U.S. History
Featured Items
The Secret Way to War: The Downing Street Memo And the Iraq War's Buried History
The Secret Way to War
The Downing Street Memo And the Iraq War's Buried History
Paperback      ISBN: 1590172078

The United States went to war in Iraq to eliminate the threat from Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction--which turned out not to exist. As the war drags on, the strange case of the weapons that were not there remains a matter of bitter debate, for it underscores the fact that the goals and the motivations of the Bush administration officials who argued for war are still largely obscure. Yet in fact there exists crucial and little-publicized evidence that lets us understand the secretive, even deceptive, way that the the US launched a war of choice in the Middle East in March 2003.

At the beginning of May 2005, just before the British elections, the London Times published the "Downing Street Memo," the leaked secret minutes of a July 2002 meeting of senior British intelligence, foreign policy, and security officials. The memo made clear that eight months before the invasion of Iraq, President Bush had already decided on war. The British officials who attended the meeting were told that the "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," that the US wanted to avoid consulting the UN, and that few plans were being made for the aftermath of war.

Largely ignored in the US press for weeks afterward, The New York Review of Books published the memo in its entirety with an extensive commentary by award-winning journalist Mark Danner. Danner explains how the memo clarifies the broader--and largely concealed--history of the events leading up to the Iraq war. He shows that the Bush and Blair administrations advocated the resumption of UN weapons inspections as a means not to avoid war but to ensure it. Most importantly, Danner argues that in the face of the memo's clear evidence of deception, the press, public, and Congress still have not held the administration responsible.

The Secret Way to War, with a preface by by Frank Rich, includes Mark Danner's strongly argued analysis of the Downing Street Memo as well as the complete text of the memo and seven other leaked British documents. Collectively, the documents show the members of Tony Blair's government and their counterparts in Washington struggling to find legal and political rationales and strategies for regime change in Iraq.
Lincoln: Speeches and Writings 1832-1858
Lincoln
Speeches and Writings 1832-1858
Hardcover      ISBN: 0940450437

Abraham Lincoln measured the promise--and cost--of American freedom in lucid and extraordinarily moving prose, famous for its native wit, simple dignity of expressions, and peculiarly American flavor. This volume, with its companion, Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writing 1859-1865, comprises the most comprehensive selection ever published. over 240 speeches, letters, and drafts take Lincoln from rural law practice to national prominence, and chart his emergence as an eloquent antislavery advocate and defender of the constitution. included are the complete Lincoln-Douglas debates, perhaps the most famous confrontation in American political history.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth
Virgin Land
The American West as Symbol and Myth
Paperback      ISBN: 0674939557

The spell that the West has always exercised on the American people had its most intense impact on American literature and thought during the nineteenth century. Henry Nash Smith shows, with vast comprehension, the influence of the nineteenth-century West in all its variety and strength, in special relation to social, economic, cultural, and political forces. He traces the myths and symbols of the Westward movement such as the general notion of a Westward-moving Course of Empire, the Wild Western hero, the virtuous yeoman-farmer--in such varied nineteenth-century writings as Leaves of Grass, the great corpus of Dime Novels, and most notably, Frederick Jackson Turner's The Frontier in American History. Moreover, he synthesizes the imaginative expression of Western myths and symbols in literature with their role in contemporary politics, economics, and society, embodied in such forms as the idea of Manifest Destiny, the conflict in the American mind between idealizations of primitivism on the one hand and of progress and civilization on the other, the Homestead Act of 1862, and public-land policy after the Civil War.

The myths of the American West that found their expression in nineteenth-century words and deeds remain a part of every American's heritage, and Smith, with his insight into their power and significance, makes possible a critical appreciation of that heritage.

The Johnstown Flood
The Johnstown Flood
Paperback      ISBN: 0671207148

The stunning story of one of America's great disasters, a preventable tragedy of Gilded Age America, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough.

At the end of the nineteenth century, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel town filled with hardworking families striving for a piece of the nation's burgeoning industrial prosperity. In the mountains above Johnstown, an old earth dam had been hastily rebuilt to create a lake for an exclusive summer resort patronized by the tycoons of that same industrial prosperity, among them Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon. Despite repeated warnings of possible danger, nothing was done about the dam. Then came May 31, 1889, when the dam burst, sending a wall of water thundering down the mountain, smashing through Johnstown, and killing more than 2,000 people. It was a tragedy that became a national scandal.

Graced by David McCullough's remarkable gift for writing richly textured, sympathetic social history, The Johnstown Flood is an absorbing, classic portrait of life in nineteenth-century America, of overweening confidence, of energy, and of tragedy. It also offers a powerful historical lesson for our century and all times: the danger of assuming that because people are in positions of responsibility they are necessarily behaving responsibly.
The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson I
The Path to Power
The Years of Lyndon Johnson I
Paperback      ISBN: 0679729453

The Years of Lyndon Johnson is the political biography of our time. No president--no era of American politics--has been so intensively and sharply examined at a time when so many prime witnesses to hitherto untold or misinterpreted facets of a life, a career, and a period of history could still be persuaded to speak.

The Path to Power, Book One, reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the almost superhuman drive, energy, and urge to power that set LBJ apart. Chronicling the startling early emergence of Johnson's political genius, it follows him from his Texas boyhood through the years of the Depression in the Texas hill Country to the triumph of his congressional debut in New Deal Washington, to his heartbreaking defeat in his first race for the Senate, and his attainment, nonetheless, of the national power for which he hungered.

We see in him, from earliest childhood, a fierce, unquenchable necessity to be first, to win, to dominate--coupled with a limitless capacity for hard, unceasing labor in the service of his own ambition. Caro shows us the big, gangling, awkward young Lyndon--raised in one of the country's most desperately poor and isolated areas, his education mediocre at best, his pride stung by his father's slide into failure and financial ruin--lunging for success, moving inexorably toward that ultimate "impossible" goal that he sets for himself years before any friend or enemy suspects what it may be.

We watch him, while still at college, instinctively (and ruthlessly) creating the beginnings of the political machine that was to serve him for three decades. We see him employing his extraordinary ability to mesmerize and manipulate powerful older men, to mesmerize (and sometimes almost enslave) useful subordinates. We see him carrying out, before his thirtieth year, his first great political inspiration: tapping-and becoming the political conduit for-the money and influence of the new oil men and contractors who were to grow with him to immense power. We follow, close up, the radical fluctuations of his relationships with the formidable "Mr. Sam" Raybum (who loved him like a son and whom he betrayed) and with FDR himself. And we follow the dramas of his emotional life-the intensities and complications of his relationships with his family, his contemporaries, his girls; his wooing and winning of the shy Lady Bird; his secret love affair, over many years, with the mistress of one of his most ardent and generous supporters . . .

Johnson driving his people to the point of exhausted tears, equally merciless with himself . . . Johnson bullying, cajoling, lying, yet inspiring an amazing loyalty . . . Johnson maneuvering to dethrone the unassailable old Jack Garner (then Vice President of the United States) as the New Deal's "connection" in Texas, and seize the power himself . . . Johnson raging . . . Johnson hugging . . . Johnson bringing light and, indeed, life to the worn Hill Country farmers and their old-at-thirty wives via the district's first electric lines.

We see him at once unscrupulous, admirable, treacherous, devoted. And we see the country that bred him: the harshness and "nauseating loneliness" of the rural life; the tragic panorama of the Depression; the sudden glow of hope at the dawn of the Age of Roosevelt. And always, in the foreground, on the move, LBJ.

Here is Lyndon Johnson--his Texas, his Washington, his America--in a book that brings us as close as we have ever been to a true perception of political genius and the American political process.
The Long, Bitter Trail: Andrew Jackson and the Indians
The Long, Bitter Trail
Andrew Jackson and the Indians
Paperback      ISBN: 0809015528

The Hill and Wang Critical Issues Series: concise, affordable works on pivotal topics in American history, society, and politics.

This account of Congress's Indian Removal Act of 1830 focuses on the plight of the Indians of the Southeast--Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles--who were forced to leave their ancestral lands and relocate to what is now the state of Oklahoma. Revealing Andrew Jackson's central role in the government's policies, Wallace examines the racist attitudes toward Native Americans that led to their removal and, ultimately, their tragic fate.

Early Schools
Early Schools
Paperback      ISBN: 0865050147

Shows what early schoolhouses were like, describes what lessons children learned, and looks at their games, activities, pranks, and punishments.

Truman
Truman
Paperback      ISBN: 0671869205
The Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Harry S. Truman, whose presidency included momentous events from the atomic bombing of Japan to the outbreak of the Cold War and the Korean War, told by America's beloved and distinguished historian.

The life of Harry S. Truman is one of the greatest of American stories, filled with vivid characters--Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Wallace Truman, George Marshall, Joe McCarthy, and Dean Acheson--and dramatic events. In this riveting biography, acclaimed historian David McCullough not only captures the man--a more complex, informed, and determined man than ever before imagined--but also the turbulent times in which he rose, boldly, to meet unprecedented challenges. The last president to serve as a living link between the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, Truman's story spans the raw world of the Missouri frontier, World War I, the powerful Pendergast machine of Kansas City, the legendary Whistle-Stop Campaign of 1948, and the decisions to drop the atomic bomb, confront Stalin at Potsdam, send troops to Korea, and fire General MacArthur. Drawing on newly discovered archival material and extensive interviews with Truman's own family, friends, and Washington colleagues, McCullough tells the deeply moving story of the seemingly ordinary "man from Missouri" who was perhaps the most courageous president in our history.
Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream
Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream
Paperback      ISBN: 0312060270

Doris Kearns Goodwin's classic life of Lyndon Johnson, who presided over the Great Society, the Vietnam War, and other defining moments the tumultuous 1960s, is a monument in political biography. From the moment the author, then a young woman from Harvard, first encountered President Johnson at a White House dance in the spring of 1967, she became fascinated by the man--his character, his enormous energy and drive, and his manner of wielding these gifts in an endless pursuit of power. As a member of his White House staff, she soon became his personal confidante, and in the years before his death he revealed himself to her as he did to no other.

Widely praised and enormously popular, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream is a work of biography like few others. With uncanny insight and a richly engrossing style, the author renders LBJ in all his vibrant, conflicted humanity.

Francis Parkman: France and England in North America Vol. 1 (Loa #11): Pioneers of France in the New World / The Jesuits in North America / La Salle a
Francis Parkman: France and England in North America Vol. 1 (Loa #11)
Pioneers of France in the New World / The Jesuits in North America / La Salle a
Hardcover      ISBN: 0940450100

This Library of America volume, along with its companion, presents, for the first time in compact form, all seven titles of Francis Parkman's monumental account of France and England's imperial struggle for dominance on the North American continent. Deservedly compared as a literary achievement to Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Parkman's accomplishment is hardly less awesome than the explorations and adventures he so vividly describes.

Pioneers of France in the New World (1865) begins with the early and tragic settlement of the French Huguenots in Florida, then shifts to the northern reaches of the continent and follows the expeditions of Samuel de Champlain up the St. Lawrence River and into the Great Lakes as he mapped the wilderness, organized the fur trade, promoted Christianity among the natives, and waged a savage forest campaign against the Iroquois.

The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century (1867) traces the zealous efforts of the Jesuits and other Roman Catholic orders to convert the Native American tribes of North America.

La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West (1869) records that explorer's voyages on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and his treks, often alone, across the vast western prairies and through the labyrinthine swamps of Louisiana.

The Old R gime in Canada (1874) recounts the political struggles among the religious sects, colonial officials, feudal chiefs, royal ministers, and military commanders of Canada. Their bitter fights over the monopoly of the fur trade, the sale of brandy to the natives, the importation of wives from the orphanages and poorhouses of France, and the bizarre fanaticism of religious extremists and their "incessant supernaturalism" animate this pioneering social history of early Canada.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA
is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.