AN AMERICAN PRIMER by Daniel J. -- Ed Boorstin
Kirkus Star

AN AMERICAN PRIMER

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Daniel Boorstin introduces An American Primer as ""a book of beginnings,"" a Citizen's History of the living tradition of America. ""Historian's history is the patient, endless effort to reconstruct the dead past. But the citizen cannot wait. The world will not let him be patient."" Hence this volume of documents running in time from The Mayflower Compact of 1620 to Lyndon B. Johnson's 1965 Address on Voting Rights, ranging in view from Hoover to FDR, in subject from the dictates of the court to those of the private conscience. Here are the great presidents (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Monroe, Jackson, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Wilson, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson) and other great men, leaders in thought and action (Ulysses B. Grant, Lincoln Steffens, Jacob Riis, William James, John Dewey, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Louis H. Sullivan, Wendell Willkie, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Albert Einstein, Marshalls John and George). The distaff side is represented by Mary Easty considering the proceedings of the court which condemned her as a witch, Elizabeth Cady Stanton on divorce, Julia Ward Howe with The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Here is that most basic document, The Constitution, another document to build on, The Homestead Act, and the Oath of Office, 1868, and the decision of the United States Supreme Court re Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954. Each document is introduced by an editor long familiar with it and its subject, each assessed for its significance today. The work will appear in two volumes in a slip case and will include, in addition to a subject index, an index of significant phrases from the content. A fine contribution to public edification and inspiration, living history which deserves a live audience.

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 1966
Publisher: University of Chicago Press