America is a nation of firsts, from its pioneering innovation in technology and science to its politics, social affairs, and culture. But despite its intriguing and unique history, many Americans aren't as well-versed as they think they are when it comes to knowledge of the monumental events, people, and ideas that shaped this revolutionary country. Chock-full of surprising snippets of history you should know about, A Patriot's A to Z of America: Things Every Good American Should Know is the eye-opening remedy for every aspiring good American, featuring heroic events and creative individuals who surmounted great difficulties to achieve great things going to the moon, wiring the planet, defeating the Nazis, setting up the first large democratic republic, and largely banishing starvation overseas achievements of which no other nation can boast. Organized from A to Z, these exceptional tales are America's to tell and for you to discover.
|Publisher:||Turner Publishing Company|
|Product dimensions:||5.12(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.74(d)|
About the Author
Edward P. Moser has served as a speechwriter to President George H. W. Bush and writer for Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show. The author of the “Politically Correct Guide to” series, Edward has cowritten seven other books, and his articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. Edward earned his M.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University and his B.A. in journalism from SUNY at Albany. He resides in Alexandria, Virginia.
Read an Excerpt
Presidents had no Secret Service, and often no bodyguards, back in 1881. So when an assassin with a loaded pistol stepped up to President Garfield at a downtown Washington train depot that July, the Chief Executive had no defense. Shot twice at point-blank range, Garfield was soon fighting for his life.
Yankee ingenuity emerged, as some of the country’s best thinkers fought to save the President’s life. A team of Navy engineers put together a prototype air-conditioner to blow cool air over the sweating, bedridden Garfield. In trying to locate and remove a bullet buried in Garfield’s abdomen, doctors turned to a 34-year-old scientist, who quickly devised the first metal detector.
Due to the metal in the President’s bed frame, the detector failed in its task. But Americans saddened by the Garfield tragedy thought back with pride to the scientist’s great triumph in Boston five years before.
A Master of Speech Trains with the Deaf
The man, named Aleck, born and raised in Scotland, had accompanied his family to Canada in 1870 after a tragedy of his own. Both his brothers had died of tuberculosis, and he himself had contracted the disease. His father took his son Aleck, along with the rest of the family, to recuperate in Ontario.
Adept in many fields, Aleck was a noted instructor of sign language to deaf-mute students. After regaining his health, he traveled to Boston, and in 1872 set up the School of Vocal Physiology and Mechanics of Speech.
Communication skills ran deep in his family. His grandfather was an actor. His father was the author of a well-known book on teaching the deaf to lip-read and to speak. His mother, though herself deaf, was a skilled pianist.
As a youth, Aleck and a friend constructed, from scraps of rubber and wood, a toy robot that could enunciate words like “mama.” Playing with the family terrier, Aleck got it to make English-like sounds by manipulating its vocal chords and lips. In Boston, one of his handicapped students was the blind-and-deaf child turned author, Helen Keller. He spent much of his free time tinkering with telegraphs and other electrical devices.
Long-distance communications were then in the hands of the telegraph companies, who were eager to cut costs by finding a way of sending multiple messages at once. In 1873, Aleck decided to focus on his research in that field. He cut back his students to two: six-year-old Georgie Sanders and 15-year-old Mabel Hubbard—the fathers of both girls bankrolled his extracurricular work.
Laboring for long hours in his workshop, nagged by headaches, Aleck came upon a new way of communication by wire—with the human voice.
Table of Contents
Apollo: The Missions to the Moon 1
Arlington: The Nation’s Cemetery 7
Clara Barton: Angel of the Battlefield 11
Alexander Graham Bell: “Innovator:
Get Me Long Distance” 17
Norman Borlaug: He Saved More Lives than
Any Other American 21
The Cajuns: South to America 25
The Chosin Reservoir: Winter Heroics
in War-Torn Korea 29
Inventing the Computer: Mauchly and Eckert 33
The Constitution: A Federal Blueprint 37
D-Day: Invasion of Europe 41
The Declaration of Independence:
A Separate Nation 45
Walt Disney: Theme Parks and Fantasy
Frederick Douglass: Ride to Freedom 55
George Eastman: Instant, Easy, and Cheap
Creation of Pictures 61
Thomas Alva Edison: Inventor of the
Modern World 65
Ellis Island: Immigrant Epicenter 69
A Federal Bank: To Be or Not to Be 73
Food in the U.S.A.: As American as Avocado Pizza 79
Henry Ford: Personal Transport for All 85
Robert Fulton: From Ancient Sail to Modern
The Wild Battle of Gettysburg: A Turning
Robert Goddard: Rocket Man 97
The Gold Rush Creates the Golden State 101
Hamilton and Jefferson: Differing Visions 105
J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI: The G-Men 109
The Interstate Highway System: Ribbons of Roads 113
William Le Baron Jenney: Skyscraper Creator 117
Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan:
Teaching the Blind to See 121
Martin Luther King, Jr. and the
“I Have a Dream” Speech 125
Lewis and Clark: Expedition for the Ages 129
Lincoln’s Addresses: Words from a Peerless
Charles Lindbergh : Pioneer of Long-Distance
The Louisiana Purchase: The Greatest Real Estate
The Manhattan Project: Building a Bigger Bomb 149
Justice John Marshall: Supreme Interpreter of the
Cyrus McCormick: Mechanized Farming
Feeds a Nation 159
The Battle of Midway: A Miracle Halfway
Across the Ocean 163
Samuel Morse: Original Instant Messaging 167
American Music: Kings of Swing and Rhythm 173
National Debt: In the Red 177
The National Parks: Yosemite and Beyond 181
Frederick Law Olmstead: Country in the City 185
The Panama Canal: Between Pacific and Atlantic 189
Edgar Allan Poe: Creator of Literary Genres 193
James K. Polk: Underrated Chief Executive 197
Quarterbacks and Knickerbockers: The National
Pastimes of Sports 201
Religion in America: A Multiplicity of Sects 207
John D. Rockefeller: King of Industry,
Controversy, and Philanthropy 211
Dr. Jonas Salk: Ending the Blight of Polio 217
Sequoyah: The Alphabet and the Trail of Tears 221
The Star-Spangled Banner: Nation’s Emblem and National Anthem 225
The Statue of Liberty: Freedom’s Symbol 229
The First Thanksgivings: Bounty’s Gratitude 233
The Transcontinental Railroad: Ties That Bind 237
United Flight 93: Heroes of 9-11 243
Victory at New Orleans: Old Hickory’s Motley Crew 247
The Wright Brothers: First to Fly 251
XI Corps and General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall”
Jackson: Defeat by the Master of Stealth and Surprise 255
The Battle of Yorktown: The World Turned
Upside Down 261
The Zenger Trial: Freedom of Expression 265