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Inventing America, Second Edition (Single-Volume Edition) (v. 1-2) Hardcover – December 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0393926743 ISBN-10: 0393926745 Edition: 2nd
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Pauline Maier is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of American History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her specialty is the period of the American Revolution, on which she has published extensively, including the Norton paperback From Resistance to Revolution. Her most recent book is American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Merritt Roe Smith is Leverett and William Cutten Professor of the History of Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research focuses on the history of technological innovation and social change, and his publications include Harpers Ferry Armory and the New Technology and Military Enterprise and Technological Change. Professor Smith is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Alexander Keyssar is Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy at Harvard University. He is a specialist in late nineteenth and twentieth century social and political history. His first book, Out of Work: The First Century of Unemployment in Massachusetts, won the Frederick Jackson Turner Award of the Organization of American Historians. His most recent book is The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the Albert J. Beveridge Award of the American Historical Association. Daniel J. Kevles, the Stanley Woodward Professor of History at Yale University, taught American history for many years at the California Institute of Technology. He has written extensively on the history of science and its relationship to American politics and society in the twentieth century. His works include The Physicists: The History of a Scientific Community in Modern America and In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the Society of American Historians, and is currently a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1000 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton; 2 edition (December 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393926745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393926743
  • Product Dimensions: 0.1 x 0.1 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "ckhs54" on April 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Inventing America is a new history of the United Sates whose unifying theme is innovation. It aims to integrate into a compelling narrative the persistent inventiveness of American in devising new political institutions and practices, economics arrangements, social relations and cultural motifs, adaptations to the natural environment, and exploitation of science and technology.
Indeed, the most original aim of Inventing America is its treatment of science and technology as integral elements of American history. Technical innovation has been important since the earliest times, from pre-Columbian peoples cultivated grains into maize. With the arrival of Europeans, Americans began importing knowledge, technology, plants, and animals from abroad, a process mirrored the import of capital, people, and culture, as we established ourselves as members of a global exchange. The activities of naturalists and scientific societies in eighteenth-century America contributed to the creation of an American identity. The technological and organizational innovation of the nineteenth century changed the ways Americans worked, lived, and spent leisure.
Inventing America serves as an effective teaching tool for the US history survey course. Each chapter features focus questions, outlines, chronologies, and thematic running heads that keep the main points in view for readers. Many features in Inventing America provide readers with a wide perspective: "American Journal" boxes use primary sources to give readers a taste of everyday life in all the major periods. And the packaged CD-ROMs contain numerous archival and original multimedia materials, including audio reading, tours into the different aspects of life, designed to supplement the text discussions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am developing a course in the History of Technology in America for my local community college, and find this book an invaluable resource. There is a hard-back one-volume edition as well as a soft-cover two-volume edition available. The authors hail from Harvard, Yale and MIT, with backgrounds in history, politics and technology.

This is an American history with a difference. While the student and instructor will find the basic chronological outline of American history that is familiar, the development of themes here often draws in much more explicitly than the normal text the issues of technological innovation, scientific discovery, manufacturing and business development as engines for growth and progress in the course of American history. The authors state in their introduction that Americans 'have long considered this penchant for innovation a distinguishing feature of their culture and history.'

Technology in terms discussed here is hardly confined to the modern age. For example, very early in the text the authors state that the development of maize/corn 'was perhaps the most important plant-breeding achievement of all time' - the creation of a stable staple food crop that was adaptable and resilient spurred the growth of civilisation in dramatic ways.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Saskia on April 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is not well done. It jumps between time periods and has random (extremely detailed) rambles about obscure people, while neglecting to demonstrate any clear "cause and effect" between events. I've read other history books; American history does not have to be this confusing. Even the wording of the sentences is painful and there is no discernible thesis, or indication of what information is "interesting" background and what one should actually care about.

It might be okay if you are doing some course that really focuses on obscure people/events while ignoring the "big picture." Otherwise- avoid this. It's really painful.
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