America : The Story of Us: An Illustrated History

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-09-14
  • Publisher: A & E Home Video/New Video Group
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"With special introduction by President Barack Obama."

Author Biography

Kevin Baker is the author of five novels, including the City of Fire collection of historical novels, Dreamland, Paradise Alley, and Strivers Row. He was the chief historical researcher for Harold Evans's history The American Century, and was a longtime columnist for American Heritage magazine. He has also contributed to many other periodicals and collections, and is currently working on a social history of New York City baseball. He was recently elected to the executive board of the Society of American Historians and lives in New York City with his wife, Ellen Abrams, and their cat, Maisie.

Table of Contents

Rise of the Patriots
In 1607 a small group of English travelers lands in Jamestown
Thirteen years later the Pilgrims settle in New England
These men and women are all driven by the promise of a new life: all face huge dangers from disease, starvation and war
A diverse group of men, women and children are about to become truly American.
July 9 1776 the Declaration of Independence is read to jubilant crowds in New York
Offshore 500 ships bristling with soldiers and guns are massing
It is the largest British invasion force till D-Day
America's thirteen colonies have taken on the might of the world's leading superpower
American forces learn the hard way to master the landscape, new weapons, and unconventional battle tactics
And with this elite force, forged from the blood of his soldiers, Washington saps the strength of the British Army to prevail in what has become a titanic battle of wills
The British leave and The United States is born.
As the American nation is formed, a vast continent lies to the west of the mountains, waiting to be exploited
Yet this land is not empty - Native American Indians are spread across the land mass, as are Spanish and French explorers
For the pioneers who set out to confront the wilderness beyond the mountains, following trailblazers like Daniel Boone, the conquest of the West is a story of courage and hardship that shapes the character of America.
Seeds of War
America becomes a nation at the moment a revolution in commerce and industry sweeps across the western world
This vast new country, rich in resources, experiences a rapid change - in trade, transport and manufacturing - quickly turning America into one of the wealthiest nations on earth richest nations on earth.
Civil War
America has reached a crossroads in history: The strict discipline and unshakeable belief in their cause have welded Robert E Lee's Confederate army into a formidable force
But the tide turns during a series of pivotal events: Following the battle of Antietam, the bloodiest ever on American soil, Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves forever; black men now join the Union army in droves; the industrial capacity of the North is harnessed; and new, aggressive, generals take charge
The industrial might which sees the Union prevail now leaves America poised to explode on the twentieth century as a global superpower.
Conquering the Plains
In 1869, the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of America, more than two thousand miles apart, are linked by continuous metal rails
The Transcontinental Railroad - the world's first - is the most ambitious human enterprise since the Great Wall of China, and much of it is built by Chinese laborers
The railroad doesn't just change the lives of Americans, it alters the entire ecology of the continent - and there are casualties
In less than a quarter of a century, the West is won - not by the gun, but by the railroad, the fence, and the plough.
In 1871 Chicago burns to the ground
From the ashes of the old a new kind of city rises as architects like William Jenney maximize space by building into the air
Their revolutionary designs are made possible by steel
Produced on a massive scale by Scottish immigrant Andrew Carnegie, steel production undergirds the infrastructure of the modern city - drawing rural migrants and newly arrived immigrant workers
Between 1890 and 1914, more than 15 million new immigrants arrive in America
Powered by steel and electricity, the city begins to be tamed and defined by mass transportation; stunning bridges; electric light...and the innovative, industrious American spirit.
In 1910 California, a column of oil and sand 20 feet high and 200 feet wide explodes out of a derrick and flows uncapped for 18 months
Los Angeles is growing rapidly, swallowing the desert and requiring an aqueduct to quench the city's thirst
Abundant oil reserves in Pennsylvania, Texas and California open up a new way of life, driving a consumer revolution affecting all Americans
Henry Ford's mass car production brings unprecedented individual mobility
Mass production and job opportunities prompted by the First World War draw African Americans to northern cities like Detroit
Such changes ignite conflict and race riots erupt in 26 cities
Prohibition triggers a rise in gangster activity, with Al Capone insisting he's just supplying a public demand
Speakeasies, flappers and celebrities flourish
By 1928, 110 million movie tickets are sold a week to a total US population is 120 million
The future seems bright, but disaster looms...
On 29 October 1929 the boom time of the Twenties crashes on Wall St
Over 16 million shares change hands that day - a record that stands for 40 years
The American Dream has become a nightmare
The Crash coincides with the start of the Great Depression
All but 10 of the 48 states are forced to close their banks in 1933, and $2 billion in deposits evaporate between 1929 and 1932
But new President Franklin D.
Roosevelt starts to turn things around
The New Deal and public works projects save millions from starvation and unemployment
The Hoover Dam is constructed in the depths of the Great Depression
Built by 20,000 men, it's the biggest dam project in the world when it opens - a true wonder of the industrial world.
America at War
America is still mired in a ten year Depression, but U.S
involvement in the Second World War will make the nation economically prosperous again
The nation taps into the vast manufacturing reserves that have been idle for ten years: factories, electrical plants, railroads
The war gives jobs to seven million unemployed - half of them women
By 1944, the US is producing 40% of the world's armaments
American tactics lead to the astonishing success of D Day
A new world order has been created
And America is more prosperous than ever before.
Chapters 11+12
America's most prominent faces; Presidents, political commentators, entertainers, athletes, technology gurus and historians share their personal perspective on the definitive moments in American history, and reflect on what has made us who we are
These prominent Americans will look at the defining moments from 1945 onwards and trace them back to their antecedents in earlier American history
The story of the domestic impact of the Cold War, how a new prosperity transformed domesticity, civil rights, the assassinations of Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., Vietnam, Watergate and the changing role of women
Following the theme of technological innovation, these chapters will look at how the U.S
landed humans on the moon and contributed to enormous technological inventions like the internet
It will also memorialize September 11th and explore the groundbreaking elected of an African-American President
Finally, it will look at what has endured through 400 years in the American character.
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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