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History of the United States [Kindle Edition]

Charles A. (Charles Austin) Beard , Mary Ritter Beard

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Product Description

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 882 KB
  • Print Length: 610 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1440489874
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004TQGEM4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,389 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  74 reviews
72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A history teacher's review July 14 2009
By DWD's Reviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
As a classroom history teacher, I realize that I am out of my league in reviewing this book. Charles and Mary Beard are "name brand" historians. There are precious few historians that make it to that level, and for me, a classroom teacher, to deign to review the work of a historian that has an entire school corporation named for him (his hometown of Knightstown, IN) takes some professional chutzpah on my part. It's the equivalent of a local bar band writing a criticism of the Beatles or a piano student evaluating Chopin.

Well, here's to chutzpah!

On a general level, this is an excellent textbook. Two general themes of the Beards are:

1) economics is a dominant driver of history.
2) America is a story of expanding rights - more groups of people are securing their rights as time goes on.

The book focuses on social issues such as how things were manufactured and societal heirarchy rather than battles, wars and strategies. For example, the Battles of Lexington and Concord (the proverbial the "Shot heard 'round the world") get four sentences, none describing the battle itself. This makes it rather unique in history textbooks, although most don't dwell on the battles for long, they do mention tactics, changes the war brought to technology, etc.

The book is well-written. It has two authors and does not suffer from the stifling over-editing of most modern history texts that render them sterile, dry and boring.

Some commentary based on notes I took while reading:

-A strong section on the colonies.

-An especially well-written, if brief, commentary on the Declaration of Independence.

-From their commentary on a series of inventors in the late 18th and early 19th centuries: "...these men and a thousand more were destroying in a mighty revolution of industry the world of the stagecoach and the tallow candle which Washington and Franklin had inherited little changed from the age of Caesar." (location 4784)

-Charles A. Beard is a big proponent of the theory that underlying economic issues (industrial/small farms vs. large-scale cash crop agricultural) caused the Civil War, not slavery. I think that is an unreconcilable position in that slavery was the basis for the South's wealth - so slavery is the root. Beard lets his dichotomy stand unchallenged in his comment: "While slavery lasted, the economy of the South was inevitably agricultural." (location 5008)

-There are two large comments on immigration that show that the worries we have nowadays are no different than those in the past (locations 6492 & 9046).

-Native Americans (or Indians, if you prefer) are almost totally left out of the book.

-They skim over the backroom deal to end Reconstruction in the Tilden-Hayes Presidential election. They are more sympathetic to the plight of the defeated Southerners than newer textbooks are.

-Very good section on Women's rights. First-rate and better than anything I've seen in a current textbook.

The Beards are proponents of history being driven by economics, but they allow that their theory is not exact nor perfect. They note that the 13 Colonies were quite prosperous and secure just before the Revolutionary War. Despite the fact that their fortunes would be at risk, the Founding Fathers took the road to Independence. They note: "...mere economic advantage is not necessarily the determining factor in the fate of peoples." (location 1463)

It suffers from age a bit, which is to be expected from anything produced in 1921. First of all, it is missing nearly 90 years of history which, of course, cannot be helped. There are a few spelling differences and some different uses of language, such as referring to nationalities as races (the Irish race, etc.). There are understandable non-PC words, such as the use of the word "Negro", which are used without any intended bias, but an inexplicable repeated use of the adjective "savage" to describe the Indians (or Native Americans, if you prefer).
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Kindle Edition Sept. 19 2009
By Daniel Weitz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book should be judged for what it is; a seventy year old high school text with an over-emphasis on economic determinism. The Kindle Edition is done nicely; the illustrations are surprisingly clear and attractive, and the maps are usable. The index functions. The topical structure at the end is very nice; if you are a teacher looking for a new approach this is interesting and gives many possibilities. If you can get the free "public domain" edition of the book it makes an excellent supplementary work for your students; just add on a few questions! If you want to know why today's students read and write so poorly just compare this text with a modern unreadable "committee written" text. When students read well-written non-fiction it influences their own writing style.
This is a classic of great value.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Topical History Feb. 10 2009
By Jacob Schriftman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Originally written as a textbook, this book is a good introduction to American history from its founding to the 19th century. It discusses history not in a strictly chronological manner, but more thematically, which gives meaning to many facts that would otherwise be disconnected. This no doubt makes for a more subjective viewpoint, showing how Charles and Mary Beard interpreted causes and effects in history. But it also creates a much greater interest in history as something that actually matters.

As the authors explain in the Preface:

First. We have written a topical, not a narrative, history. We have tried to set forth the important aspects, problems, and movements of each period, bringing in the narrative rather by way of illustration.

Second. We have emphasized those historical topics which help to explain how our nation has come to be what it is to-day.

Third. We have dwelt fully upon the social and economic aspects of our history, especially in relation to the politics of each period.

Fourth. We have treated the causes and results of wars, the problems of financing and sustaining armed forces, rather than military strategy. These are the subjects which belong to a history for civilians. These are matters which civilians can understand--matters which they must understand, if they are to play well their part in war and peace.

Fifth. By omitting the period of exploration, we have been able to enlarge the treatment of our own time. We have given special attention to the history of those current questions which must form the subject
matter of sound instruction in citizenship.

Sixth. We have borne in mind that America, with all her unique characteristics, is a part of a general civilization. Accordingly we have given diplomacy, foreign affairs, world relations, and the reciprocal influences of nations their appropriate place.

Seventh. We have deliberately aimed at standards of maturity. The study of a mere narrative calls mainly for the use of the memory. We have aimed to stimulate habits of analysis, comparison, association, reflection, and generalization--habits calculated to enlarge as well as inform the mind.

As a non-American, I especially appreciated the sixth point: that it put the United States in the context of world history, particularly in its interplay with Europe.

I will certainly recommend the book to my own children once they reach the appropriate age.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A history teacher's review July 14 2009
By DWD's Reviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
As a classroom history teacher, I realize that I am out of my league in reviewing this book. Charles and Mary Beard are "name brand" historians. There are precious few historians that make it to that level, and for me, a classroom teacher, to deign to review the work of a historian that has an entire school corporation named for him (his hometown of Knightstown, IN) takes some professional chutzpah on my part. It's the equivalent of a local bar band writing a criticism of the Beatles or a piano student evaluating Chopin.

Well, here's to chutzpah!

On a general level, this is an excellent textbook. Two general themes of the Beards are:

1) economics is a dominant driver of history.
2) America is a story of expanding rights - more groups of people are securing their rights as time goes on.

The book focuses on social issues such as how things were manufactured and societal heirarchy rather than battles, wars and strategies. For example, the Battles of Lexington and Concord (literally the "Shot heard 'round the world") get four sentences, none describing the battle itself. This makes it rather unique in history textbooks, although most don't dwell on the battles for long, they do mention tactics, changes the war brought to technology, etc.

The book is well-written. It has two authors and does not suffer from the stifling over-editing of most modern history texts that render them sterile, dry and boring.

Some commentary based on notes I took while reading:

-A strong section on the colonies.

-An especially well-written, if brief, commentary on the Declaration of Independence.

-From their commentary on a series of inventors in the late 18th and early 19th centuries: "...these men and a thousand more were destroying in a mighty revolution of industry the world of the stagecoach and the tallow candle which Washington and Franklin had inherited little changed from the age of Caesar." (location 4784)

-Charles A. Beard is a big proponent of the theory that underlying economic issues (industrial/small farms vs. large-scale cash crop agricultural) caused the Civil War, not slavery. I think that is an unreconcilable position in that slavery was the basis for the South's wealth - so slavery is the root. Beard lets his dichotomy stand unchallenged in his comment: "While slavery lasted, the economy of the South was inevitably agricultural." (location 5008)

-There are two large comments on immigration that show that the worries we have nowadays are no different than those in the past (locations 6492 & 9046).

-Native Americans (or Indians, if you prefer) are almost totally left out of the book.

-They skim over the backroom deal to end Reconstruction in the Tilden-Hayes Presidential election. They are more sympathetic to the plight of the defeated Southerners than newer textbooks are.

-Very good section on Women's rights. First-rate and better than anything I've seen in a current textbook.

The Beards are proponents of history being driven by economics, but they allow that their theory is not exact nor perfect. They note that the 13 Colonies were quite prosperous and secure just before the Revolutionary War. Despite the fact that their fortunes would be at risk, the Founding Fathers took the road to Independence. They note: "...mere economic advantage is not necessarily the determining factor in the fate of peoples." (location 1463)

It suffers from age a bit, which is to be expected from anything produced in 1921. First of all, it is missing nearly 90 years of history which, of course, cannot be helped. There are a few spelling differences and some different uses of language, such as referring to nationalities as races (the Irish race, etc.). There are understandable non-PC words, such as the use of the word "[...]", which are used without any intended bias, but an inexplicable repeated use of the adjective "savage" to describe the Indians (or Native Americans, if you prefer).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No frills Sept. 24 2013
By Tin Pigeon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Yes, it's in textbook format, but sometimes I like that ordered approach.
Plus there are questions at the end of each chapter. Just like high school!

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