Eyewitness to America: 500 Years of America in the Words of Those Who Saw It Happen
Thomas Jefferson complains about haggling over the Declaration of Independence ... Jack London guides us through the rubble of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake ... Langston Hughes visits the Scottsboro Boys on death row ... Andy Warhol paints the scene at Studio 54 ... John Seabrook receives e-mail from Bill Gates. Three hundred eyewitnesses -- some famous, some anonymous -- give their personal accounts of the great moments that make up our past, from Columbus to cyberspace, and infuse them with a freshness and urgency no historian can duplicate. David Colbert has brought together a multitude of voices to create a singularly rich American narrative. Here are the vivid impressions of men and women who were witnesses to and participants in these and other dramatic moments: the first colony in Virginia, the Salem witch trials, the Boston Tea Party, the Oklahoma land rush, the Scopes Trial, the bombing of Nagasaki, the lunch-counter sit-ins at the outset of the civil rights movement, New York City's Stonewall Riot, the fall of Saigon, and the 1992 Los Angeles riots. With unparalleled and thrilling immediacy, these excerpts from diaries, private letters, memoirs, and newspapers paint a fascinating picture of the evolving drama of American life.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
David Colbert had a disarmingly simple idea: take all the major events of American history, find someone who was there for each one, and publish their descriptions. Taking passages from diaries, private letters, and memoirs, Colbert has assembled the words of men and women who witnessed some of the most decisive and memorable moments in the history of the United States. The book is arranged chronologically from the earliest encounters of Columbus with the Native Peoples of the Americas, to one of the first email exhanges with Bill Gates in the early nineties. All told through the unfiltered lens of the people who lived it, with only the slightest of edits for clarity and short introduction of each excerpt to give a larger picture of how each event shaped America's history and culture. There are dozens of illuminating moments in these first hand accounts that really get at the human side of the stories we have come to know. There are few if any omissions to the overall timeline of history, which is pretty incrediable feat in itself; but I would have added the Gettysburg address, or Washingtons last speech as president, or the establishment of the national park system like any good amatuer history buff I have my favorites that envitably be get cut from a book like this, however, even with my nit-picking aside I think thos is a truly outstanding work of narrative history that should be read by even those with just a passing interest in the history of the United States. My only real ciriticism is that the book could use an update to cover the two decades of history that have reshaped the American landscape.
Review: Eyewitness to America: 500 Years of American History in the Words of Those Who Saw It HappenUser Review - Goodreads
Let's face it history can be boring but I think my students will enjoy reading this next year. This is a great compilation of eyewitness accounts to American history. I enjoyed it and can't wait to use it in class next school year.
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