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Witness to America

Witness to America

An Illustrated Documentary History of the United States from the Revolution to Today
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Witness to America, a marvelous anthology of eyewitness accounts to key events in American history, opens with an act of rebellion: the Boston Tea Party of November 1773, when American tax resisters dressed as Mohawk Indians boarded a British vessel and dumped its cargo of tea overboard to protest a newly imposed duty on the much-used stimulant. It closes with another act of rebellion: the attempted impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton, the long-sought dream of the makers of the so-called Republican Revolution of 1994. The first was reported by a participant, George Hewes, the second by a journalist, Michael Kinsley; but both acts reveal much about the values of the nation with the passage of time, and both documents will be of value to anyone seeking to understand America's political history now and in the future.

Editors Stephen E. Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley, who are among the best-known American historians working today, understand the importance of such firsthand accounts to chroniclers of the past. They also understand that for too many Americans, "the word history implies an arid pedantry associated with dusty libraries and musty monographs." They've chosen the documents in this first-rate anthology with an eye to proving that history need not be dull, and the selections tell much that the standard textbooks do not, whether it be the mule-meat-and-bad-bean diet of the Confederates besieged at Vicksburg or the cold-war ravings of Beat Generation patron saint Jack Kerouac. At once entertaining and highly instructive, this book belongs in every history buff's library. --Gregory McNamee

"The United States has to move very fast to even stand still."

-- John F. Kennedy


In this newly revised and updated edition, two of our most distinguished historians, Stephen Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley, bring together a stunning collection of eyewitness accounts and illustrations that chronicles the American experience from the perspectives of those who participated in its making.

Originally edited in 1939 by Henry Steele Commager and Allan Nevins, Witness to America includes more than 150 works drawn from more than two hundred years of American history, from the first shots of the Revolutionary War to the closing of the Twentieth Century. From Patrick Henry's rousing "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!" speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses, to John Brown's stand at Harper's Ferry; from Franklin D. Roosevelt's promise of a New Deal to Neil Armstrong's account of walking on the moon, this sweeping volume brings the milestones in American history vividly to life.

Here are unique and revealing selections from such historical figures as John Adams, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, as well as influential individuals including Booker T. Washington, Charles Lindbergh, Ernie Pyle, Rosa Parks, and Betty Friedan. While many of the selections come from notable citizens, most are from ordinary Americans--schoolteachers, students, homemakers, pioneers, and soldiers--who describe the everyday events that have epitomized American life over the course of its history.

Witness to America sweeps across the vast territory that is our nation, illuminating the movements, ideas, inventions, and events that have shaped and defined us--from the Pony Express to the PC; from the frontier to the rise of suburbia; from farming to modernization and the information age. Within these pages discover the art of whaling, learn about survival on the gold rush trail, experience the glory and trauma of war, and glean new insight on the great leaders. Here are debates and speeches, diary entries, letters, memoirs, court records, and more--including many first-person accounts that make history come alive as never before, such as a powerful description of the atomic explosion from a correspondent on the Enola Gay, and a young student's evaluation of the changing roles of women at her high school. The selections explore the diverse facets of America's cultural and political heritage and the constant shift and flux of everyday life, indelibly demonstrating both the variety and vitality of the American character.

Illustrated with spectacular photographs, drawings, and paintings and featuring a 74-minute audio CD with actual clips and dramatizations of many of the entries, Witness to America is a fascinating, highly readable, and entertaining collection that shows us what America is--and where it may go as it enters the next century.

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Hardback Editions

October 1999 : USA Hardback
thumbTitle: Witness to America: An Illustrated Documentary History of the United States from the Revolution to Today
Author(s): Henry Steele Commager, Allan Nevins
ISBN: 0-06-271611-5 / 978-0-06-271611-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

October 2005 : USA Paperback
Title: Witness To America: An Illustrated Documentary History Of The United States From The Revolution To Today
Author(s): Stephen E Ambrose
ISBN: 0-06-099618-8 / 978-0-06-099618-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Harpercollins
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

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