U.s. History - Westward Expansion
The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party
The Indifferent Stars Above
The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0061348112

From the #1 bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat comes an unforgettable epic of family, tragedy, and survival on the American frontier

"An ideal pairing of talent and material.... Engrossing.... A deft and ambitious storyteller." -- Mary Roach, New York Times Book Review

In April of 1846, twenty-one-year-old Sarah Graves, intent on a better future, set out west from Illinois with her new husband, her parents, and eight siblings. Seven months later, after joining a party of pioneers led by George Donner, they reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains as the first heavy snows of the season closed the pass ahead of them. In early December, starving and desperate, Sarah and fourteen others set out for California on snowshoes, and, over the next thirty-two days, endured almost unfathomable hardships and horrors.

In this gripping narrative, New York Times bestselling author Daniel James Brown sheds new light on one of the most legendary events in American history. Following every painful footstep of Sarah's journey with the Donner Party, Brown produces a tale both spellbinding and richly informative.

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History
Empire of the Summer Moon
Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History
Paperback      ISBN: 1416591060
The Epic New York Times Bestseller
Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award
A New York Times Notable Book
Winner of the Texas Book Award
Winner of the Oklahoma Book Award

This stunning historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West "is nothing short of a revelation...will leave dust and blood on your jeans" (The New York Times Book Review).

Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches.

Although readers may be more familiar with the tribal names Apache and Sioux, it was in fact the legendary fighting ability of the Comanches that determined when the American West opened up. Comanche boys became adept bareback riders by age six; full Comanche braves were considered the best horsemen who ever rode. They were so masterful at war and so skillful with their arrows and lances that they stopped the northern drive of colonial Spain from Mexico and halted the French expansion westward from Louisiana. White settlers arriving in Texas from the eastern United States were surprised to find the frontier being rolled backward by Comanches incensed by the invasion of their tribal lands.

The war with the Comanches lasted four decades, in effect holding up the development of the new American nation. Gwynne's exhilarating account delivers a sweeping narrative that encompasses Spanish colonialism, the Civil War, the destruction of the buffalo herds, and the arrival of the railroads, and the amazing story of Cynthia Ann Parker and her son Quanah--a historical feast for anyone interested in how the United States came into being.

Hailed by critics, S. C. Gwynne's account of these events is meticulously researched, intellectually provocative, and, above all, thrillingly told. Empire of the Summer Moon announces him as a major new writer of American history.
John Quincy Adams: Diaries Vol. 2 1821-1848 (Loa #294)
John Quincy Adams
Diaries Vol. 2 1821-1848 (Loa #294)
Hardcover      ISBN: 1598535226
For the 250th anniversary of John Quincy Adams's birth, a landmark new selected edition of an American masterpiece: the incomparable self-portrait of a man and his times from the Revolution to the coming of the Civil War.

The diary of John Quincy Adams is one of the most extraordinary works in American literature. Begun in 1779 at the age of twelve and kept more or less faithfully until his death almost 70 years later, and totaling some fifteen thousand closely-written manuscript pages, it is both an unrivaled record of historical events and personalities from the nation's founding to the antebellum era and a masterpiece of American self-portraiture, tracing the spiritual, literary, and scientific interests of an exceptionally lively mind. Now, for the 250th anniversary of Adams's birth, Library of America and historian David Waldstreicher present a two-volume reader's edition of diary selections based for the first time on the original manuscripts, restoring personal and revealing passages suppressed in earlier editions.

Volume 2 opens with Adams serving as Secretary of State, amid political maneuverings within and outside James Monroe's cabinet to become his successor, a process that culminates in Adams's election to the presidency by the House of Representatives after the deadlocked four-way contest of 1824. Even as Adams takes the oath of office, rivals Henry Clay, his Secretary of State, John C. Calhoun, his vice president, and an embittered Andrew Jackson, eye the election of 1828. The diary records in candid detail his frustration as his far-sighted agenda for national improvement founders on the rocks of internecine political factionalism, conflict that results in his becoming only the second president, with his father, to fail to secure reelection. After a short-lived retirement, Adams returns to public service as a Congressman from Massachusetts, and for the last seventeen years of his life he leads efforts to resist the extension of slavery and to end the notorious "gag rule" that stifles debate on the issue in Congress. In 1841 he further burnishes his reputation as a scourge of the Slave Power by successfully defending African mutineers of the slave ship Amistad before the Supreme Court. The diary achieves perhaps its greatest force in its prescient anticipation of the Civil War and Emancipation, an "object," as Adams described it during the Missouri Crisis, "vast in its compass, awful in its prospects, sublime and beautiful in its issue."
The Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny
The Best Land Under Heaven
The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny
Paperback      ISBN: 1631494007

"WESTWARD HO FOR OREGON AND CALIFORNIA "

In the eerily warm spring of 1846, George Donner placed this advertisement in a local newspaper as he and a restless caravan prepared for what they hoped would be the most rewarding journey of a lifetime. But in eagerly pursuing what would a century later become known as the "American dream," this optimistic-yet-motley crew of emigrants was met with a chilling nightmare; in the following months, their jingoistic excitement would be replaced by desperate cries for help that would fall silent in the deadly snow-covered mountains of the Sierra Nevada.

We know these early pioneers as the Donner Party, a name that has elicited horror since the late 1840s. With The Best Land Under Heaven, Wallis has penned what critics agree is "destined to become the standard account" (Washington Post) of the notorious saga. Cutting through 160 years of myth-making, the "expert storyteller" (True West) compellingly recounts how the unlikely band of early pioneers met their fate. Interweaving information from hundreds of newly uncovered documents, Wallis illuminates how a combination of greed and recklessness led to one of America's most calamitous and sensationalized catastrophes. The result is a "fascinating, horrifying, and inspiring" (Oklahoman) examination of the darkest side of Manifest Destiny.

The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West
The Pioneers
The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West
Hardcover      ISBN: 1501168681
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough rediscovers an important and dramatic chapter in the American story--the settling of the Northwest Territory by dauntless pioneers who overcame incredible hardships to build a community based on ideals that would come to define our country.

As part of the Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain recognized the new United States of America, Britain ceded the land that comprised the immense Northwest Territory, a wilderness empire northwest of the Ohio River containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A Massachusetts minister named Manasseh Cutler was instrumental in opening this vast territory to veterans of the Revolutionary War and their families for settlement. Included in the Northwest Ordinance were three remarkable conditions: freedom of religion, free universal education, and most importantly, the prohibition of slavery. In 1788 the first band of pioneers set out from New England for the Northwest Territory under the leadership of Revolutionary War veteran General Rufus Putnam. They settled in what is now Marietta on the banks of the Ohio River.

McCullough tells the story through five major characters: Cutler and Putnam; Cutler's son Ephraim; and two other men, one a carpenter turned architect, and the other a physician who became a prominent pioneer in American science. They and their families created a town in a primeval wilderness, while coping with such frontier realities as floods, fires, wolves and bears, no roads or bridges, no guarantees of any sort, all the while negotiating a contentious and sometimes hostile relationship with the native people. Like so many of McCullough's subjects, they let no obstacle deter or defeat them.

Drawn in great part from a rare and all-but-unknown collection of diaries and letters by the key figures, The Pioneers is a uniquely American story of people whose ambition and courage led them to remarkable accomplishments. This is a revelatory and quintessentially American story, written with David McCullough's signature narrative energy.
Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory That Changed American History
Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers
The Texas Victory That Changed American History
Hardcover      ISBN: 0525540539
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The pulse-pounding story of the fight for Texas by The New York Times bestselling author of George Washington's Secret Six and Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates.

In March 1836, the Mexican army led by General Santa Anna massacred more than two hundred Texians who had been trapped in the Alamo. After thirteen days of fighting, American legends Jim Bowie and Davey Crockett died there, along with other Americans who had moved to Texas looking for a fresh start. It was a crushing blow to Texas's fight for freedom.

But the story doesn't end there. The defeat galvanized the Texian settlers, and under General Sam Houston's leadership they rallied. Six weeks after the Alamo, Houston and his band of settlers defeated Santa Anna's army in a shocking victory, winning the independence for which so many had died.

Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers recaptures this pivotal war that changed America forever, and sheds light on the tightrope all war heroes walk between courage and calculation. Thanks to Kilmeade's storytelling, a new generation of readers will remember the Alamo--and recognize the lesser known heroes who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent
A Country of Vast Designs
James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent
Paperback      ISBN: 074329744x
President James K. Polk, often overlooked yet ever-consequential, comes to life in this "compelling, perceptive portrait" (The Wall Street Journal) biography of the 11th President of the United States, Andrew Jackson prot g , and champion of "manifest destiny."

In a one-term presidency, James K. Polk completed the story of America's Manifest Destiny--extending its territory across the continent by threatening England with war and manufacturing a controversial and unpopular two-year war with Mexico. A crucial architect of modern America, James K. Polk deserves to be elevated out of the mists of history (Jon Meacham, author of American Lion).
James Madison: A Life Reconsidered
James Madison
A Life Reconsidered
Paperback      ISBN: 0143127039
A major new biography of the fourth U.S. president, from New York Times-bestselling author Lynne Cheney

James Madison was a true genius of the early republic, the leader who did more than any other to create the nation we know today. This majestic new biography tells his story.

Outwardly reserved, Madison was the intellectual driving force behind the Constitution. His visionary political philosophy--eloquently presented in the Federalist Papers--was a crucial factor behind the Constitution's ratification, and his political savvy was of major importance in getting the new government underway. As secretary of state under Thomas Jefferson, he managed the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the size of the United States. As president, Madison led the country in its first war under the Constitution, the War of 1812. Without precedent to guide him, he would demonstrate that a republic could defend its honor and independence while remaining true to its young constitution.
American West
American West
Paperback      ISBN: 0684804417

Renowned storyteller Dee Brown, author of the bestselling Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, recreates the struggles of Native Americans, settlers, and ranchers in this stunning volume that illuminates the history of the old West that's filled with maps and vintage photographs.

Beginning with the demise of the Native Americans of the Plains, Brown depicts the onrush of the burgeoning cattle trade and the waves of immigrants who ultimately "settled" the land. In the retelling of this oft-told saga, Brown has demonstrated once again his abilities as a master storyteller and an entertaining popular historian.

By turns heroic, tragic, and even humorous, The American West brings to life American tragedy and triumph in the years from 1840 to the turn of the century, and a roster of characters both great and small: Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Dull Knife, Crazy Horse, Captain Jack, John H. Tunstall, Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, Wyatt Earp, the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, Wild Bill Hickok, Charles Goodnight, Oliver Loving, Buffalo Bill, and many others.

The American West is about cattle and the railroads; it is about settlers who came to claim a land not originally their own and how they slowly imposed law and order on these wild and untamed places; and it is about the wanton destruction of the Native American way of life. This is epic history at its best and popular history at its most readable.

This new work is culled from Dee Brown's highly acclaimed writings, which instantly established him as one of America's foremost Western authorities. Fully revised, rewritten, and edited into one seamless account of America's most famous frontier, this epic narrative, along with the introduction and a chronological table of events, etches an unforgettable and poignant portrait. The American West is at once a tribute to the West and a majestic new peak for a writer whose long and successful career has been synonymous with excellence in frontier history.
A Nation Without Borders: The United States and Its World in an Age of Civil Wars, 1830-1910
A Nation Without Borders
The United States and Its World in an Age of Civil Wars, 1830-1910
Paperback      ISBN: 0143121782
A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian's "breathtakingly original" (Junot Diaz) reinterpretation of the eight decades surrounding the Civil War. "Capatious and] buzzing with ideas." --The Boston Globe

Volume 3 in the Penguin History of the United States, edited by Eric Foner

In this ambitious story of American imperial conquest and capitalist development, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Steven Hahn takes on the conventional histories of the nineteenth century and offers a perspective that promises to be as enduring as it is controversial. It begins and ends in Mexico and, throughout, is internationalist in orientation. It challenges the political narrative of "sectionalism," emphasizing the national footing of slavery and the struggle between the northeast and Mississippi Valley for continental supremacy. It places the Civil War in the context of many domestic rebellions against state authority, including those of Native Americans. It fully incorporates the trans-Mississippi west, suggesting the importance of the Pacific to the imperial vision of political leaders and of the west as a proving ground for later imperial projects overseas. It reconfigures the history of capitalism, insisting on the centrality of state formation and slave emancipation to its consolidation. And it identifies a sweeping era of "reconstructions" in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that simultaneously laid the foundations for corporate liberalism and social democracy.

The era from 1830 to 1910 witnessed massive transformations in how people lived, worked, thought about themselves, and struggled to thrive. It also witnessed the birth of economic and political institutions that still shape our world. From an agricultural society with a weak central government, the United States became an urban and industrial society in which government assumed a greater and greater role in the framing of social and economic life. As the book ends, the United States, now a global economic and political power, encounters massive warfare between imperial powers in Europe and a massive revolution on its southern border―the remarkable Mexican Revolution―which together brought the nineteenth century to a close while marking the important themes of the twentieth.