A History of the American People

Front Cover
Harper Collins, Jun 30, 2009 - History - 1104 pages
15 Reviews

The prize winning classic work on the post Civil War period which wrenched American society, now with a new introduction by the author.

"The creation of the United States of America is the greatest of all human adventures," begins Paul Johnson’s remarkable new American history. "No other national story holds such tremendous lessons, for the American people themselves and for the rest of mankind." Johnson’s history is a reinterpretation of American history from the first settlements to the Clinton administration. It covers every aspect of U.S. history—politics; business and economics; art, literature and science; society and customs; complex traditions and religious beliefs. The story is told in terms of the men and women who shaped and led the nation and the ordinary people who collectively created its unique character. Wherever possible, letters, diaries, and recorded conversations are used to ensure a sense of actuality. "The book has new and often trenchant things to say about every aspect and period of America’s past," says Johnson, "and I do not seek, as some historians do, to conceal my opinions."

This is an in-depth portrait of a great people, from their fragile origins through their struggles for independence and nationhood, their heroic efforts and sacrifices to deal with the 'organic sin’ of slavery and the preservation of the Union to its explosive economic growth and emergence as a world power and its sole superpower. Johnson discusses such contemporary topics as the politics of racism, education, Vietnam, the power of the press, political correctness, the growth of litigation, and the rising influence of women. He sees Americans as a problem-solving people and the story of America as "essentially one of difficulties being overcome by intelligence and skill, by faith and strength of purpose, by courage and persistence... Looking back on its past, and forward to its future, the auguries are that it will not disappoint humanity."

This challenging narrative and interpretation of American history by the author of many distinguished historical works is sometimes controversial and always provocative. Johnson’s views of individuals, events, themes, and issues are original, critical, and admiring, for he is, above all, a strong believer in the history and the destiny of the American people.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dickmanikowski - LibraryThing

I actually read this book by mistake. A good friend recommended Howard Zinn's A PEOPLES HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, but I misremembered the title. By the time I realized the mistake, I was up to the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - datrappert - LibraryThing

How does one determine a rating for a book like this? Do we appreciate its best parts, its fine writing, and its page-turning momentum, so rare in an almost thousand page book of history? Or do we ... Read full review

Contents

PREFACE
PART ONE
 
 
PART TWO
 
 
PART THREE
PART SIX
 
PART SEVEN
 
 
PART EIGHT
 
 

 
 
PART FOUR
 
PART FIVE
 
 
SOURCE NOTES
SEARCHABLE TERMS
BY THE SAME AUTHOR
Copyright
About the Publisher
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Paul Johnson is a historian whose work ranges over the millennia and the whole gamut of human activities. He regularly writes book reviews for several UK magazines and newspapers, such as the Literary Review and The Spectator, and he lectures around the world. He lives in London, England.

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