Kirkus Star


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From Columbus' discovery to the New Frontier, this tells the story of our American heritage in terms inspiring enough to excite the most lethargic student of history. Interspersed in the lively narrative are poems, songs, stories and legends that capture the essence of each era and lend a sense of immediacy and reality to every ideal that characterized the American dream. Excerpts from the journals of Columbus and John Smith describe the New World in its early primitivism. The poems of Ben Franklin, Whittier, and Emerson; the narratives of Ethan Allen and Tom Paine depict the spirit of the American fight for independence. Timothy Flint's portrait of a frontiersman, Mark Twain's tales of Mississippi life, Walt Whitman's ode to changing times reflect the surge of American progress. Then onto the seafaring days of Moby Dick and The Wreck of the Hesperus, through the Gold Rush and the Pony Express. The terse descriptions of the Yankee slaver, the moving stories of slave auctions add meaning to the cry ""Let My People Go"" and the reason for Civil War. Excerpts from Red Badge of Courage and the writings of Booker T. Washington reflect this stormy era. The advent of the railroad, the story of Cowboys and the West, the coming of the immigrants are themes illustrated by the great writers of the time. From Henry Ford to the flying machine, from Wilson and two World Wars to a little girl's ordeal in Little Rock, the panorama unfolds. Few readers will fail to be moved by the content or by the style. No selection is repetitious; each one adds a vital dimension to the whole.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1962
Publisher: Bernard Geis