet 347
Appendixes
A The Presidents 353
B Further Reading 357
Index 359
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2010

    A great synopsis for the self-educator

    Beginning with the first humanoids to walk the western hemisphere, Mr. Axelrod takes the reader on a historical journey of America from pre-Columbus native Americans and the Spanish Conquistadors all the way to the Cold War and the '08 election of Barack Obama in an engaging manner that will keep you turning the pages. His writing style is thankfully professional but stimulating, perhaps due to the author's recognition of the fact that those who seek abridged historical tomes are not, in fact, the intellectually deprived requiring intensive rudimentary tutoring but rather are conscientious individuals responsibly seeking broader education in their own manner. This book was written with this demographic in mind. If you find yourself having difficulty recalling key milestones in our country's history such as the Missouri Compromise, the League of Nations, the Treaty of Versailles, the oft-vague Spanish-American or Tripolitan Wars, Wounded Knee, the Marshall Plan, the Three-fifths Compromise, the New Deal and the Truman Doctrine, this brief but certainly ample account will commend itself to you satisfactorily. My only reservation about the book was the curious exclusion of a reproduction of the country's most important documents, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, pertinent and indeed monumental and bold affirmations of basic human rights, conceived by a fledgling democracy and a revolutionary ideology, undeniably accredited with changing the whole world. Otherwise I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    History repeats itself, so learn it!

    A needed reference for any student of American History The Complete Idiot's Guide to American History, 5th Edition by Alan Axelrod is a condensed overview of the key components of our nation's history.
    Delving back to the time that this land was run over by nature and indigenous people in 43000 B.C.E and ending up to the 2008 Presidential Election.

    The easy to read format brings out gems in what they cite as "American echos" and highlight helpful "vital statistics" that will make any reader a valuable player in trivia.

    Even though learning about the past was a fascinating journey, I particularly enjoyed recapping the parts of history in which I lived since the 1970s and compared notes to my memories and now what is best
    captured in the annals of history.

    As the summer ends and schools start up across country, this is a good addition to the required text to learn about our nations fundamentals.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 19, 2010

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    Posted January 17, 2010

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    Posted December 10, 2009

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    Posted January 25, 2010

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