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Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2003
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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on December 8, 2014
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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on June 12, 2013
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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on November 27, 2012
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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2008
I purchased this book for my Scholastic Quiz team and it has be a great study tool. PA information is an important component of the competition and this resource has a great deal of information in a very handy, easy to use format. My students can divide the chapters and study away!
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on April 12, 2015
Much more information than I expected. Great book.
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on January 7, 2015
Item received undamaged.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2014
most boring reading EVER! Gotta love required textbooks
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2012
This book will never be leaving my house. Once my daughter uses this book for school, I will be reading this for my own pleasure to find out a little bit more about my home state. Looks interesting.
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