Touching America's History: From the Pequot War through WWII [NOOK Book]

Overview

Things you can see and touch can bring to mind the time when the items were made and used. In Touching America’s History, Meredith Mason Brown uses twenty objects to summon up major developments in America’s history. The objects range in date from a Pequot stone axe head probably made before the Pequot War in 1637, to the western novel Dwight Eisenhower was reading while waiting for the weather to clear so that the Normandy Invasion could begin, and to a piece of a toilet bowl found in the bombed-out wreckage of ...

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Touching America's History: From the Pequot War through WWII

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Overview

Things you can see and touch can bring to mind the time when the items were made and used. In Touching America’s History, Meredith Mason Brown uses twenty objects to summon up major developments in America’s history. The objects range in date from a Pequot stone axe head probably made before the Pequot War in 1637, to the western novel Dwight Eisenhower was reading while waiting for the weather to clear so that the Normandy Invasion could begin, and to a piece of a toilet bowl found in the bombed-out wreckage of Hitler’s home in the Bavarian alps in 1945. Among the other historically evocative items are a Kentucky rifle carried by Col. John Floyd, killed by Indians in 1783; a letter from George Washington explaining why he will not be able to attend the Constitutional Convention; shavings from the scaffold on which John Brown was hanged; a pistol belonging to Gen. William Preston, in whose arms Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston bled to death after being shot at the Battle of Shiloh; and the records of a court-martial for the killing by an American officer of a Filipino captive during the Philippine War. Together, the objects call to mind nothing less than the birth, growth, and shaping of what is now America.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Brown (Frontiersman: Daniel Boone and the Making of America) draws upon his family's more than 300 years in the United States and the heirlooms he has accrued to show how general readers, museum curators, and docents can learn history through objects. The approximately 20 sets of "touchstones" from which Brown draws stories and larger lessons include 17th-century Pequot Indian stone implements; an 18th-century Kentucky rifle and compass; a 1787 George Washington letter relating to his attendance at the Constitutional Convention; shavings said to be from the scaffold on which John Brown (not an ancestor) was hanged; Civil War border-state diaries; records of a court martial of great-uncle Preston Brown for the manslaughter of a Filipino captive, whose commutation by Teddy Roosevelt enabled his later distinguished service in World War I; the novel Gen. Eisenhower read while waiting for the weather to clear for the Normandy invasion; and a piece of shattered toilet retrieved by the author's godfather from Hitler's hideout. Quotidian materials such as these can become the artifacts from which museum collections are made. VERDICT Clearly written, buttressed by maps and portraits, Brown's book regales while showing the objectivity and nuance of a historian. The tales make distinctive what to professional practitioners are familiar yet intriguing accounts primarily of America's military and war-related past.—Frederick J. Augustyn Jr., Lib. of Congress, Washington, DC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253008442
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 3/22/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Meredith Mason Brown is author of Frontiersman: Daniel Boone and the Making of America.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Maps
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations and Short Titles
Prologue: History through Things You Can Touch
1. Axe Head, Adze Head: The Pequot War
2. A Compass, a Rifle, and the Opening of the West
3. Yr Most Obt Servt, George Washington: The Constitutional Convention
4. Daguerreotype and Sword: Seminole and Mexican Wars
5. Shavings from a Scaffold: The Hanging of John Brown
6. Diaries from Indian Country, Civil War Back Home
7. Travels of an English Pistol
8. A Killing in the Philippines
9. An Award from General Pershing
10. The Czar of Halfaday Creek, and Hitler’s Toilet Bowl
Afterword: The Shaping of America
Bibliography
Index

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