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Forgotten Americans: Footnote Figures Who Changed American History Hardcover – January 21, 1968

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Randall, a historical biographer (Thomas Jefferson: A Life, LJ 8/93), and Nahra, a poet, contend that most American historians have neglected to tell the story of individuals whom the authors say played crucial historical roles. They identify 15 of these "footnote" figures from early Colonial times to the end of the 19th century, focusing on a number of fascinating individuals whose stories are not widely known, some undoubtedly for ethnic, racial, or gender reasons but others because their significance is questionable. The authors' contention that these were all figures "who changed American history" is not well supported; in some cases Randall and Nahra appear to have constructed straw people, claiming that their subjects have been overlooked. Furthermore, educated people are likely aware of Anne Hutchinson, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, Tecumseh, and Sitting Bull, each of whom receives a chapter. Ironically, Randall and Nahra fail to share very much about how they did their own research. It also seems odd that the authors chose no subjects from the 20th century. Not recommended.ACharles K. Piehl, Mankato State Univ., MN
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Renowned biographer Randall (Thomas Jefferson, 1993, etc.) and wife Nahra, an award-winning poet, here offer fascinating sketches of Americans who have unjustly been relegated to the footnotes of history. While not all of the authors' subjects are truly obscure--most students of the Revolutionary period are aware of Polish patriot Tadeusz Kosciuszko or the Tory William Franklin, Benjamin's son, who was the last royal governor of New Jersey, and of Peggy Shippen, who induced Benedict Arnold's treason, while Tecumseh and Sitting Bull are well known even to casual students of American history. But most have faded from popular consciousness despite having been influential or even notorious in their own time. After vividly sketching the bloody tale of Tom Quick, who fought a personal feud with the Lenape Indians for 40 years, the authors tell the stories of Native Americans who resisted the conquest of the continent by whites, like the Lenape Teedyuscung, and those who conformed to white culture, like old-time Cleveland baseball star Louis Sockalexis, an Abenaki Indian after whom the Cleveland Indians were named. Besides Native Americans, the authors depict persons who, often courageously, resisted the exclusions of white male society: Anne Hutchinson, the independent mystic who dared defy the male authority of the Puritan church; James Forten, black Philadelphia inventor and philanthropist and his granddaughter Charlotte, an abolitionist who taught ex-slaves at a special school in South Carolina; and Myra Bradwell, feminist lawyer and suffragist. Charmingly, the authors also include an account of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison taking a summer vacation in New England in 1791; rather than showing us ``forgotten Americans,'' here the authors emphasize the forgotten dimensions of the best- remembered Americans. Well narrated, these thumbnail portraits vividly show the forgotten side of important struggles and issues in American history. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (January 21, 1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201773147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201773149
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,521,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Forgotten Americans" is a worthy attempt to bring back to our collective memory some historical figures who have been tarnished by history or just only briefly mentioned, if at all, in contemporary school books. Randall and Nahra pick their subjects ranging from the settling of the American Colonies to the early twentieth century. Some of the chapters discuss the neglected aspects of famous Americans, Thomas Jefferson and his vacation or Benjamin Franklin's shattered relationship with his Loyalist son, William; other chapters explore early abolitionists, Indian fighters, suffragists, evangelists and other Americans who, although not be remembered, shaped our country. "Forgotten Americans" is a illuminating exploration of our historical backwaters. Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a wonderful way of learning history. By focusing on very ordinary people (or on forgotten figures) who experienced extraordinary events, Randall has once more demonstrated how studying American history can be both informative and downright fun. I liked it very much. It might lack the depth of his earler works on Arnold, Franklin, Jefferson, and Washington, but it is still worth the read and, in the end, we learn some very interesting stories about our history!
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Format: Hardcover
It galls me, frankly, that the only claim to fame which most "celebrities" have today is their ability to attract attention to themselves and thereby become famous. I was stewing about that as I read this book, learning a great deal about several authentically remarkable Americans. Its title is somewhat misleading. Most of those discussed by Randall and Nehra have not been "forgotten"; rather, most are unfamiliar to most readers. For example: Anne Marbury Hutchinson, Tom Quick, Margaret Shippen Arnold, Charles Grandison Finney, Charlotte Forten, and Louis Sockalexis. (Other than Jefferson, obviously, I recognized Myra Colby Bradwell because I attended an elementary school in Chicago named after her. I also had a dim idea of Tadeusz Kosciuszko's importance to the American Revolution.) Point is, each of those discussed deserves appreciation which, to date, has been denied them. Randall and Nahra have written a book which (hopefully) will address that neglect. More importantly, they have helped those who read this book to gain a much greater appreciation of the scope, depth, and diversity of the human context of this nation's creation and development over a period of more than two centuries. Also, readers are reminded of the obvious (but not always acknowledged) fact that most of the authentic heroes and heroines throughout any nation's history are, in effect, anonymous. Except for their family members and a few friends, no one will remember them because no one knew or knew of them.
In any event, I enjoy books which provide important information of which I was not previously aware. For example, James W. Loewen' Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong and Richard Shenkman's Legends, Lies & Cherished Myths of American History. Thank you. Randall and Nehra, for the privilege of being introduced to fellow Americans whom I now promise to remember with respect and appreciation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was required reading for my History class, but I think everyone should read it as it tells about the lesser know but just as important people in our American history. Really interesting read.
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By A Customer on March 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed the story of Tom Quick and don't miss the gestapo like orders of George Washington to erase the Deleware Indians from the face of the earth.
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