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U.S. History For Dummies [Paperback]

3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 15 2001 For Dummies (Lifestyles Paperback)
Lots of people think that learning U.S. history is a punishment. It's a subject you had to take in school. You memorized a bewildering array of dates, absorbed definitions for terms like Manifest Destiny, and wondered if America really needed two presidents named Harrison. Historical figures were presented to you as if they were characters in a junior high school costume pageant, with their blemishes airbrushed out and personalities drained away in stodgy history textbooks.

History textbooks often overlook the fascinating moments of history. They present U.S. history as something dry and distant, all events and facts, and don't focus on what is really is: The story of Americans. It's the story of people – what they thought, did, and tried to do as they struggled to build a nation.

U.S. History For Dummies is not a textbook. It focuses on people  – famous, infamous, and obscure. This book gives you a basic foundation of information about the history of the United States. Students and teachers can use it as a friendly, easy-to-understand overview of U.S history, and history buffs can use it as a reference to look up important facts, to settle debates, and to store up ammunition for future conversations with a know-it-all brother-in law!

Here's just a sampling of the topics covered in U.S. History For Dummies:

  • Pre-Columbus: The earliest Native Americans
  • The settling of the Pilgrims and the expansion toward the West
  • The American Revolution and the establishment of a new government
  • How the most influential presidents governed the nation
  • The Civil War and the abolishment of slavery
  • The development of modern industry
  • Two World Wars and a Great Depression
  • America matures through tragedy: The Kennedy Assassination, the Vietnam War, and Watergate

U.S. History For Dummies also includes Top Ten lists covering the best  – and worst – presidents, inventions that changed the world, and events that defined American culture.

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Filled with fascinating trivia and lore not found in textbooks

People, places, and dates with a dash of fun — history will never be the same! Don't know much about history? Don't worry! With this friendly reference, you can bone up on all those facts you missed in history class — and have a good time in the bargain. From the Revolution to the Civil War, from the Great Depression to the Cold War, this is history the way it ought to be — fresh, memorable, and fun.

Discover how to: Astound friends with fun facts about the Founding Fathers Understand terms like "Manifest Destiny" Get a grip on the legacy of slavery Impress your family with Civil War lore Put current events in historical context

The Dummies Way Explanations in plain English "Get in, get out" information Icons and other navigational aids Tear-out cheat sheet Top ten lists A dash of humor and fun

Get smart! www.dummies.com Register to win cool prizes Browse exclusive articles and excerpts Get a free Dummies Daily e-mail newsletter Chat with authors and preview other books Talk to us, ask questions, get answers

About the Author

Steve Wiegand is an award-winning journalist with 25 years of experience at the Sacramento Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
"For the most part, the descendants of Europeans (me included) have written the history of America." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cool Way to Catch Up on History Lessons...... March 22 2002
........if you are like me, and are embarrassed by your lack of knowledge in American History, than this book is a must for you! It reads easily and covers every major event occurring on the land area of the United States from the civilizations who first lived here, to the discovery of the Americas by Europeans to the present day. The writing style is great because it is not the typical way of teaching history where one just memorizes names, dates and events. Wiegand makes every attempt to show the relationships between those names, dates and events in their complexity and that's what holds the story of the history of our country together. He also makes every effort to show different angles of a given event, highlighting the sometimes not so pretty history of our country that you didn't find as a kid in your history book. He also writes in a manner that cannot be deemed particularly PC or anti-PC or particularly conservative or liberal, hence this book is an enjoyable read that covers different views and will only potentially be offensive to those who routinely view events as blank and white and good vs. bad. Overall this book is enjoyable and informative.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Too Biased Dec 2 2003
By A Customer
Potential readers should know that this book presents US History from a far-left viewpoint. For example, the author suggests that the British held the moral high ground during the Revolutionary War and that the colonists were lucky to win, and that the colonists were primarily a group of incompetent zealots who wanted new territory in which to practice their bigotry and intolerance. He even fringes on being revisionist when he subscribes to the very obscure notion that Davy Crockett didn't really die in defense of the Alamo. The author states early on his view that American history as we know it has been too heavily influenced by writers of European ancestry, and that his is an effort to "set the record straight".
I feel that it's inappropriate to title and market this book as an objective and unbiased book on US History. I do, however, give the book two stars because the subject matter is so fascinating.
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1.0 out of 5 stars U.S. History for Dummies, by Steve Wiegland Sept. 7 2001
There is nothing worse than a book that purports to be nonfiction, but that, instead, pushes an agenda. U.S. History for Dummies suffers from so much liberal bias, that I don't feel I can trust any of the author's "factual" statements.
For instance, in the list of the ten worst presidents, Richard Nixon is number two because "he disgraced the office, and would be No. 1 on this list except that he actually had some far-sighted environmental and foreign policies." On the other hand, Bill Clinton, who wasn't listed as one of the ten worst presidents, was merely the victim of "a series of mini-scandals at the White House," which eventually led to "the Republican-controlled House of Representatives vot[ing] to bring impeachment charges against Clinton."
There is no history here.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Starter or Refresher May 24 2001
By A Customer
This book is an excellent overview of U.S. history from the original migration of the first Americans across the Bering strait to the present. On many occasion you have to laugh out loud at the way some of it is presented. My 8 year old kid started reading the book after seeing me have such a good time. The book is also intriguing. The author points out that native Ameicans probably crossed over into the Americas from Asia into the US across what today would be Alska. It also seems intuitive when you look at a map of the Western united states and the Pacific. He then goes on to point out that the Majority of native Americans today have a completely different blood-type from most Asians today which strongly indicates the presence of other groups in the Americas during the same period.
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1.0 out of 5 stars U.S. History for Dummies. by Steve Wiegand May 17 2001
By A Customer
First let me say that I am by no means an expert on histoy (thats why I bought the book!). I feel the author is too opinionated on the events and people for a basic history book(if thats what this book is suppose to be). He also talks about people and events that are not (at least in my opinion) very important in the big picture of U.S.history. I just wanted a book that gave me the basic dates, places and people, not that this book doesn't give this but I felt the author just gave me too much of his bias on history. I'am not saying don't buy the book just know what your getting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air Nov. 12 2001
I was very pleased to find a new type of book that teaches the basics without all the unnecesary details. Not having a scholarly type of interest in history, I found this book to be educational and fun to read. History is a very dry subject for most people and the author's humor was very entertaining. If you are looking for material for a dissertation, go to the library. Pick any history book because they all contain the same information. If you want to learn about American History by someone not afraid to offend others with the truth, you'll love this book!
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