United States History, General
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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 Pocket Guide to Minnesota Place Names: The Stories Behind 1,200 Places in the North Star State
The Pocket Guide to Minnesota Place Names
The Stories Behind 1,200 Places in the North Star State
Paperback      ISBN: 0873514246

Within our state's borders you'll find such exotic place names as Amor and Darling, Fertile and Conception, Comfort and Happyland, Looneyville and Nimrod, Flour Lake and the Diarrhoea River, Great Scott and Eureka, Home and Nowhere, Moonshine and Whiskey Creek, Stringtown and Pig's Eye, Snowball and North Pole, Embarrass and Kiester, Coin and Money Creek, and Chickentown and Bull Moose. But how did these places get such unusual names? Wonder no longer as author Michael Fedo relates the curious and prosaic ways in which a place gets named.

Place names tell a rich history of how our state was settled. This compact guide presents the fascinating stories behind over 1,200 Minnesota place names. Included are all the names you'd expect--counties, larger towns and cities, major lakes and rivers--as well as the curious and odd. Culled from over 20,000 entries in the classic work Minnesota Place Names by Warren Upham, this concise guide is the perfect companion for anyone who travels the highways and waterways of the North Star state.

To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian
To America
Personal Reflections of an Historian
Hardcover      ISBN: 0743202759

In "To America," Stephen E. Ambrose, one of the country's most influential historians, reflects on his long career as an American historian and explains what an historian's job is all about. He celebrates America's spirit, which has carried us so far. He confronts its failures and struggles. As always in his much acclaimed work, Ambrose brings alive the men and women, famous and not, who have peopled our history and made the United States a model for the world.

Taking a few swings at today's political correctness, as well as his own early biases, Ambrose grapples with the country's historic sins of racism, its neglect and ill treatment of Native Americans, and its tragic errors (such as the war in Vietnam, which he ardently opposed on campus, where he was a professor). He reflects on some of the country's early founders who were progressive thinkers while living a contradiction as slaveholders, great men such as Washington and Jefferson. He contemplates the genius of Andrew Jackson's defeat of a vastly superior British force with a ragtag army in the War of 1812. He describes the grueling journey that Lewis and Clark made to open up the country, and the building of the railroad that joined it and produced great riches for a few barons.

Ambrose explains the misunderstood presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, records the country's assumption of world power under the leadership of Theodore Roosevelt, and extols its heroic victory of World War II. He writes about women's rights and civil rights and immigration, founding museums, and nation- building. He contrasts the presidencies of Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Throughout, Ambrose celebratesthe unflappable American spirit.

Most important, Ambrose writes about writing history. "The last five letters of the word 'history' tell us that it is an account of the past that is about people and what they did, which is what makes it the most fascinating of subjects."

"To America" is an instant classic for all those interested in history, patriotism, and the love of writing.

James Dean Died Here: The Locations of America's Pop Culture Landmarks
James Dean Died Here
The Locations of America's Pop Culture Landmarks
Paperback      ISBN: 1891661310
James Dean Died Here takes you on a journey across North America to the exact locations where the most significant events in American popular culture took place. It's a road map for pop culture sites, from Patty Hearst's bank to the garage where Apple Computer was born. Featuring hundreds of photographs, this fully illustrated encyclopedic look at the most famous and infamous pop culture events includes historical information on over 600 landmarks--as well as their exact location. James Dean Died Here is an amazing portrait of the bizarre, shocking, weird and wonderful moments that have come to define American popular culture.
Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture
Mystic Chords of Memory
The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture
Paperback      ISBN: 0679741771

Mystic Chords of Memory

Illustrated with hundreds of well-chosen anecdotes and minute observations . . . Kammen is a demon researcher who seems to have mined his nuggets from the entire corpus of American cultural history. . . . Insightful and sardonic.--Washington Post Book World

In this groundbreaking, panoramic work of American cultural history, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Machine That Would Go of Itself examines a central paradox of our national identity. How did the land of the future acquire a past? And to what extent has our collective memory of that past--as embodied in our traditions--been distorted, or even manufactured? Ranging from John Adams to Ronald Reagan, from the origins of Independence Day celebrations to the controversies surrounding the Vietnam War Memorial, from the Daughters of the American Revolution to immigrant associations, and filled with incisive analyses of such phenonema as Americana and its collectors, historic villages and Disneyland, Mystic Chords of Memory is a brilliant, immensely readable, and enormously important book.

Fascinating . . . a subtle and teeming narrative . . . masterly.--Time

This is a big, ambitious book, and Kammen pulls it off admirably. . . . He] brings a prodigious mind and much scholarly rigor to his task. . . . An important book--and a revealing look at how Americans look at themselves.--Milwaukee Journal
The Partly Cloudy Patriot
The Partly Cloudy Patriot
Hardcover      ISBN: 0743223527

From the author who Nick Hornby calls smart, funny, soulful, and even educational--a smart, funny, soulful, and even educational collection of first-person experiences about life in America. Vowell captures the hilarious and moving things that happen when she confronts history.

Collision With History: The Search for John F. Kennedy's Pt 109
Collision With History
The Search for John F. Kennedy's Pt 109
Hardcover      ISBN: 0792268768

Michael Hamilton Morgan writes on the PT 109 collision: It s about 2 a.m., August 2, 1943. Lt. John F. Kennedy squints into the fog and black while at the wheel of PT 109, idling in the Blackett Strait off Gizo in the Solomon Islands. His orders are to attack the Tokyo Express resu

In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors
In Harm's Way
The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors
Paperback      ISBN: 0805073663

A harrowing, adrenaline-charged account of America's worst naval disaster -- and of the heroism of the men who, against all odds, survived.

On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed in the South Pacific by a Japanese submarine. An estimated 300 men were killed upon impact; close to 900 sailors were cast into the Pacific Ocean, where they remained undetected by the navy for nearly four days and nights. Battered by a savage sea, they struggled to stay alive, fighting off sharks, hypothermia, and dementia. By the time rescue arrived, all but 317 men had died. The captain's subsequent court-martial left many questions unanswered: How did the navy fail to realize the Indianapolis was missing? Why was the cruiser traveling unescorted in enemy waters? And perhaps most amazing of all, how did these 317 men manage to survive?

Interweaving the stories of three survivors -- the captain, the ship's doctor, and a young marine -- journalist Doug Stanton has brought this astonishing human drama to life in a narrative that is at once immediate and timeless. The definitive account of a little-known chapter in World War II history, In Harm's Way is destined to become a classic tale of war, survival, and extraordinary courage.

The Age of Flight: A History of America's Pioneering Airline
The Age of Flight
A History of America's Pioneering Airline
Hardcover      ISBN: 0966706110

Celebrate 75 years of history and innovation with United Airlines' anniversary coffee-table book. United's rich history, from early airmail carrier to global airline, is presented in stirring words and archival pictures, featuring 256 pages and 286 color and black-and-white photos and illustrations.

The Great Tax Wars: Lincoln to Wilson : The Fierce Battles over Money and Power That Transformed the Nation
The Great Tax Wars
Lincoln to Wilson : The Fierce Battles over Money and Power That Transformed the Nation
Hardcover      ISBN: 0684850680

A major work of history, "The Great Tax Wars" is the gripping, epic story of six decades of often violent conflict over wealth, power, and fairness that gave America the income tax. It's the story of a tumultuous period of radical change, from Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War through the progressive era under Theodore Roosevelt and ending with Woodrow Wilson and World War I. During these years of upheaval, America was transformed from an agrarian society into a mighty industrial nation as great fortunes were amassed, militant farmers and workers rebelled against concentrations of vast wealth and power, class war was narrowly averted, and America emerged as a global power.

Award-winning journalist Steven R. Weisman begins his narrative with the Civil War, when Lincoln imposed the nation's first income tax to pay the Union Army and dampen dangerous resentment against bankers, merchants, and factory owners who profited from the war. Repealed by Congress after the war, the tax was reenacted in 1894 to deal with the nation's worst economic collapse until that time. By reducing the government's heavy reliance on tariffs for revenue, the tax benefited farmers in the West and South who were rebelling against the high cost of imports and goods manufactured in the North and East. But a year later, the Supreme Court declared the income tax unconstitutional, plunging the court into one of the worst controversies it has endured and once again pitting region against region and workers and farmers against industrialists. The court's decision also handed populist congressman William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska, who was a champion of the tax, a major issue in his unsuccessful campaign forpresident in 1896.

The turn of the century brought an outpouring of progressive reforms under President Roosevelt. Toward the end of his term, T.R. proposed an income tax to help break the excessive power of the wealthy and the trusts and banks they controlled, but it took a deal between President William Howard Taft and Congress in 1909, and then ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution, to finally get the tax enacted in 1913. The tax took effect just as Wilson entered the White House and in time to finance America's involvement in World War I.

"The Great Tax Wars" features an extraordinary cast of characters, including the powerful men who built the nation's industries and the politicians and reformers who battled them -- from J. P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie to Lincoln, T.R., Wilson, Bryan, and Eugene Debs. From their ferocious battles emerged a more flexible definition of democracy, economic justice, and free enterprise largely framed by a more progressive tax system. Drawing on their words and on newspaper and magazine accounts of the time, Weisman shows how the ever-controversial income tax transformed America and how today's debates about the tax echo those of the past.