The Complete Idiot's Guide to American History

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You're no idiot, of course. You know who the first president was and who penned the Declaration of Independence. Yet even though the country is young in the eyes of the rest of the world, the United States became a superpower in fewer than 200 years. But you don't have to brush the dust off your textbooks to learn more! The Complete Idiot's Guide to American History, Third Edition, will bring you up to date on the most important events and people that forged this country -- and those that continue to do so today.
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What People Are Saying

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.
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780028612751
  • Publisher: Alpha Books
  • Publication date: 9/27/1996
  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 7.38 (w) x 9.09 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Axelrod, Ph.D., has written several history books, including Art of the Golden West, which was named a Booklist Editors' Choice; What Every American Should Know About American History: 200 Events That Shaped the Nation; The Complete Idiot's Guide to the American Revolution; and The Complete Idiot's Guide to 20th Century History.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 The New World 1
1 The First People (50000 B.C.E.-1500s C.E.) 3
People of the Land Bridge 4
45,000 Years of American History (Abridged Version) 4
South of the Border 5
Beyond the Aztec Horizon 7
Leif the Lucky 7
2 West to East (1451-1507) 9
The Round World Myth 9
The Weaver's Boy 10
First Blood 13
Carving Up 13
Three More Voyages 14
Why We're Not Called Columbia 15
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
England Joins the Age of Discovery 26
A Colony Vanishes, Another Appears 28
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
Slave Country 40
6 Colonial Contenders (1608-1680s) 43
Champlain Sails In 44
The Sun King Beams 45
A Small Investment 47
Sweden in the Delaware Valley 49
New Netherland Becomes New York 50
7 Fires in the Wilderness (1636-1748) 53
New England Bleeds 54
The French and Indian Wars 56
8 Global War in the Backwoods (1749-1763) 61
The French and Indian War 62
Seven Years' Bad Luck 66
Rebellion of a Chief 67
Part 2 The World Turned Upside Down 69
9 Invitation to a Tea Party (1763-1775) 71
King George Draws a Line 72
Taxation Without Representation 73
Bloody Boston 75
Tearing Apart and Coming Together 76
The Shot Heard 'Round the World 78
Washington Signs On 79
A Misnamed Battle Near Bunker Hill 80
The Olive Branch Spurned, a Declaration Written 80
10 Fanning the Flames of Liberty (1776-1783) 83
A Bad Bet 84
The British Lion Roars 85
Re-Crossing the Delaware 86
Saratoga Sunrise 87
Trouble in the City of Brotherly Love 88
Vive la France! 88
A Hard Forge 88
White War, Red Blood 89
More Action in the South 90
The Triumph at Yorktown 90
Part 3 Building the House 93
11 From Many, One (1787-1797) 95
Bound by a Rope of Sand 96
Northwest Ordinance 97
We the People 97
Constitutional Convention 98
Father of His Country 101
Glorious Afterthought: The Bill of Rights 103
Hamilton Gets the Credit 104
12 Growing Pains (1798-1812) 107
Foreign Affairs 108
The Age of Jefferson 110
Tecumseh Raises the Hatchet 114
13 1812: A War for What? (1812-1814) 115
The War Hawks Roost 116
Three-Pronged Flop 116
The West in Peril 117
British Stranglehold 117
"We Have Met the Enemy, and They Are Ours" 118
O, Say Can You See 118
Deliverance on Lake Champlain 119
An American Hero Is Born 120
14 Fanfare for the Common Man (1814-1836) 121
Good Feelings 122
Bad Feelings 125
The Age of Jackson 126
15 Trails of Tears (1817-1842) 129
Liberty and Union, Now and Forever 130
The Seminoles Say No 131
The Defiance of Black Hawk 132
Indian Removal 132
Part 4 The House Divided 137
16 A Nation in Chains (1724-1857) 139
Against the American Grain 140
The Tortured Course of Compromise 142
The Dred Scott Disaster 145
17 Westward the Course (1834-1846) 147
The Plow and the Reaper 148
Martyrdom in Texas 149
Rolling West 150
"What Hath God Wrought?" 152
18 Destiny Manifested (1846-1860) 155
Halls of Montezuma 156
Of God and Gold 158
19 A Strange Flag over Sumter (1859-1862) 163
John Brown's Body 164
Bleak Transition 165
April 12, 1861, 4:30 A.M. 166
From Bull Run to antietam 167
Emancipation Proclaimed--More or Less 171
20 Bloody Road to Appomattox and Beyond (1863-1876) 173
Four Score and Seven 174
Vicksburg and Chattanooga 176
To Richmond 177
The March to the Sea 179
Mr. McLean's House 179
With Malice Toward Some 180
Enter "His Fraudulency" 183
Part 5 Rebuilding the House 185
21 Sea to Shining Sea (1862-1878) 187
Home Sweet Home 188
Ruts and Rails 190
22 The Warpath (1862-1891) 197
Blue, Gray--and Red 198
Massacre in Minnesota 199
War for the Bozeman Trail 200
Hancock's War and Sheridan's Campaign 201
Struggle for the Black Hills 201
"I Will Fight No More Forever" 203
After Geronimo 204
Wounded Knee Ending 205
23 Exploitation and Enterprise (1869-1908) 207
An Empire of Cows 208
Law and Disorder 209
Cornering the Market 210
An Age of Invention 213
24 Octopus and Jungle (1877-1906) 219
The Golden Door 220
The Knights of Labor 222
Boss Tyranny 224
Chicago Meat 225
Part 6 World Power 229
25 Over There (1898-1918) 231
Selling the News 232
He Kept Us Out of War 234
26 Booze, Boom, Bust (1918-1929) 241
Wilson's Dream 242
A Generation Lost and Found 245
America Goes Dry 249
Countdown to Black Tuesday 249
27 A New Deal and a New War (1930-1941) 251
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? 252
Tyranny Abroad 253
The Epoch of FDR 253
Street Wars 256
Bloodlust 257
28 Saving the World (1941-1945) 261
"I Shall Return" 262
Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree 263
The Dark Genius of Erwin Rommel 264
Coral Sea and Midway 264
Island Hopping 264
On Mediterranean Shores 265
D-Day 266
Retaking Europe 267
Fat Man and Little Boy 270
Part 7 Superpower 273
29 War Served Cold-and Hot (1944-1954) 275
Winning the Peace 276
Curtain of Iron 277
"Police Action" in Korea 281
30 From the Back of the Bus to the Great Society (1947-1968) 285
Executive Order 9981 286
The Dream Deferred 286
Or Does It Explode? 289
Sputnik and the New Frontier 291
JFK 292
LBJ 294
31 Nam (1946-1975) 297
History 298
American "Advisors" 299
Flaming Monks and the Fall of a "Friend" 299
Rolling Thunder 300
"Escalation" and "Vietnamization" 300
Hearts and Minds 301
The Light at the End of the Tunnel 302
Nixon's War 303
Peace with Honor 305
Part 8 Identity Crisis 307
32 Of Love, the Moon, and Dirty Tricks (1968-1974) 309
Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out 310
The Eagle Has Landed 311
Pentagon Papers 312
SALT, China, and the Middle East 312
33 Women Rise, the Nation Drifts, Reagan Rallies (1963-1980) 317
A Woman's Place 318
Oil 320
The Japanese Miracle 321
Scary Cities, Crumbling Bridges 322
China Syndrome 322
The Fanatics 323
The Great Communicator 324
Part 9 A New World Order? 325
34 A New Economy, a Plague, a Fallen Wall, and a Desert in Flames (1980-1991) 327
The Trickle-Down Solution 328
"Gay Plague" and a Blind Eye 331
"Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!" 332
A War Without Bullets 332
Ollie, Iran, and the Contras 334
Desert Shield and Desert Storm 335
35 E Pluribus Unum (1991-1999) 337
The Economy, Stupid 338
The New Right 338
The Age of Rage 340
And It's Still the Economy 343
We Fight for Peace 344
36 Democracy at the Turn of the Millennium (1991-2002) 349
American Trials 350
Of Wall Street Riches and the Great American Smokeout 353
Pillars of the Community 356
Terror and Democracy 363
Index 367
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