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Don't Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned (Don't Know Much About Series) Hardcover – April 1, 2003
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Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Drawing on reports of the period and on revisionist histories, Davis concisely shows the humanity in American icons known only by one name: Lincoln's views on race relations, Washington's at times bawdy sense of humor, Franklin Roosevelt's thirst for power and gift for political (and apparently, personal) compromise, Ford and Lindbergh's disquieting bigotry and animosity. (Robert E. Lee's quote on slavery's positive effects show him, despite honors afforded him in the Civil War's losing cause, very much a man of his time.) Davis also provides short biographies of historic's outstanding black voices, from Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. DuBois' passion to the Mohammad Ali's athletic urban poetry.
Davis also shows a refreshing desire not to be objective, a rarity in books like this. He attacks the nation's great shames (treatment of Native and African Americans, Japanese-American internment during World War II), targeting history's cynics and opportunists whose names still ring of American royalty: Vanderbilt, JP Morgan, Rockefeller, even the Kennedys. (Davis' coverage of the reasons and results of 1898's Spanish-American War will disturb those always thinking Americans fought defensively and for the right causes.) Davis also explains the interlocking events which started WWI, which (should you choose to read the book cover to cover) pour into every other tragic conflict which followed up to and including September 11.Read more ›
Each chapter begins with a list of questions on a given period of history. Then Davis begins describing what happened during this period, taking up and answering each question in turn. Starting with Teddy Roosevelt, Davis� own political persuasion starts to come through more and more clearly. While I myself agree with Davis� comments about FDR and Ronald Reagan, I think conservative readers might find some of them a bit objectionable. In general, I found this a very readable concise history of the United States, but it�s not for everyone.
In the book, Davis gives a fairly complete overview of the most significant people and events in American history. His writing style is casual, almost folksy. I particularly appreciated the fact that the author discusses both the good and the bad of American history. While I am proud to be part of this great nation, there are many events in our history that we should not be proud of - things that were not discussed in your high school history class. As other reviewers have pointed out, the author occasionally injects his own biases into the text. But, when he does, he backs up these beliefs with facts that are hard to dispute. Whether you're a history buff or someone that just wants to learn more about this country, this is a great text. I plan to read the other "Don't know Much..." books by this author.
Comments specific to the audible.com version: The reader is Dick Estell (of Radio Reader fame). He does an excellent job. His voice is clear and has a lively tone to it - perfect for those long commutes
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is quite a tome! From the arrival of the first Europeans on North American soil to September 11th and beyond, author Kenneth C. Read morePublished 1 month ago by I Read of Jeannie
The history books didn't cover much after the Civil War. Learned a wide variety of things I wasn't aware of.Published 2 months ago by Glen Pugh
The 19 CD's required a commitment to finish especially having to endure his political slants toward his side of the issues.Published 3 months ago by A Bear
My son scans through this every day. He's a real history buff, and this book is very interesting.Published 4 months ago by C.Consumer
We lost our other copy in the house so I ordered another one. I have my kids outline the chapter and then we go over it. Read morePublished 4 months ago by mamahomeschooler
Ironically, the title aptly sums up the author's expertise in American history. It's the usual liberal/progressive, revisionist claptrap, which might be subtitled "Hate Your... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Earl S. Wolcott