How did a land and people of such immense diversity come together under a banner of freedom and equality to form one of the most remarkable nations in the world? Everyone from young adults to grandparents will be fascinated by the answers uncovered in James West Davidson's vividly told A Little History of the United States.
Davidson guides listeners through 500 years, from the first contact between the two halves of the world to the rise of America as a superpower in an era of atomic perils and diminishing resources.
In short, vivid chapters the audiobook brings to life hundreds of individuals whose tales are part of the larger American story. Pilgrim William Bradford stumbles into an Indian deer trap on his first day in America; Harriet Tubman lets loose a pair of chickens to divert attention from her escaping slaves; the toddler Andrew Carnegie, later an ambitious industrial magnate, gobbles his oatmeal with a spoon in each hand. Such stories are riveting in themselves, but they also spark larger questions to ponder about freedom, equality, and unity in the context of a nation that is and always has been remarkably divided and diverse.
©2015 James West Davidson (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Davidson's little history - part of a series apparently inspired by Gombrich's little history of the world - captures the essence of some of the critical issues of American history. He focuses on freedom and equality and how those concepts played out through the Revolution, the conflicts over slavery, the robber barons of the industrial revolution, the many crises of the twentieth century.
The narrative is mostly political and social, at the expense of military history: the battles of America's many wars race by at triple speed. The politics are described concisely and the coverage is broad, although I felt a gap in his discussion of the early Republic. The Constitution was like a musical score: the actual working government, and the implementation of checks and balances, had to be assembled almost on the fly. Davidson doesn't linger over the details of this process as much as I wish he had.
Arthur Morey has a great voice for this kind of straightforward historical narrative. He manages to sound objective without sounding passionless. It's a brisk and informative introduction / review.
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