Most helpful positive review
115 of 119 people found the following review helpful
Nothing dull about this history!
on July 27, 2010
"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.