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Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth Paperback – October 22, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0271022147 ISBN-10: 0271022140

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 712 pages
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press (October 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0271022140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0271022147
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 8.6 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From Quaker rule to the devastating decline of the steel industry, Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth chronicles political, cultural and economic developments that have shaped the Keystone State. Edited by Saint Joseph's University history professor Randall M. Miller and William Pencak, a historian at Pennsylvania State University, this lucid and comprehensive history includes contributions from archivists, historians and other academics on such subjects as the state's role in the Underground Railroad and the folklore of the Pennsylvania Dutch. The first part of the handsomely illustrated volume is a straightforward chronological history, while the second is divided into thematic chapters on such subjects as the geography, archeology and literature of the state.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Pennsylvanians have made their commonwealth central to the political, economic, and cultural life and history of the nation. Editors Miller (president, Pennsylvania Historical Assn.; history, St. Joseph's Univ., and an LJ reviewer) and Pencak (history, Pennsylvania State Univ.) and 15 contributors show how Pennsylvanians have "used and occupied the land, created and built communities, organized work and production and made and remade Pennsylvania as a place and an idea." Part 1, "The History," narrates Pennsylvanians from prehistoric times through the Colonial, Revolutionary, Civil War, and industrial eras to our post-industrial world. In Part 2, "Ways to Pennsylvania's Past," scholars treat the reader to the fascinating ways archaeology, architecture, art, folklore, genealogy, geography, literature, oral history, and photography have enriched our understanding of the "Keystone State." Twenty-five years since the publication of the last standard history, the editors present a new history that inspires readers to uncover their own stories. With suggested readings and a bibliography, this thoroughly enjoyable work will appeal to both lay readers and specialists. Highly recommended for area academic, public, and high school libraries.
Charles L. Lumpkins, Pennsylvania State Univ., State College
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This book combines history with many fields of interest.
LEON L CZIKOWSKY
At this point, I wish I would've bought the book so I could read more!
LaCrisha Diven
The book is great, I just wasn't expecting it to be so big!
Christopher Moore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By LEON L CZIKOWSKY on May 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
A much needed history book concerning Pennsylvania has finally been published, and that book is "Pennsylvania", edited by Randall Miller and William Pencak. This is one of the best state history books ever, as it is comprehensive, readable, and vastly informative. Its chapters are well written and skillfully documented by notable experts on each chapter's time periods and subjects.
To highlight portions of the book does injustice to the multitude of other subjects. Still, among aspects this book discusses include how William Penn's treaty with Native Americans symbolized a new spirit of cooperation in American, and how his son's breaking of that treaty perhaps introduced another national spirit.
We see how how industrial owners persuaded Pennsylvania government to make unprecedented infrastructure developments in railroads, roads, banks, and canals that both made Pennsylvania an industrial leader and the owners quite wealthy.
The book tells us of the first Paleo-Indians who probably came to Pennsylvania 14,000 years ago. Their lifestyles influence through today, as many present highways follow the same routes Indians used for centuries prior.
19th century Philadelphia's business leaders are described as being more centered on their own businesses than on the state of their community than leaders in other cities. This led to New York and Baltimore surpassing Philadelphia economically.
At the turn of the 20th century, child labor was an important factor of Pennsylvanian family income, often representing one third to one half of what a family earned. One sixth of households increased their incomes by renting to boarders.
Pennsylvania has a temperature and climate that resembles that of Europe. This book combines history with many fields of interest. For readers who wish to gain a wealth of knowledge about Pennsylvania, this is the book to own.
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Normally, I like to rent the books that are required in my classes - namely those I don't think I'll want to keep ahold of. But, through my PA History class, and reading this book, there's so much MORE I'd like to read! There's all kinds of really interesting things to learn in here about Pennsylvania. Living here all my life, I thought I knew everything that there was to know - boy, was I ever wrong! At this point, I wish I would've bought the book so I could read more!
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Format: Paperback
Yes, the first half of this book is a collection of longitudinal essays narrating PA history. The structure of this history is broadly applicable to other states & countries. The essays were written by experts on the historical era being described.
HOWEVER, the last half of this book provides a series of 20-page essays on different ways to ACTIVELY ENGAGE IN HISTORY! Geography. Architecture. Archeology. Folklore & folklife. Genealogy. Photography. Art. Oral history. Literature. Once again written by persons knowledgeable in that discipline.
This additional information is NOT mentioned in this Amazon book description. And the Table of Contents which would have informed you is also missing.
This book SHOULD BE IN THE TEACHERS' REFERENCE NOOK for all Pennsylvania schools kindergarden through college! And homeschoolers & charter schools should also consider investing some of their limited financial resources to obtain it.
The second half justifies the book being given serious consideration for INCLUSION AS A REFERENCE FOR SOCIAL STUDIES EDUCATORS & STUDENTS in any English language school.
DISCLOSURE: I am not related to either editor or their essayists. I did take one on-line course from them over a decade ago. And I am a Penn State graduate in other disciplines.
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This is the required text for my History of Pennsylvania course I'm taking in Spring 2013. The book is great, I just wasn't expecting it to be so big! My college uses Brinkley's Unfinished Nation for both US History I & US History II. This textbook is thicker than both vol 1 & 2 of Brinkley's Unfinished Nation texts combined!
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