The Erie Canal


Ralph K. Andrist - 1964
    Even President Thomas Jefferson, usually ahead of his time, believed that it could not be built for at least a century, and yet, the Erie Canal came to be just as its planners had thought it would. For the first time in the history of the United States, a cheap, fast route ran through the Appalachians, the mountains that had so effectively divided the West from the East of early America. With the canal, the country's fertile interior became accessible and its great inland lakes were linked to all the seas of the world. Here, from award-winning historian Ralph K. Andrist, is the canal's dramatic and little-told story.

The Captivity of the Oatman Girls: The History of the Young Sisters Who Were Abducted by Native Americans in the 1850s


Charles River Editors - 2017
    At this sight a thrill of icy coldness passed over me; I thought I had been struck; my thoughts began to reel and became irregular and confused; I fainted and sank to the earth, and for a while, I know not how long, I was insensible.” – Olive Oatman On the North American continent, Native American tribes carried out abductions against the new European settlers from the time they first set foot on eastern shores. Some of the women taken in the colonial to early American period went on to become respected figures in their new environments, while others lived out their lives as slaves. Various tribes perceived the historical value of women’s social personalities through different prisms, and even those groups living in the same region often exhibited dissimilar behavior toward them. For some of the more aggressive tribal societies, to commit atrocities against women and their children engaged the same mindset as that adopted for male-to-male warfare. What European sensibilities failed to grasp, despite the home continent’s own lurid history, was that the numerous indigenous cultures of North America were already in the habit of perpetrating such abductions against each other and had for thousands of years. Whether the enemy was European or domestic, old or young, male or female, the deeply embedded cultural habit was the same. To steal women from an enemy often brought the same adulation from the collective as the stealing of horses, and abduction initiated by even a single individual brought honor to that person and his family. In the American wilderness, instances occurred wherein the abduction of either horses or human beings was considered essential to survival, if not to pride and manhood. Abductees were generally adopted into the tribe through a specific ritual. Some were based on “violent hazing,” while for others, entry into the community was a “mere formality.” Children and adolescents were, more often than not, the preferred choice for abduction. In the capturing of slaves, both the strength and docility of the individual taken was of utmost importance. However, in the absence of viable wives, the concept of exogamy, an effort to bring new blood into the tribe, was encouraged. Such a rejuvenation of the community was widely accepted as a convention of war. In the history of abductions among the North American continent’s tribes, a low rate of escape attempts by captured settlers has been the norm from the beginning. This may be largely due to geographical obstacles, with help being so far away as to discourage hope of success. By the same token, relatively few rescue attempts were made by white kinsman to rescue a family member from an indigenous tribe. With no contact available to them, families of lost members taken from the colonial period through the 19th century usually fell into a long-term state of grief, but resigned themselves to never seeing their loved ones again. The Captivity of the Oatman Girls: The History of the Young Sisters Who Were Abducted by Native Americans in the 1850s examines the history of one of the most famous abduction stories of the Old West, the kidnapping of the young Oatman sisters and their subsequent experiences with the Mojave.

Finding Amelia: The True Story of the Earhart Disappearance [With DVD]


Ric Gillespie - 2006
    Dozens of books have offered a variety of solutions to the puzzle, but they all draw on the same handful of documents and conflicting eyewitness accounts. Now, a wealth of new information uncovered by the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) allows this book to offer the first fully documented history of what happened. Scrupulously accurate and thrilling to read, it tells the story from the letters, logs, and telegrams that recorded events as they unfolded. Many long-accepted facts are revealed as myths. Author Ric Gillespie, TIGHAR's executive director, draws on the work of his organization's historians, archaeologists, and scientists, who compiled and analyzed more than five thousand documents relating to the Earhart case. Their research led to the hypothesis that Earhart and Noonan died as castaways on a remote Pacific atoll. But this book is not a polemic that argues for a particular theory. Rather, it presents all of the authenticated historical dots and leaves it to the reader to make the connections. In addition to details about the Earhart's career and final flight, the book examines her relationship with the U.S. government and the massive search undertaken by the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy. For serious students of Earhart's disappearance, an accompanying DVD reproduces the documents, reports, and technical studies cited in the text, allowing instant review and verification of the sources.

Hitler: The Pathology of Evil


George Victor - 1998
    Victor's book is the first to show that implementing the Final Solution was actually the root of Hitler's most disastrous military decisions.

Letters of a Nation


Andrew Carroll - 1997
    Many of the more than 200 letters are published here for the first time, and the correspondents are the celebrated and obscure, the powerful and powerless, including presidents, slaves, soldiers, prisoners, explorers, writers, revolutionaries, Native Americans, artists, religious and civil rights leaders, and people from all walks of life. From the serious (Harry Truman defending his use of the atomic bomb) to the surreal (Elvis Presley to Richard Nixon on fighting drugs in America), this collection of letters covers the full spectrum of human emotion, illuminates the American experience, and celebrates the simple yet lasting art of letter writing.

What Was the Boston Tea Party?


Kathleen Krull - 2013
    "No Taxation without Representation!" The Boston Tea Party stands as an iconic event of the American Revolution—outraged by the tax on tea, American colonists chose to destroy the tea by dumping it into the water! Learn all about the famed colonialists who fought against the British Monarchy, and read about this act of rebellion from our history! With black-and-white illustrations throughout and sixteen pages of photos, the Boston Tea party is brought to life!

American History: A Very Short Introduction


Paul S. Boyer - 2012
    Boyer provides a wide-ranging and authoritative history of America, capturing in a compact space the full story of our nation. Ranging from the earliest Native American settlers to the presidency of Barack Obama, this Very Short Introduction offers an illuminating account of politics, diplomacy, and war as well as the full spectrum of social, cultural, and scientific developments that shaped our country.Here is a masterful picture of America's achievements and failures, large-scale socio-historical forces, and pivotal events. Boyer sheds light on the colonial era, the Revolution and the birth of the new nation; slavery and the Civil War; Reconstruction and the Gilded Age; the Progressive era, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression; the two world wars and the Cold War that followed; right up to the tragedy of 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the epoch-making election of Barack Obama. Certain broad trends shape much of the narrative--immigration, urbanization, slavery, continental expansion, the global projection of U.S. power, the centrality of religion, the progression from an agrarian to an industrial to a post-industrial economic order. Yet in underscoring such large themes, Boyer also highlights the diversity of the American experience, the importance of individual actors, and the crucial role of race, ethnicity, gender, and social class in shaping the contours of specific groups within the nation's larger tapestry. And along the way, he touches upon the cultural milestones of American history, from Tom Paine's The Crisis to Allen Ginsberg's Howl.American History: A Very Short Introduction is a panoramic history of the United States, one that covers virtually every topic of importance--and yet can be read in a single day.

This Country of Ours


H.E. Marshall - 1917
    The 99 chapters are grouped under 7 headings: Stories of Explorers and Pioneers, Stories of Virginia, Stories of New England, Stories of the Middle and Southern Colonies, Stories of the French in America, Stories of the Struggle for Liberty, and Stories of the United States under the Constitution. Suitable for ages 10 and up.

If You Lived 100 Years Ago


Ann McGovern - 1999
    Just turning on a light switch was a new experience. In 58 tantalizing questions and answers, author Ann McGovern gives readers a fascinating look at life in New York City at the end of the 19th century-where the rich and poor lived, how they dressed, traveled, dined, and entertained themselves, what kind of work they did. Readers may be surprised to learn that many children had to work for a living in horrendous conditions, that school were often inadequate and overcrowded (there could be 100 or more students in a single classroom), and that bicycling was the most popular sport in the country. (Baseball, cowling, tennis, football, boxing, golf, archery, and skating were also popular. Basketball and volleyball were new.) Together, the text and art are filled with details that bring the era to life for young readers.

The Oregon Trail: An American Saga


David Dary - 2004
    Using diaries, journals, company and expedition reports, and newspaper accounts, David Dary takes us inside the experience of the continuing waves of people who traveled the Oregon Trail or took its cutoffs to Utah, Nevada, Montana, Idaho, and California. He introduces us to the fur traders who set up the first “forts” as centers to ply their trade; the missionaries bent on converting the Indians to Christianity; the mountain men and voyageurs who settled down at last in the fertile Willamette Valley; the farmers and their families propelled west by economic bad times in the East; and, of course, the gold-seekers, Pony Express riders, journalists, artists, and entrepreneurs who all added their unique presence to the land they traversed. We meet well-known figures–John Jacob Astor, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, John Frémont, the Donners, and Red Cloud, among others–as well as dozens of little-known men, women, and children who jotted down what they were seeing and feeling in journals, letters, or perhaps even on a rock or a gravestone.Throughout, Dary keeps us informed of developments in the East and their influence on events in the West, among them the building of the transcontinental railroad and the efforts of the far western settlements to become U.S. territories and eventually states. Above all, The Oregon Trail offers a panoramic look at the romance, colorful stories, hardships, and joys of the pioneers who made up this tremendous and historic migration.

Unbreakable Dolls


Julie McDonald - 2011
    From Harvey Girls to homesteaders, ranchers to rodeo champions, and miners to merchants, to name a few. An enjoyable, inspiring quick read including humorous short stories written by the author’s father, Verner G. Benson about early days in Arizona. Settings include Flagstaff, Williams, Oak Creek Canyon, Jerome, Sedona, Roosevelt Dam, Cottonwood, Tonalea (Navajo Reservation), Valle, Kirkland Junction and Grand Canyon.

The Liberal Hour: Washington and the Politics of Change in the 1960s


G. Calvin Mackenzie - 2008
    In many accounts of the 60s, Washington is portrayed as a target of reform: a reluctant group of politicians coaxed into accepting the radical spirit the day demanded. In this volume of the award-winning Penguin History of American Life, Mackenzie & Weisbrot argue that the most powerful agents of change in the 60s were those in the traditional seats of power, not the counterculture. A masterly new interpretation of this pivotal decade, The Liberal Hour explores the seismic shifts that led to an era when demands that had lingered on the political agenda for years entered the realm of possibility. By the time JFK was elected in '60, the political system that had prevailed for most of the century was based on crumbling economic, social & demographic realities. The growth of the suburbs shifted power out of the cities, rendering urban political machines & bosses increasingly irrelevant, which in turn allowed younger, more independent-minded politicians to rise. In Congress, Democrats retained their long held control, but the Southern wing of the party was losing its grip. Postwar prosperity led many to believe there was enough wealth to go around, an optimism that lent powerful support to antipoverty programs, not to mention civil rights. For once the Supreme Court, which has traditionally served dominant interests, was aligned with the progressive spirit of the age. The 60s represented a rare convergence: a public ready for change & a government ready to act. Liberal reform may have begun with JFK's New Frontier, but his assassination only gave emotional urgency to his agenda. His successor, LBJ, knew he had a window of opportunity before reactionary forces set in, an awareness that may have fostered his occasionally bullying tactics to push legislation thru Congress. The result was a burst in government initiatives--for civil rights, consumer protection, environmental reform etc--that hasn't been matched in American history. Ultimately the liberal hour promised too much, & couldn't afford both a costly & unpopular war abroad & a Great Society at home, but when it passed it left in its wake a vastly altered landscape. With elegant, accessible prose, The Liberal Hour casts one of the most dramatic periods in American history in new light, revealing that for all that has been written about the more attention-grabbing protest movements, the most powerful engine of change in that tumultuous decade was Washington itself.

A New England Town: The First Hundred Years


Kenneth A. Lockridge - 1970
    They are difficult to shatter, for they perpetuate the popular belief that the nation has always enjoyed universal democracy, honesty, and opportunity. The New England Town, however, deserves more than a mythical place in American history. In this industrial village society, the unique American experience had its beginnings.In his highly original and controversial study. Professor Lockridge traces the origins of Dedham, Massachusetts, carefully examining its establishment as a utopia in 1636, the changes that occurred during the first four generations of its settlement, and the kind of community it had become by the mid-eighteenth century. In bringing to life this peculiarly American town he creates a view of all New England towns, so vital to an understanding of how the American character and society were shaped. He also gives answers to the basic questions shrouded by the myths: Was the New England Town democratic? Was it equalitarian? Was opportunity great? was society mobile? was it static or dynamic? Who had power, and who wanted it? In examining these questions Professor Lockridge has gone to the heart of the controversy surrounding the New England Town experience, finding some truth, and not a little irony, in the myth.This enlarged edition includes an updated bibliography and an afterword in which Lockridge addresses two questions about the story of Dedham: What does it tell us about the impulses that led to American independence? The answers to these questions suggest the connections between the "new" social history and the broad political themes of the revolutionary period.

Peaceable Kingdom Lost: The Paxton Boys and the Destruction of William Penn's Holy Experiment


Kevin Kenny - 2009
    In this book, historian Kevin Kenny explains how this Peaceable Kingdom--benevolent, Quaker, pacifist--gradually disintegrated in the eighteenth century, with disastrous consequences for Native Americans.Kenny recounts how rapacious frontier settlers, most of them of Ulster extraction, began to encroach on Indian land as squatters, while William Penn's sons cast off their father's Quaker heritage and turned instead to fraud, intimidation, and eventually violence during the French and Indian War. In 1763, a group of frontier settlers known as the Paxton Boys exterminated the last twenty Conestogas, descendants of Indians who had lived peacefully since the 1690s on land donated by William Penn near Lancaster. Invoking the principle of "right of conquest," the Paxton Boys claimed after the massacres that the Conestogas' land was rightfully theirs. They set out for Philadelphia, threatening to sack the city unless their grievances were met. A delegation led by Benjamin Franklin met them and what followed was a war of words, with Quakers doing battle against Anglican and Presbyterian champions of the Paxton Boys. The killers were never prosecuted and the Pennsylvania frontier descended into anarchy in the late 1760s, with Indians the principal victims. The new order heralded by the Conestoga massacres was consummated during the American Revolution with the destruction of the Iroquois confederacy. At the end of the Revolutionary War, the United States confiscated the lands of Britain's Indian allies, basing its claim on the principle of "right of conquest."Based on extensive research in eighteenth-century primary sources, this engaging history offers an eye-opening look at how colonists--at first, the backwoods Paxton Boys but later the U.S. government--expropriated Native American lands, ending forever the dream of colonists and Indians living together in peace.

The First Filipino


León María Guerrero - 1961
    It has been awarded the First Prize in the Rizal Biography Contest under the auspices of the Jose Rizal National Centennial Commission in 1961.