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The Americans: The Colonial Experience Paperback – Mar 12 1964


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (March 12 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394705130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394705132
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #324,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
When Boorstin named his epic trilogy The Americans rather than American History or History of the American People, he greeted the reader with a different approach to history. He arranged his brief chapters thematically rather than chronologically, while maintaining a high level of detail, and thus created a masterwork of compression, a talent Boorstin repeated later in The Creators and The Discoverers.
Volume One covers the American experience from the New England colonies through the War for Independence. The thematic approach might suggest that the question, "What is an American?" can be answered by a grocery list of ideas. Yet if there is one truth about Americans it is that they reveal themselves more in doing than in philosophizing. Unburdened by the systematizing of the European ideologue, they demonstrate repeatedly that they are among the most tolerant people who have inhabited the earth.
For Massachusetts Puritans, orthodoxy and tradition had solved most theoretical questions, freeing them from the theological debates of their European counterparts. The Virginia aristocrats, a remarkable pool of talent, applied the practical skills of running a plantation to running a colony, creating a haven of toleration and rapid growth. By contrast, the fanaticism, utopianism, and pacifism of the Quakers failed to protect Pennsylvania from Indian attacks and drove the Quakers from power. Good intentions did nothing to fix the failed humanitarianism of the Georgia colony.
Americans were great naturalists, learning by experience, experiment, and the evidence of the senses. Where books existed at all, they were more likely to be farming almanacs or medical manuals than heavy tomes in literature or metaphysics.
Americans were least likely to wage war over sacred land or a Bible verse.
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By Avid Reader on Aug. 15 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a young work of Boorstin and even years later it still lives up to its greatness. The first book of a trilogy, it sets the tone for the two to follow. We are not given a dry reading of dates and places and wars and settlements. Instead it is a readable story of movements, nations but most the individuals - both known and unknown - whose influence continues with us to this day.
This mix of biographies and historical happenings makes for an enjoyable, entertaining and enlightening work.
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Format: Paperback
This is not a coherent history, but a series of disjointed stories, all related to the original settlements in the US. THere is virtually no analysis, only poorly documented anecdotes. SOme of them are very good - the chapter on the export of ice from New England to the Caribbean will stick in my mind for the rest of my life - and some much less. From the reviews, it would seem that people liked Boorstin's approach very much. It grated on me as I expected something more from a writer and historian of Boorstin's reputation.
REcommended as pass time reading rather than serious historical research.
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Format: Paperback
I love to read American history and Daniel Boorstin is one of the best. After reading this book, I had a much better understanding of the American colonial experience. I also understood to a greater degree the affects that Christianity has had on our culture. In this book, Boorstin compares three colonies. It is interesting to read the cultural differences. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in the origins of our nation.
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By A Customer on Sept. 19 2000
Format: Paperback
I was assigned to read this book for AP History over the summer. There is a lot of interesting and accurate information in this book, however, at some points there is far too much inforamtion and the book seems to have a very dry effect. It should be read little, by little so you have time to absorb all the information thrown at you.
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By A Customer on Sept. 17 1999
Format: Paperback
this book was assigned reading for an AP US history class. It had a lot of information -- more than was neccessary -- and lots of tiny details that seemed unimportant. I would read sections of it at a time, but I don't recommend tackling the entire thing at once!
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By A Customer on Aug. 27 1999
Format: Paperback
This portrait of different aspects of colonial American social and governmental tendencies is a very interesting read. Mr. Boorstin's theses are well supported with historical information. His arguments made me reexamine some of my preconceptions about the colonial period and consider in a new light the impact of early American history on the present. That said, the author is not the most scintilating writer among historians. Also, the book ends abrubtly without a summary chapter, which would have been useful. It appears Boorstin performed surgery on a larger _The Americans_ work, slicing it in thirds, without gathering up the entrails and applying a suture.
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