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The Forgotten History of America: Little-Known Conflicts of Lasting Importance From the Earliest Colonists to the Eve of the Revolution Paperback – Bargain Price, October 1, 2008

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Paperback, Bargain Price, October 1, 2008
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Fair Winds Press (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592333028
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,357,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Set against a grand landscape that inspires both awe and terror, The Forgotten History of America depicts a continent emerging as both a bloody battleground between Native Americans and Europeans and a place where alien cultures began to mesh. This is the history they left out of the textbooks—thanks to Cormac O’Brien, the forgotten history of America will be forgotten no more.” Joseph Cummins, author of The World’s Bloodiest History and The War  Chronicles: From Flintlocks to Machine Guns


“The art of narrative history is experiencing a long-overdue revival thanks to the work of such new historians as Cormac O'Brien. Here is a man who knows his way around a library, and knows how to tell a good story. And by focusing his attention on the colonial period, an era especially rich in remarkable stories that few people have ever heard before, O'Brien introduces us to extraordinary men and women and landmark events that shaped the American character and the future of the nation.”   —Thomas J. Craughwell, author of Failures of the Presidents and Stealing Lincoln's

About the Author

Cormac O’Brien is the author of The Forgotten History of America and Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents, among other books. He has been a featured speaker at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and a regular guest on National Public Radio. He lives in New Jersey.

More About the Author

Cormac O'Brien has published books on everything from natural disasters to U.S. presidents, from ancient empires to the American Civil War, bringing a distinctive voice to chapters of the human story that are as fascinating as they are significant. He has spoken at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and made appearances on NPR, CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, and other venues. Born and raised in western New York State, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter.

Customer Reviews

It seems like the author went through the book and applied his thesaurus.
J. Spurway
I wish my high school history books were written in this format because I would have shown more interest in reading them.
The book is well written and includes lots of illustrations, including paintings and etchings, many in color.
Boston Lesbian

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Terry L on December 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Everything in this book has been written about before, but this is a good book for those who do not have an interest in reading a full size book about any of the episodes presented here but would rather read only a short story. Each episode is covered decently and if the reader wishes to learn more, there are many, many books available to do so.

There are some faults here also, however. Physically, the print is tiny. And sometimes the "sidebars" conflict with the main story and one has to flip back and forth between the two to figure out which is which. There are many pictures that make the book better than it would have been without them, but it also would have nice to have some maps showing where these events took place.

However, more annoying than the physical faults of the book is the author's obvious personal bias. For example, in chapter 18, the author seems to suggest that only the English were trying to take North American land from the Native Americans whilst the French were here only for mutually beneficial trading with the Native Americans. That is silly; both the English and the French were here to take the land for themselves. The English and French just had different ways of going about it. Remember the Louisiana Purchase? Does anyone really believe the French obtained this tremendous amount of land for themselves and then later sold it to the United States in order to benefit the Native Americans? No, the French came to the New World to profit themselves, just as the English did. There weren't just here to be trading partners with the Native Americans. And I don't remember the French giving any of Canada back to the Indians either. Both nations were after land, and both took land.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David C. Hills on March 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'll have to admit I did not read the entire book; however, I find it difficult to commit time to a book that purports to represent history when even I can find made up facts and gross inaccuracies. For example:

O'Brien's chapter on the Pequot war seems to represent historical fiction as his version of this event includes comments on the number of swallows of water Capt John Mason took as they approached the Pequot village at Mystic (reference please).

Then, in the middle of page 72, during Mr. O'Brien's discussion of the trial of Anne Hutchinson, he has a bold faced header entitled "Cotton Mather Speaks". One should note that at the time of this trial (1637-1638) Cotton's father (Increase Mather) had yet to be born, much less Cotton himself who was born February 12, 1662/63 to Increase Mather and Maria Cotton (daughter of John Cotton).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Newman VINE VOICE on December 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It is nice to see a book that covers what American history text books usually gloss over. We don't hear much between the discovery of North America until the American Revolution, at best we get Pilgrims, Jamestown, and then the Boston Tea Party. This book points out that there was a lot going on during these years and a lot of it was of international significance and also pretty bloody.

The book is a collection of historic events, mostly involving wars between the different colonizing nations or between colonists and Amerindians. Also, the stories are mostly pretty bloody. The one half exception to the war stories is the story of Anne Hutchinson who defied her role in church and society but in the end she is also killed in an massacre.

Each event is covered as a encapsulated story with little or no attempt to link them together in a narrative. The events basically run in chronological order, however a couple overlap in a disconcerting manner. In the end I was wishing there was at least a simple timeline so I could keep the stories straight and understand the chronological relationships between the events.

The physical construction of the book is very good, with nice heavy paper. I like the vintage design, the type font and lay out echoes colonial book design. And it is richly illustrated with woodcuts and reproductions of etchings and paintings.

All in all, I really enjoyed the book. It was very readable, but it left me feeling like it was a bunch of anecdotes more than a history book. It also left me with a very brutal vision of life in Colonial times, which may be pretty close to the truth.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Launius VINE VOICE on December 24, 2008
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
So what defines a "forgotten history?" Does it relate to how a culture remembers and forgets episodes in its past? These are core questions for Cormac O'Brien's popular history of colonial America, "The Forgotten History of America." I wish he had tried to answer it. Mostly O'Brien concentrates on dramatic episodes in the European expansion into North America; and certainly these are not forgotten among those who have even a passing interest/knowledge of the subject. He writes in an engaging style, and that is of value for reaching a general audience, but there is nothing whatsoever in this book that might be remotely considered a new perspective or the recovery of something truly forgotten.

O'Brien begins his 18 case studies on colonial North America with the expedition of Panfilo de Narvaez to what is now Florida. A disastrous mission, Cabeza de Vaca and the slave Estaben were among the four who survived native captivity and traveled throughout the American Southwest. It is from them that the Spanish learned the legend of the cities of Cibola that motivated later Conquistadores to undertake expeditions seeking gold. He ends with the British victory over the French in North America in 1763, thereby establishing British suzerainty in the region.

Between these two bookends O'Brien includes vignettes of the British takeover of New York, numerous confrontations with Native Americans such as King Phillip's War, the farmer uprising known as Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia, reactions to British royal prerogative in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution of 1689, and George Washington's disastrous actions at the beginning of the French and Indian War.

These various episodes, while far from forgotten, are interesting and sometimes illuminating for the general reader.
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