Chronologically and methodologically this carries on the narrative begun in The Shaping of North America (KR, 1973) by condensing into one volume the political and military highlights of the Revolution, the Constitution, the war in the west, the Federalist-Anti-Federalist struggles, foreign policy and other problems of the new nation. Like other Asimov histories, The Birth of the United States is comprehensive, thorough, and immediately suggests itself as a utilitarian one volume text and reference. However, Asimov fastens on only one discernible theme -- the country's establishment of its national security through military actions which culminated in the War of 1812. Equally important issues, such as constitutional debates, Hamilton's financial policies, and the Jay Treaty, are adequately summarized but hardly developed. Furthermore virtually no attention is paid to the social conditions under which ordinary citizens lived, only the most famous personalities and anecdotes (Patrick Henry, Nathan Hale, etc.) are scrutinized, and insight and commentary is held to a minimum. Asimov parallels but only incidentally supplements the material found in most high school level American history texts, though his clear and orderly recapitulation will make this a handy alternative to the standard required reading.