Daniel Boorstin has devoted twenty years of writing and research to a comprehensive history of the social and political institutions which have shaped our present consciousness as a nation. The first volume was an investigation of the colonial period. This second volume treats the development of the national experience from early New England through the period of westward expansion. Boorstin has gathered together much source material of great value--including a comprehensive study of the growth of American English, frontier accounts, and capsule histories of American law, business, manufacturing, colleges, railroads, hotels. But from the growth of the American ice trade to the Indies through the rise of the frontier ""claim clubs"" as arbiters of justice, his major thesis is one of community needs producing, in pragmatic fashion, the skeletal rules and compacts by which Americans were first governed. Is there an American experience beyond the act of searching for one? In collecting the various glories and rag ends, embarrassments and myths of our past, Boorstin, whose scholarship in the past has been open to debate, demonstrates, besides powers to document, a flair for the comic, dramatic, existential... a highly entertaining production.