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I appreciated Mr Boyer's book for its organization. It gave me the overview I was looking for. He has also provided a lot of helpful cross referencing which reveals the persistent trends in American history.
It must be hard to know where to start and what to include and not include in such an ambitious book with relatively few words. But I found it useful, mostly very readable and though others have criticised it for being, in places, a bit of a 'list', I'd rather a solid read of interesting facts than a long diatribe of opinion. I found it useful and definitely learned loads I didn't know that I should have known. I particularly liked how he gave lots of ideas for further reading as he went through and I've made a note of at least 10 books I'm interested in following up on. In fact I'd like a whole set of these 'very short introductions' on my bookshelf. Crikey, I'm beginning to sound really old and boring, even to myself! I think I need to get out more!
Brilliant book. Deals with broad sweep and yet has well-chosen examples and even telling anecdotes. Situates the political history within wider social and economic changes while showing how politics in turn shaped society and politics.
There is also an understated humanity that enables Boyer not to forget those who have been less successful in such a meritocratic world.
Readable, well written.
All in all, a remarkable achievement in 140 pages and with a useful bibliography one of the sharpest tomes in the 'Very Short Introduction' library. I'll be looking out some of Boyer's other books.
After the Trump debacle and reading Outlander I wanted to gen up on a little American history. This is a great primer and certainly highlights how little American politics and attitudes have evolved. The country seems to have always been exploited by the rich and powerful to the detriment of the poor and disenfranchised. Racism, hatred, conservatism, expansionism, god and personal interest seem to be the main driving forces of the American legacy and fighting against some of the appalling injustices perpetrated on it's own people seens to have taught them very little.
My oh my what a fantastic book. The only problem for myself is that the people inclined to read this publication may be easily pleased, including myself. Because we don't want depth on the subject you can read entire movements summed up in 3 sentences, yet the reality is that entire books have been wrote on the subject by other authors. If you want quick read, great explanation, good flow and an educational ready meal then tuck in! The American History (microwave meal) serving....nice!
The author has a huge amount to cover in limited space and does a good job. Given the restrictions on space, it's understandable that many passages are shortened. What the book really lacks, though, is a sense of balance. Every "progressive" President is lauded, every one of more conservative bent is portrayed as a demagogue who somehow hoodwinks the electorate into voting for him. I don't have an issue with political bias - in fact it's almost unavoidable - but from a book as concise as this, greater distance from these political issues would have been desirable. In particular, Reagan is massively misrepresented.
Does exactly what it says on the tin! A very short introduction to American History. Perfect if, like me, you know little or nothing, about the subject. It’s easy to read and actually kept my attention until the end of the book. It’s also spark my curiosity to what to find out more.
I bought this to help my daughter with her history lessons at school, however the book was lacking a lot of depth and essential information which would have aided her in her course. Covers the basics but would've been helpful to expand a little.