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115 of 119 people found the following review helpful
"America's Forgotten History, Part One" by Mark David Ledbetter is the American history book that I wish we had had when I was in high school in the 1950s-1960s. I wish that high schools were using it today. The author does a marvelous job of relating the how and why, not just the who, when, and where that many history books focus on, and he does it with a style that grabs the reader immediately like a great novel. (Even though we know the ending!)

Part One includes America's beginnings through the War of 1812 and covers the presidencies of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. America's beginnings were actually in Europe, particularly England, dating back to the English Civil War in the mid-17th century. In a manner that reminded me of the old TV series "Connections," the author, like James Burke, demonstrated how interconnected events in England and other countries influenced the colonists in America. Mr. Ledbetter's connection of the American Civil war to the English Civil War was one of the most remarkable conclusions that I've read in an American history book.

But most of the story the author weaves is from the earliest settlements along the Atlantic coast through the War of 1812. He gives a good sense of how chaotic the years following the revolution were, especially as the state delegates met to draft the Constitution, and afterward as the members of the three branches - Executive, Legislative, and Judicial - worked to carve out their place in the new government. During these years the battle raged between advocates of a small, limited federal government and those who wanted a very strong federal government. That battle continues to this day, but the trend toward a strong federal government, to the detriment of the states, clearly began in the earliest days of the new republic.

In short, "America's Forgotten History, Part One" is a superb look at the founding of the United States from the earliest colonial settlements through the early 19th century. I recommend it very highly for anyone who enjoys reading about the history of our country. You may or may not agree with all of the author's conclusions, but they're well written, rational arguments.

Two thumbs up and five stars for "America's Forgotten History, Part One." I'm looking forward to reading the other parts of this series.
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72 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2011
In the Foreword Mr. Ledbetter attempts to immunize himself from criticisms by clearly stating that he's not a historian and doesn't pretend to be one. So be it. This is a reasonably solid story told by a layman, and though at times he clearly is stating his opinions from a libertarian point of view he gets the bulk of the details he chooses to cover correct. Every author brings a perspective to their writing -- this gentleman does us the favor of placing his firmly in the foreground.

Mr. Ledbetter covers one BIG swath of history in short order in this book. It's not bad history, but it could have been more thorough and requires documentation. Topics that he'd do well to cover in more detail (and in many places would further support his perspective) are skittered across in what feels like an effort to get caught up to modern-day issues in a hurry. Without references to source material the reader is left adrift, unable to dig deeper into some pretty significant points in English and American history. It only costs $1.50 so I'm not too torn up about it, but without prior knowledge of the subject matter most readers will only come away with a bare hint of America's timeline. That's a shame, because I get the feeling the author has more insight and more to say than what appears on his E-Ink pages.

Documentation forces an author to do his homework. It makes him gather and organize, makes him elucidate better. Mr. Ledbetter didn't do that -- this book is essentially a riff through history. He would garner significantly more respect from his readers were he to spend the time to provide more structure, but again, for $1.50, it's hard to get too up-tight about that level of detail. This was money well-spent for me. This is a solid layman effort, and an indication of what publish-to-Kindle can do for new writers looking to plant their flag.

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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2010
I discovered this gem after noticing the author on Kindle boards. He appeared to have some similar interests to me and to be quite intelligent. I figured I would give his book a try. I am glad I did.

I thought this book was excellent. I've learned much from it. I've already downloaded part two and am excited to start it. I have begun to recommend it to friends.

The book helped tie together all the separate bits and pieces of early American history that I have picked up through school and reading. It contains lots of interesting facts and stories. It clarified some points that I was vague on.

I highly recommend it.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2010
I stumbled across this book while browsing the Kindle store, and feel fortunate to have found it. I have no idea why Ledbetter's work isn't much more widely known. It's a crime that people like Anne Coulter and Glen Beck have such a large audience, while Mr. Ledbetter's work is buried deep in a small corner of the Kindle store! As soon as I finished this book I purchased part 2 of this series and Globocop, both of which are equally amazing.

Mark David Ledbetter excels at presenting the libertarian point of view without coming across as a crazed lunatic, a problem among many libertarian authors who seem interested only in throwing red meat to their target audience. I'm a huge fan of Tom Woods, Tom DiLorenzo, Murray Rothbard, etc., but they all fall short of Ledbetter when it comes to explaining the moral arguments in favor of libertarianism to the uninitiated. His writing is more of an appeal to reason for those who might be described as fence-sitting neoconservatives or progressives. I'm sure that if his work were more widely read, many hearts and minds would change.

I look forward to parts 3,4, and 5 of this series. Mr. Ledbetter, if you're reading this, PLEASE continue this series to the end!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
I just finished reading the Kindle version of America's Forgotten History Part 1: Foundations and it was so good that I went ahead and purchased Part 2 and Globocop. I never thought history could be so interesting, but Mark Ledbetter has managed to bring the historical figures and events to life...made me feel like I was right there in the moment.

A libertarian perspective on history was badly needed, and this author has done a great job in hightlighting and promoting the libertarian viewpoint in Part 1. I can't wait to read the rest of the books in the series, I hope he will find the time to write Part 3, 4 & 5 as mentioned in his first book?

This a wonderful addition to my ebook libary and I highly recommend Part 1 to anyone who wants a fresh perspective on Americian History.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2011
I purchased this book expecting it to be just another book covering the same events we've all read about, and were bored by, in high school & college courses on American history. But that doesn't describe this book at all. It has fascinating details that were totally new to me, though I've read a bit on American history before buying this book. Ledbetter brings to life those stoggy folks we thought we knew so well, as well as providing interesting material on the times and lives of those folks we never heard about. I was so delighted with this kindle edition that I purchased the hard copy as well - both volumes!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2011
Please add me to Mark David Ledbetter's growing fan base for this outstanding series of books.

This volume introduced me to a lot of the history of how our regional culture is drawn from the regions of England and the struggles they endured.

The writing is good, but this is not a light-weight or casual novel, it is a serious work for serious readers. It is not a pop culture approach to history, so be ready to do some heavy lifting to take in all the author is presenting.

Forgotten is the key word in the title. I don't know if some of the history Mr. Ledbetter details herein is forgotten as much as it has probably been either prostituted by 20th century politicians and their parties to further their own agendas or ignored for similar goals. Mr. Ledbetter brings it back to life.

My only critique of the book and it is small, but something a potential reader may want to consider. Because Mr. Ledbetter touches on so much of our history that is forgotten some of what he writes seems extraordinary and certainly out of what was probably taught as mainstream in public school education (I am high school class of 86). This sometimes presented a challenge to me as I read the book.

There is an exceptional bibliography, but as I read the book I would've appreciated footnotes to what he was referencing to build my own depth of knowledge. It doesn't make the book any less worthwhile, just something to consider.

I have already downloaded Volume 2 and look forward to his work on subsequent volumes.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2010
I read Part I of this series and immediately bought Part II.

Read both of these works if you're interested in history and truth--which you should be. They are as refreshing as a seabreeze in summertime compared to conventional tomes. They're painted from an objective, libertarian perspective of American history, and it's not always easy to read about what really happened.

My favorite heroes of the early USA are Washington, Hamilton and Lincoln, but even these giants have to endure the hot light of libertarian objectivity under Ledbetter's pen. My only personal pain was that Hamilton, the self-made man, fares worse than Jefferson, the man with the golden philosophy and a field full of slaves. Lincoln, too, gets no mercy. But... Hey, that's the nature of objectivity. It's as if someone informed you that your heroic father cheated on your sainted mother. You might not want to know, but you should, if only to understand.

This author writes deftfully and artfully, page after page, so that you will sit back and enjoy the refreshing breeze.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2013
I found the book interesting and thought provoking. Ledbetter is an excellent writer who knows how to tell a good story. The story moves quickly. He provides a very broad, but often shallow, treatment of events. The “forgotten history” is not so much historical facts but how those facts have been misinterpreted by traditional historians, who Ledbetter says often got it wrong because of their political leanings.

The book is really more of a political treatise on libertarian philosophy than a solid survey of early American history. Because of the broad scope, Ledbetter had to be selective in the covered events; something he accuses traditional historians of doing. His selectivity was guided by a clear libertarian bias, which to his credit is acknowledges up front. He chose events that best support his thesis—libertarianism works better than other political ideologies. His arguments are often compelling, even when the underlying assumptions seem flawed. I found some of the interpretations of facts to not square with what I have read elsewhere, but then my other sources are traditional histories.

Citations are not give, which I consider a serious weakness. Providing citations and possibly linked notes would have strengthened the work and its arguments. I would have rated the book higher if there were citations because their absence makes me suspicious of many given assertions—it’s easy to fudge when you don’t provide supporting documentation. Ledbetter gives two rationales for not including footnotes. First, he did not yet have a “real publisher “(perhaps an economic excuse). But is not there a responsibility to the readers? Second, he says footnotes are no longer needed given the accessibility of facts and information on the web. I don’t buy this rationale. Web searches produce global information unless you know exactly what you are looking for. Many of the assertions made in the book that I would have liked to seen supporting documentation would be difficult to track down via the web. That said Ledbetter does give excellent notes on his primary sources in a narrative bibliography.

Also at the end of the book Ledbetter gives some brief “Notes on Usage,” which I found helpful. I recommend that you look at those notes before reading the book. They may relieve some discomfort for those who were educated in traditional English grammar, as were most of us.

Bottom line: I applaud Ledbetter’s efforts to tell history from a non-traditional perspective. He contributes fresh interpretations which are too often suppressed by in-vogue paradigms. Although I don’t agree with a number of his interpretations, they are interpretations that need to be considered and debated. The book is certainly worth $1.50 and I think would be enjoyed by those who are inquisitive. Libertarians will love it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2011
This should be a text book in every school in the U S. Explains how the idea of the constitution having power in the states was taken by the feds and the courts early on and once taken, is extremely difficult to get back.
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