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The Story of America

The Story of America

by DK Publishing, Dorling Kindersley Publishing Staff, David Rubel

An insightful, informative, and entertaining volume with contributions by Pulitzer Prize winning authors. The Story of America presents the history of the United States not as a parade of facts and dates but as a story with twists and turns, heroes and villains, lovers, saints — and even some comic relief. With the help of more than two dozen eminent


An insightful, informative, and entertaining volume with contributions by Pulitzer Prize winning authors. The Story of America presents the history of the United States not as a parade of facts and dates but as a story with twists and turns, heroes and villains, lovers, saints — and even some comic relief. With the help of more than two dozen eminent colleagues, many of them Pulitzer Prize-winners, Allen Weinstein and David Rubel give you American history from Columbus to the present not as you've studied it before, but as Americans lived it at the time. It's a fascinating way to understand how America became a world power and the ways in which the nation's past continue to impact its present. With hundreds of brilliant images, and prose as captivating as that of any good novel, The Story of America fills in the blanks in your education with tales and observations that delight as they inform.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An alternative title for this might be "The Treasury of American History" as it's an anthology of our nation's favorite stories: Lewis and Clark's expedition, Nat Turner' s revolt, Custer's last stand, Lindbergh's trans-Atlantic flight, and Nixon' s Watergate scandal. If the stories are familiar, the format-at least for the pre-Internet generation-is new. Adapting Web site dynamics to the printed page, the designers enhance the text with sidebars and photographic collages. The stories themselves mimic the skip-and-jump of Web narratives. Nat Turner's revolt opens with slaves plotting an uprising, then steps back to discuss the origins of slavery in the South before returning to the failed revolt and its aftermath. Readers with an above-average attention span may find the chronological shifts jolting and the cluttered pages distracting; but the book never becomes tiresome. Taken together, the stories advance two themes. Weinstein, who heads the Center for Democracy, portrays our nation's history as the crisis-ridden spread of freedom through American society and outward to rest of the world. At the same time, the authors emphasize the key role of individuals; the vivid profiles of Great Men (and Women), contributed by today's leading historians (such as Joseph Ellis and Geoffrey Ward), reinforce this message. With its lively storytelling and thorough coverage of our nation's first five centuries, this truly is a treasury. 2,000 illus. (Oct.) Forecast: Appealing as this volume is, it may have a tough time competing with Joy Hakim's Freedom: A History of US (an adult version of her acclaimed and bestselling children's series), available from Oxford University Press in October, which will receive major media coverage. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Both of these works provide a refreshing approach to narrative histories of the United States. Weinstein (Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case), the founder and president of the Center for Democracy, and juvenile author Rubel here offer a college-level work that revolves around 26 events from American history, beginning with Cort s and Moctezuma and concluding with September 11, 2001. This approach allows the authors to contextualize events by describing a period in greater detail than in a broad overview. This thematic approach is nicely supplemented by a broad array of illustrative material, ranging from cartoons to contemporary maps, and both the layout and the graphic design are aesthetically pleasing. Each chapter is supplemented by a two-page biographical essay written by a well-regarded historian (e.g., Elliot West, Joseph Ellis, and Robert Dallek). Hakim's Freedom: A History of Us is the companion to the PBS series set to air in January 2003 and is loosely based on her popular ten-volume series, A History of Us. Hakim, a former reporter, editor, and teacher, was reportedly so appalled by the history texts her grandchildren were reading in junior high school that she set out to write her own. Her book is an extraordinary departure from the typical text found in most public schools. Her voice resonates throughout, and her tone is that of a knowledgeable but opinionated maternal figure who doesn't let every detail keep her from crafting a great story. Her work too is copiously illustrated. Although written for different audiences, both of these books are highly recommended for public libraries.-Daniel Liestman, Florida Gulf Coast Univ. Lib. Svcs., Ft. Myers Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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The last of the four wars fought during this period was the French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Years' War, which began late in the spring of 1754-not in Europe, but in North America itself. During the previous winter, acting on behalf of Virginia governor Robert Dinwiddie, twenty-one-year-old militia major George Washington had delivered this ultimatum to the French living in the Ohio River Valley: Leave the land, which Great Britain claimed (and colonial speculators coveted), or face the military consequences. When theFrench refused to leave, Washington (now promoted to lieutenant colonel) returned the following May with 160 armed Virginians. Near Fort Duquesne, a French stronghold on the site of present-day Pittsburgh, he built a crude stockade named Fort Necessity. Shortly thereafter, the French and Indian War began when Washington ordered the capture of a French reconnaissance party, and the French responded with an overwhelming assault on Fort Necessity. After losing a third of his men, Washington surrendered, yielding-at least temporarily-the entire region to the French.

Great Britain's primary concern during this period of salutary neglect was its traditional enemy, France. Between 1689 and 1763, the two nations fought four long wars. The first three of these took place largely in Europe, but they affected North America as well. The Puritans in Massachusetts had long been suspicious of their French Catholic neighbors to the north, and the presence of French settlements in the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys also troubled American colonial authorities. Other causes for concern were the strong alliances the French had made with several powerful Indian tribes-among them the Hurons, with whom they traded furs. Indeed, when the War of the Grand Alliance broke out in Europe in 1689, New France began mobilizing its forces; and a year later, the fighting spread to North America.

In the meantime, with so many British ships patrolling the coast of America in support of the troops, it finally became possible for royal customs inspectors to enforce the Navigation Acts-and they did so vigorously, much to the colonists' chagrin. Customs agents on land made particularly effective use of writs of assistance, general warrants that allowed them to enter and search any premises suspected of containing smuggled goods. Because these writs were valid for the entire term of a monarch's reign, Boston merchants hired James Otis in 1760 following the death of George II to challenge the legality of the writs before George III renewed them. Otis lost his case, and the searches continued, but so did the smuggling.

Pitt had hoped that enforcement of the Navigation Acts would produce additional tax revenue that would, in turn, help reduce the government's huge war debt. To the authorities in London, it seemed rather obvious that the American colonies should pay a fair share of the cost of their own defense. That's why, when enforcement of the Navigation Acts failed as a revenue-generating policy, Pitt's successor, George Grenville, proposed another means of achieving the same end

Meet the Author

Allen Weinstein is the president of The Center for Democracy, a winner of the United Nations Peace Medal, and the author of several books, including the American Book Award nominee Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case. He has held professorships at Smith College, Georgetown, and Boston University. David Rubel is the president of Agincourt Press and the author of many books on American history, including The Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times.

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