American History Book List
On March 4, 1789, New York City's church bells pealed, cannons fired, and flags snapped in the wind to celebrate the date set for the opening of the First Federal Congress. In many ways the establishment of Congress marked the culmination of the American Revolution as the ship of state was launched from the foundation of the legislative system outlined in Article I of the Constitution.
For two and a half years (1937-1939), Captain John Seymour Letcher commanded a company of the U.S. Embassy Marine Guard in Peking. During that time, he wrote a series of letters to his parents in Virginia describing the life of a Westerner in the former imperial city. During that same time, China was invaded by Japan.
A history of semiprofessional football clubs in Ohio — the Ironton Tanks, the Portsmouth Spartans, and others — and an intimate study of how the citizens and organizations that made up these cities worked to put themselves on the map.
First popular history of Appalachian migration to one community — Ashtabula County, an industrial center in the fabled “best location in the nation.”
Pontiac, Sequoyah, Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, and Chief Seattle. These legendary names are familiar even to the uninitiated in Native American history, yet the life stories of these great spiritual leaders have been largely unknown. In this, his last book, internationally celebrated author Frank Waters makes vivid the poignant, humorous, and tragic stories of these neglected and heroic Native Americans.
In 1898 men and women from all over the world converged on Alaska. Gold had been discovered. In the Yukon Territory, all winter long eager gold seekers struggled over the mountain passes connecting Canada with the United States. A small group of photographers chronicled this epic, creating images of men and women laboring through blinding snowstorms over the windswept, ice-covered mountains. One of that group was a young Swedish immigrant by the name of P. E. Larson.
The “butterfly” that emerged in World War I trench warfare in 1915 aspired to kill: “I cannot explain,” the diary continues. “It comes unseen and makes you oblivious of almost everything at times, save one intense desire to kill, kill, kill, the Germans.” Lionel Sotheby’s diary and letters are a compelling first-person account of the harrowing experiences of the young British lieutenant at the Western Front. His writing reveals constant peril, hourly discomfort, and gruesome injuries.
Ariel Armony focuses, in this study, on the role played by Argentina in the anti–Communist crusade in Central America. This systematic examination of Argentina’s involvement in the Central American drama of the late 1970s and early 1980s fine–tunes our knowledge of a major episode of the Cold War era. Basing his study on exhaustive research in the United States, Argentina, and Nicaragua, Armony adroitly demolishes several key assumptions that have shaped the work of scholars in U.S.
In 1863, as the Civil War raged, the escaped slave, abolitionist, and novelist William Wells Brown identified two groups most harmful to his race. “The first and most relentless,” he explained, “are those who have done them the greatest injury, by being instrumental in their enslavement and consequent degradation.
In a lively style peppered with firsthand accounts by the people who made Athens, author Robert L. Daniel narrates his tale with wry humor and a sharp eye for detail.
One of the most persistent legends in the annals of New World exploration is that of the Land of God. Its mythical site was located over vast areas of South American (and later, North America); it drove some men mad with greed and, often as not, to their deaths. In this amazing history of quest and adventure, Robert Silverberg traces the fate of Old World explorers lured westward by the myth of El Dorado.
For many, the barn is the symbol of the Midwestern United States. It represents tangible wealth, solid citizenship, industry, stability, and other agrarian values associated with its conservative, Anglo-Saxon settlers. Editors Noble and Wilhelm set out to examine these stereotypes. European settlement of the Midwest, though primarily English and German, was never homogenous and the character of the Midwest barn reflects this.
As a Wisconsin historical marker explains: “After 1837 the vast timber resources of northern Wisconsin were eagerly sought by settlers moving into the mid-Mississippi valley. By 1847 there were more than thirty saw-mills on the Wisconsin, Chippewa, and St. Croix river systems, cutting largely Wisconsin white pine. During long winter months, logging crews felled and stacked logs on the frozen rivers. Spring thaws flushed the logs down the streams toward the Mississippi River.
The first Mississippi steamboat was a packet, the New Orleans, a sidewheeler built at Pittsburgh in 1811, designed for the New Orleans-Natchez trade. Packets dominated during the first forty years of steam, providing the quickest passenger transportation throughout mid-continent America. The packets remained fairly numerous even into the first two decades of the twentieth century when old age or calamity overtook them.
Ambitious and only 24 years old, Arthur Manby arrived from England in the Territory of New Mexico in 1883, and saw in its wilderness an empire that he believed himself destined to rule. For his kingdom, he chose a vast Spanish land grant near Taos, a wild 100,000 acres whose ancient title was beyond question. Obsessed, he poured more than 20 years into his dream of glory, and schemed, stole, lied, cajoled, begged, and bribed to take the vast grant from its rightful owners.
Until Dawdy's “The Wyant Diary” appeared in Arizona and the West in 1980, it was virtually unknown that Lt. Wheeler was the leader of the government exploring party from which artist A. H. Wyant returned with a paralyzed arm. So little used were government reports prior to the mid-twentieth century that not one of the writers and compilers of information about this prominent artist, known to have been with a military expedition, had looked at the most likely report, that of Lt.
At 14,110 feet, the weather station atop Pikes Peak, Colorado, was the highest in the world in 1873. Young men trained by the Signal Corps took turns living year-round on the isolated mountain, where they endured loneliness, primitive living conditions, lack of financial support and appreciation, and deteriorating health. Most did so with dedication and good humor.
The death of Meriwether Lewis is one of the great mysteries of American history. Was he murdered at Grinder’s Stand or did he commit suicide? Vardis Fisher meticulously reconstructs the events and presents his own version of the case with the precision and persuasiveness of a fine trial lawyer. But Fisher was also a great novelist and it is his sense of character that serves him best here.
Ralph Bunche, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950, traveled to South Africa for three months in 1937. His notes, which have been skillfully compiled and annotated by historian Robert R. Edgar, provide unique insights on a segregated society.
Log construction entered the Ohio territory with the seventeenth-century fur traders and mid-eighteenth-century squatters and then spread throughout most of the area after the opening of the territory in the 1780s. Scottish-Irish and German settlers, using techniques from the eastern states and European homelands, found the abundant timber resources of the Ohio country ideally suited to this simple, durable form of construction.
“The discovery of Goldfield, Nevada, in 1902, along with the earlier discovery of Tonopah in 1900, marked the revival of mining in Nevada. Mining production, which had escalated after the discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1859, dropped to almost nothing with the decline of the Comstock in the 1870s. Without continued mining production, the state entered what proved to be a twenty-year depression period that ultimately led some observers to suggest that Nevada be deprived of its statehood.
Ten outlaws, ten states, ten stories of nineteenth-century fugitives remarkable because the events really took place. Mark Dugan’s latest outlaw chase reins in enough evidence to corral the cynics. There is new information on the strange relationship between Wild Bill Hickok, his enemy and victim, David McCanles, and the beautiful Sarah Shull of North Carolina. Was Tom Horn a hired killer for the big cattlemen in the unsolved Wyoming ambush? How much do we really know about Deputy U.S.
The American public has long been fascinated by the Old West and the so–called heroes that it produced. Even before the days of Jesse James, Billy the Kid, and the dime novel, the public’s heroes have always been somewhat tainted. Numerous stories of chivalry and gallantry have been accredited to outlaws, but all tales have been based upon folklore and legends. Mark Dugan, however, gives us a bona fide American Robin Hood with Ham White.
The story of the American mining frontier can be traced in the ghost towns — from the camps of California's forty-niners to the twentieth-century ruins in the Nevada desert. They mark an epoch of high adventure, of quick wealth and quicker poverty, of gambling and gun-slinging and hell-raising.
New Mexico was a frontier to the wilderness, for Europeans, for almost three hundred years. No other frontier history in the area of what is now the United States can support such continuity, or even come close. It was the outside edge of the northern borderlands of New Spain, that later became the northern borderlands of Mexico. It was the western rim of the world for the French explorers and fur traders in the Mississippi valley and for the English who followed them there.
George Kennan’s career as a specialist on Russian affairs began in 1865, with his first journey to the Russian empire. A twenty-year-old telegraphic engineer at the time, he was a member of the Russian-American Telegraph Expedition, a now virtually unknown but nevertheless remarkable nineteenth-century adventure story.