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Publisher's Summary

Reflecting on his career, Stephen E. Ambrose - one of the country's most influential historians - confronts America's failures and struggles as he explores both its moral and pragmatic triumphs. To America celebrates the men and women who invented the United States and made it exceptional.

Taking a few swings at today's political correctness, Ambrose grapples with the country's historic sins of racism, its neglect and ill treatment of Native Americans, and its tragic errors. He reflects on some of the early founders - great men such as Washington and Jefferson - who, while progressive thinkers, lived a contradiction as slaveholders. 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 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 the heroic victory of World War II. He explores women's rights and civil rights, immigration, museum and nation-building.

Most importantly, Ambrose tells us about writing history, and what an historian's job is all about. As he says, "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." As he reflects upon American history, Ambrose shares his own personal history. To America is an instant classic for those interested in history, patriotism, and the love of writing.

©2002 Ambrose-Tubbs Inc., All Rights Reserved; (P)2002 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved, AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Ambrose's revelations...may surprise his following." (Booklist)

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  • Overall
  • Kevin
  • Montecito, CA, USA
  • 03-01-03

A History Lesson like You've Never Had

Although I never liked history class, I found this history professor riveting. Mr. Ambrose takes you through many of the more influential presidents, wars and conflicts through America's history. I felt I was hearing a more complete, unbiased (as much as anyone can be unbiased) view of our history from a man who has done exhaustive research, in addition to living through much of it. It really put our present situation in perspective for me.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Worth the read, but contains inconsistency

I realize that nobody agrees with everything on an opinionated historical recap, but I found myself disagreeing on multiple issues with the author. His patriotism is taken a little too far for me. I praise America, but do not try to defend its short comings to the extent that he does. He also tends to express his opinion as fact and use obscure examples to back up his point. On a positive note, the book is well written and the author is obviously very knowledgable on the subject. I recommend anyone who wants a brief and quick overview of our history.

  • Overall
  • Ugo
  • Oak Park, CA, United States
  • 11-16-10

To America

Ambrose succeeds in catching the essentials of America's greatness, reconciling (but not forgiving) unbelievable contrasts, such as Jefferson's owning slaves (and therefore accepting horrors such as the New Orleans slave market) and his contributions to the cause of Liberty and the American Constitution..

  • Overall

Ambrose is a fair historian

He really is a great story teller, which is the way history should be presented. What's more is that in this book he is very up front about the fact that he has changed his opinion on a few things over time. The facts that he presents haven't changed but his opinion has and that gives you the sense that he is always telling facts about history. He separates fact from his opinion. His candor is refreshing.

  • Overall

To America

It is a easy to listen to exotation of the ww2 generation to today's
leaders to be & do what's best for america. great historical reference's liked the book, the final Ambrose good bye

3 of 6 people found this review helpful