Touching America's History: From the Pequot War through WWII

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Indiana University Press, Mar 22, 2013 - History - 288 pages
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Things you can see and touch can bring to mind the time when the items were made and used. In Touching America’s History, Meredith Mason Brown uses twenty objects to summon up major developments in America’s history. The objects range in date from a Pequot stone axe head probably made before the Pequot War in 1637, to the western novel Dwight Eisenhower was reading while waiting for the weather to clear so that the Normandy Invasion could begin, and to a piece of a toilet bowl found in the bombed-out wreckage of Hitler’s home in the Bavarian alps in 1945. Among the other historically evocative items are a Kentucky rifle carried by Col. John Floyd, killed by Indians in 1783; a letter from George Washington explaining why he will not be able to attend the Constitutional Convention; shavings from the scaffold on which John Brown was hanged; a pistol belonging to Gen. William Preston, in whose arms Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston bled to death after being shot at the Battle of Shiloh; and the records of a court-martial for the killing by an American officer of a Filipino captive during the Philippine War. Together, the objects call to mind nothing less than the birth, growth, and shaping of what is now America.

 

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Contents

History through Things You Can Touch
1
The Pequot War
5
2 A Compass a Rifle and the Opening of the West
20
The Constitutional Convention
44
Seminole and Mexican Wars
54
The Hanging of John Brown
80
6 Diaries from Indian Country Civil War Back Home
96
7 Travels of an English Pistol
125
8 A Killing in the Philippines
150
9 An Award from General Pershing
177
10 The Czar of Halfaday Creek and Hitlers Toilet Bowl
196
The Shaping of America
225
Notes
229
Bibliography
253
Index
263
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About the author (2013)

Meredith Mason Brown is author of Frontiersman: Daniel Boone and the Making of America.

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