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A History of the American People [Paperback]

By Paul Johnson (Author)
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Item description for A History of the American People by Paul Johnson...

Reinterprets the history of the United States from the first settlements to the Clinton administration, covering politics, economics, the arts, and society, emphasizing the role of religion and the links to England

Publishers Description

"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."

Johnson's history presents John Winthrop, Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson, Cotton Mather, Franklin, Tom Paine, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison from a fresh perspective. It emphasizes the role of religion in American history and how early America was linked to England's history and culture and includes incisive portraits of Andrew Jackson, Chief Justice Marshall, Clay, Lincoln, and Jefferson Davis. Johnson shows how Grover Cleveland and Teddy Roosevelt ushered in the age of big business and industry and how Woodrow Wilson revolutionized the government's role. He offers new views of Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover and of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and his role as commander in chief during World War II. An examination of the unforeseen greatness of Harry Truman and reassessments of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush follow. "Compulsively readable," said Foreign Affairs of Johnson's unique narrative skills and sharp profiles of people.

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.

Citations And Professional Reviews
A History of the American People by Paul Johnson has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2002 page 550

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Harper Perennial
Pages   1088
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.1" Width: 5.39" Height: 1.76"
Weight:   1.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 17, 1999
Publisher   Harper Perennial
ISBN  0060930349  
ISBN13  9780060930349  
UPC  099455016957  

Availability  73 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2016 12:25.
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More About Paul Johnson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Paul Johnson is the author of the bestselling books "Napoleon: A Penguin Life "and "Churchill, " among others. He writes a monthly column for "Forbes "and has also written for "The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, "and many other publications. He lives in London.

Paul Johnson was born in 1928.

Paul Johnson has published or released items in the following series...
  1. P.S.
  2. Perennial Classics
  3. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States

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Reviews - What do customers think about A History of the American People?

A Great Read  Apr 10, 2008
This is a very informative book to read because I have read this book in History class and made an "A". Everybody in class was required to buy the book but I was not disappointed with its historical values.
A broad, and different, perspective on American history  Mar 23, 2008
Recommended for two types of readers: 1) The person who wants to get an overview of U.S. history in one easy-to-read (but large) volume; and 2) those who, like myself, have read many American biographies and histories. We can benefit in at least two respects. First, we get to share a history of our nation as seen from an outsider's perspective. Second, we learn factual history that somehow never made it into the books we have read, perhaps because we, collectively, were not much interested.
My comment avoids political controversy, so I'll stick with the earlier portion of the book.
First, the beginnings of American slavery were brand new to me, and fascinating.
Second -- and as a Philadelphian news to me -- was Johnson's view of the northern colonies/States' support of slavery. Quakers in Barbados, rich from slave trading, moving to North America! news to me.
Especially appreciated was Johnson's discussion of the "thousand years of political traditions, inherited from England," which formed the basis of our Founding Fathers' political actions.
Johnson attributes to Madison's famous "We, the people" Lincoln's rationale for not permitting States to leave the Union.
And more, much more. Buy it. Enjoy it!
One word of warning: read cautiously; Johnson has some blunders, the funniest of which is calling Horatio Gates "Horatio Alger."
Excellent perspective  Feb 24, 2008
Lengthy, but fascinating. I'm reading this to go along with my eldest's study of Am.History. It is refreshing and eye-opening to read a text from a European historian who actually agrees that America did some good in the world. JFK is not a saint, Nixon is not a villain. The truth is somewhere in between. A good education for me!
History Text  Jan 18, 2008
It's a book I needed for class, but it happens to make history very interesting.
Excellent!  Sep 26, 2007
This book digs into the details of our American history with facts, insight and enlightment. I pick it up every evening before I retire and I have a difficult time putting it down.

Absolutely love it!

John R. Iannuzzi

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