- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 15 hours and 38 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
- Audible.com Release Date: January 24, 2017
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01NCQAF6E
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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American Heritage History of the Confident Years: 1866-1914 Audiobook – Unabridged
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The author is a respected historian who wrote such books as Adams: An American Dynasty. This book is a sequel to his American Heritage History of Young America: 1783-1860.
The material in the first three chapters is intriguing, if a bit dismaying. The author recounts the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, the shenanigans of the Whiskey Ring during the Grant administration, and then the Credit Mobilier scandal, when Congressional and government leaders competed to see who could be the most crooked. Hard to believe, but they made the politicians of our time look good!
Russell then turns to look at the culture and life of everyday Americans, the farmers, miners, settlers of the West. “The humming and expanding continent, for all its corruption and crudities, its setbacks and depressions, embodied progress, the one permanence beyond all change,” writes Russell. “Progress seemed part of the very scheme of things.”
Chapter 5 talks introduces different aspects of industrialization beginning with Bessemer and Andrew Carnegie. “The post-Civil War era has been called many things, but it can aptly be called the age of steel, for that refinement of iron was becoming the foundation of all industries.” Russell gives an amusing history of petroleum, which in Pennsylvania had often alloyed farmers and men who were digging water wells by oozing up to the surface. Patent medicine men would bottle it for “medicinal purposes” under such names as Snake Oil.
Russell talks about so many fascinating subjects in this book -- the flourishing of American art and sculpture, the innovations in the construction of such bridges as the Brooklyn Bridge, and the importance of newspapers and the explosive growth of magazines.
His discussion of the settlement West was strong, especially the difficulties of miners and farmers. “In God We Trusted, In Kansas We Busted,” as some wrote on their covered wagons returning from the Prairie.
The growth of railroads, the silver debate, and the great Depression of 1893 are among the topics covered in chapter 8. The next chapter looks at the War with Spain, after which President McKinley observed that “in a few short months we have become a world power.”