This belongs in the category with such books as Peattie's Journey Into America as a definite contribution to interpreting people and places from the angle of their contribution to a better understanding of Americans and America. I found it much better reading than Beard's The Republic, which also attempts to do this. has traced the ""mainstream"" currents which make up the thinking, the emotions, the reactions of the average American citizen, typified by his John Applegate. He goes back to the Puritan strain, and Cotton Mather; to Captain John Smith, quite properly Anglo-Gaxon; to the democracy of Thomas Jefferson: the aristocracy of John Calhoun; the idealism of Lincoln; the rags-to-riches American success story of Andrew Carnogie: the showmanship of Harnum: the assumption of best and biggest; the European derivatives of culture; the implications of a shift from policy to personality in leadership with ""T.R."", Wilson, F.D.R.; the changing attitude towards Big Business -- these suggest the presentation, the human interest, the trend of thought.