David Rubel - Author, Historian, Speaker
The Story of America

Category: Adult
Publisher: DK
Pages: 672
Publication Date: October 2002


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The Story of America
Freedom and Crisis from Settlement to Superpower
By Allen Weinstein and David Rubel


Publisher’s Description
An insightful, informative, and entertaining volume, The Story of America presents the history of the United States not as a parade of facts and dates but as a story with twists and turns, heroes and villains, lovers, saints—and even some comic relief. With the help of more than two dozen eminent colleagues, many of them Pulitzer Prize–winners, Allen Weinstein and David Rubel give you American history from Columbus to the present, not as you’ve studied it before but as Americans lived it at the time. It’s a fascinating way to understand how America became a world power and the ways in which the nation’s past continue to impact its present.



Booklist Review
As does every one-volume history of the U.S. worth reading, this one picks and sticks to a central organizing principle, which is to illustrate the major events and crises in American history with a single, in-depth narrative and let all else related to that major event cluster around the story in sidebars, profiles, and thousands of pictures. There are 26 such narratives, and the first few, such as those concerning the Salem witch trials and the Boston massacre, are self-contained with faint echoing in subsequent chapters. But topics such as slavery, the fate of the Indians, the Civil War, or capital versus labor sound down through the decades, and the authors’ judicious selection of story carries the reader, via the vehicle of particular people and their passions, upon the wider theme. The prose may be ruthlessly economical, but it is also high quality, on target, and concise and opens the American historical panorama for new discoverers. The visually oriented among them will be especially enticed.



Publisher's Weekly review
An alternative title for this might be “The Treasury of American History” as it’s an anthology of our nation’s favorite stories: Lewis and Clark’s expedition, Nat Turner’s revolt, Custer’s last stand, Lindbergh’s trans-Atlantic flight, and Nixon’s Watergate scandal. If the stories are familiar, the format—at least for the pre-Internet generation—is new. Adapting Web site dynamics to the printed page, the designers enhance the text with sidebars and photographic collages. The stories themselves mimic the skip-and-jump of Web narratives. Nat Turner’s revolt opens with slaves plotting an uprising, then steps back to discuss the origins of slavery in the South before returning to the failed revolt and its aftermath. Readers with an above-average attention span may find the chronological shifts jolting and the cluttered pages distracting; but the book never becomes tiresome. Taken together, the stories advance two themes. Weinstein, who heads the Center for Democracy, portrays our nation’s history as the crisis-ridden spread of freedom through American society and outward to rest of the world. At the same time, the authors emphasize the key role of individuals; the vivid profiles of Great Men (and Women), contributed by today’s leading historians (such as Joseph Ellis and Geoffrey Ward), reinforce this message. With its lively storytelling and thorough coverage of our nation’s first five centuries, this truly is a treasury.