Each year, more than two million visitors line up near Philadelphia's Independence Hall and wait to gaze upon a flawed mass of metal forged more than two and a half centuries ago. Since its original casting in England in 1751, the Liberty Bell has survived a precarious journey on the road to becoming a symbol of the American identity, and in this masterful work, Gary B. Nash reveals how and why this voiceless bell continues to speak such volumes about our nation. Drawing upon fascinating primary source documents, Nash's book continues a remarkable dialogue about a symbol of American patriotism second only in importance to the Stars and Stripes. "It is an unlikely central character for a book: A silent, 250-year-old bell. Yet in The Liberty Bell, a biography of our nation's 'nearly sacred totem,' Gary B. Nash provides a stirring historical account of the icon that is America's 'Rosetta Stone or . . . Holy Grail.'"-T. Rees Shapiro, Washington Post "It's broken, and silent, and brimming with significance, and the eminent UCLA historian tells the bell's rich, captivating story."-Los Angeles magazine
Gary B. Nash is professor of history and director of the National Center for History in the Schools at UCLA. He is former president of the Organization of American Historians, and his 1979 book The Urban Crucible: Social Change, Political Consciousness, and the Origins of the American Revolution was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history. He lives in Los Angeles.