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America's hidden history : untold tales of the first pilgrims, fighting women an
Kenneth C. Davis
Adult Nonfiction E179 .D29 2008

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Davis (bestselling Don't Know Much About History and other books in his Don't Know Much... series) provides insight into American history by telling these "tales the textbooks left out." Christopher Columbus serves as a springboard into the "extraordinary odyssey'' of castaway Cabeza de Vaca, who was stranded during a 1527 expedition and spent eight years wandering from Florida to the Pacific. Davis asks whether the 22-year-old George Washington was a "war criminal" for having his Virginia militiamen launch a surprise attack on a French diplomatic party when England and France were at peace, setting in motion the French and Indian War. The half-dozen historical narratives also offer different perspectives on horrific Indian attacks on New Englanders during the 1690s; the 1775 battles of Lexington and Concord; and "idealistic patriot" Benedict Arnold. While some of these episodes are no longer as "hidden" as Davis claims, he skillfully illuminates the role of human foibles in historic events. With these "fulcrum moments" ending in 1789, Davis has enough leverage for another successful series. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Best-selling author Davis (Don't Know Much About History) here treats the "human factor" in American history, an ingredient often ignored by survey texts that stress dates, battles, and court decisions. With coverage from the 1519 arrival of the Spanish in the New World to George Washington's 1789 presidential inauguration, its central themes are the acquisition of wealth and land, the retention of political power, and the overarching force of religious fanaticism and its resulting conflict. Davis examines how the backfiring of a British plot to assassinate rebel leaders John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Joseph Warren perhaps saved the American Revolution's core leadership; how the Revolution's most successful officer, Benedict Arnold, came to be this nation's most despised traitor; and how Shays's Rebellion in January 1787 set the scene for the constitutional convention that met in Philadelphia that spring. With his witty and irreverent view of this country's Colonial and revolutionary past, he ably shows that the success or failure of isolated events can have national and international consequences. May we expect a sequel to this delightful effort? Recommended for Colonial and American Revolution collections in all libraries.--John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Cleveland (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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