Title: American History-US History: An Overview of the Most Important People & Events. The History of United States: From Indians to Contemporary History of America.
Author: William D Willis
Publisher: Lean Stone Publishing
Date of Publication: 20 November 2016
Factual, tedious and irrelevant.
This is often how readers perceive lengthy accounts of historical incidents. However, this book is anything but that. It is a detailed documentation about the rise and growth of one of the most powerful countries in the history of nation states on the face of this planet.
The account describes the Americas with an unbiased and a prismatic view. Importantly, it presents the different points of views and opinions that have risen at various instances in laying the foundation of the country. One such example is the dispute regarding the celebration of Columbus Day on 12 October in memory of a personality who was the first to land on American soil but was also a well-known tyrant and slave trader. Initially the book presents historical facts; then interactive questions are posed that make readers think about the other possibilities or how history may have been altered had things taken a different course.
The pictorial illustrations of maps demarcating the various locations of the Americas and the impact of colonisation on the land is very useful. The book is informative and profound. The detailing is accurate and one is bound to go away with a lot of new knowledge. The sections that appear at the end of individual chapters titled “Through the Eyes of an Eye Witness” helps to establish a clearer picture of the severity of the colonisation process on the people living on the North American continent. The “Fun Facts” and “Misconceptions” sections also add to the educative quotient. In many instances, full original texts of handwritten letters, advertisement blue prints and published cartoons are printed which add liveliness that is reflected in the literary manifestations of featured poems on nationalistic themes such as those by William Wadsworth Longfellow.
The book deals with a very difficult subject with ease in a simplified manner. From medievalism to creation of a New World constructed by British and other European forces, America has seen storms and braced them bravely. The Treaty of Paris marked its establishment as a sovereign nation. But it took America a longer time to achieve true independence. With internal upheavals and disintegrations, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the rise of feminist movements demanding employment and suffrage; America is a nation that turned its bitter experiences to become a global entrepreneur and pioneer of change. It evolved from a land of aborigines to a land of immigrants that thrives on the promising American Dream. The book reveals that immigration bans are not new to the United States and laws to curb an influx of immigrants have been enforced since forever. “The United States had become a global player, and less than 120 years after its own independence, the nation had risen to prominence to rival Europe. Its relative insulation from European wars and the vast expanse of resources and land afforded the United States, along with its freedoms and wages that enticed large numbers of skilled labour, gave it such a position.” (pg 109, Constant Wars and Security, Chapter 5- The Great War and the Great Depression). The superiority of the United States over other colonies lies not only in the fact that it boldly stood through the tests put forward by its opponents but it challenged its colonizers, ousted them and rose to unimaginable heights.
While Norman Cousins believes that “History is a vast early warning system” and Mao Zedong notes that “Political power grows out of a barrel of a gun”; time is bound to acknowledge that history also often repeats itself. There are not just two sides to a story but many more. Playing a historian is a difficult position to be in and the author has fulfilled his role as an humanely unbiased narrator responsibly. This crisp recapitulation is a great read for students of history, political science, administration and law. Others may find it an interesting read to increase their understanding about the mightiest country in the world where everything is done king size.