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I Wish I'd Been There: Twenty Historians Bring to Life the Dramatic Events That Changed America (Vintage) Paperback – September 4, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Arranged chronologically, the anthology begins with the elaborate funeral of a chieftain in 1030 Cahokia, a metropolis on the Mississippi, as witnessed by Biloine Young. It concludes with William Leuchtenburg's discussion of Lyndon Johnson's heated confrontation with George Wallace before the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
In between we see the Lewis and Clark expedition crossing the Continental Divide with the help of the Shoshone Indians, George Washington in a post-revolutionary moment of diplomatic eloquence, the shooting of Abraham Lincoln, the Salem witch trials, the Amistad trial, singer Jenny Lind's American debut, John Brown's strange and reckless stand at Harper's Ferry, the surrender of the Nez Perce Indians in 1877, the Scopes trial, FDR's turn for the worse before his fourth-term election, JFK and the Vietnam war, the civil rights struggle, and more.
Though each writer focuses on a particular moment in time, they bring their considerable knowledge of the background and subsequent results to bear, fixing the moment in context.Read more ›
Their imaginations will take the reader through an incredible journey of historical events, presented chronologically from the ancient metropolis that is now the Cahokia mounds along the Mississippi River in the year 1030 to the turmoil of the Civil Rights marches of Alabama in 1965. There is certainly something here for every historical taste. The writing, for the most part, is superb, though a few stand out above the others. I wont disclose my personal favorites as that should be left to each reader to discern for themselves, but suffice it to say, if you love history, you will not be disappointed here.
You will likely find events you are quite familiar with, such as Lewis and Clark on the Great Divide, as well as others you may know little or nothing about. Such was the case for me with the opening narrative of Cahokia.
If you like your history reading varied and in rather small doses, this is a must read. I believe this would also be of great benefit for students wanting to explore a variety of essays to lead them towards further studies of specific events. I would have liked a more indepth bibliography, but we cant have everything.
Arranged chronologically, this work begins with the funeral of a chieftain in Cahokia and ends with Lyndon Johnson's conversation with George Wallace in regard to civil rights. It also includes Washington's treaty with the Creek Nation Indians, Lincoln's assassination, the Salem witchcraft trial, the Amistad trial, the Scopes trial, Lewis and Clark expedition, Jenny Lind's debut in New York, Chief Joseph's surrender at Bear Paw Mountains, John Brown's stand at Harper's Ferry, John and Robert Kennedy discussing the Vietnam war, and others.
The contributors were given liberties to hear testimonies that were not written down, witness reactions which are not recorded, listen to thoughts that are only imagined, and experience conditions that are conjured up for that time period. As with works like this one, readers would find certain chapters more appealing than others, certain events more interesting than others and certain writing styles more provocative than others.
We engage in role play everyday. Our moments of empathy bear witness to such role play. Hence the idea of compiling a book where the author is free to role play is a good one. The "short story" format of the book allows the reader to take in history in small doses.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Since these dramatizations are short -- roughly 15 pages each -- they are easy to digest at the end of a day. Read morePublished on March 29, 2014 by M. Heiss
The concept of this book is spectacular. Twenty well known historians choose the moment in history they'd love to have shared. Read morePublished on March 6, 2014 by Raymond F. Allen
I majored in history, so I am somewhat biased. I told several people about it and many people seemed interested in the concept. Read morePublished on September 9, 2013 by Kellie F
This non-fiction book is an excellent one to explain how certain events shaped American life. My favorite was the one about the presidency of James K. Read morePublished on August 21, 2013 by J'nell L. Pate
The cover with the picture is missing, but other than that it is perfect.
Thank you for your effort!
I would do business with you again if the opportunity arises.
Previewing this book as I plan to assign it for summer reading to an AP US History class. I loved it.Published on April 17, 2013 by Kevin
First, it should be noted that the title oversells the book: few of the historical moments depicted in this chronologically ordered collection of essays "changed America. Read morePublished on January 4, 2011 by J. Grattan