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Give Me Liberty!: An American History (Fourth Edition) (Vol. One-Volume) 4th Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 476 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393920260
ISBN-10: 0393920267
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  • Give Me Liberty!: An American History (Fourth Edition)  (Vol. One-Volume)
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Eric Foner is the preeminent historian of his generation, highly respected by historians of every stripe―whether they specialize in political history or social history. His books have won the top awards in the profession, and he has been president of both major history organizations: the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians. He has worked on every detail of Give Me Liberty!, which displays all of his trademark strengths as a scholar, teacher, and writer. A specialist on the Civil War/Reconstruction period, he regularly teaches the nineteenth-century survey at Columbia University, where he is DeWitt Clinton Professor of History. In 2011, Foner's The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery won the Pulitzer Prize in History, the Bancroft Prize, and the Lincoln Prize.
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Product Details

  • Series: Give Me Liberty!
  • Hardcover: 1304 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 4 edition (October 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393920267
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393920260
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.9 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (476 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The perspective that Give Me Liberty presents to its readers is predominantly one of the voice of the under represented or disenfranchised in the history of the United States. Professor Foner makes a concerted effort to convey how the average citizen experienced the history occurring around them and casts them as players in that drama.

What I have found surprising though is that for an academic text, Give Me Liberty often lacks objectivity to the point where Professor Foner blatantly injects his own subjective opinion into the text. It isn't even that he is giving examples of the thinking of others which would reflect his thesis; he just comes right out and tells you what he thinks. An example of this can be found on page 656, in the section which discusses "The New Imperialism." Foner writes, "... eventually, they would be accorded the right to self-government, although no one could be sure how long this would take. In the meantime, 'empire' was another word for 'exploitation.'"

While I may agree with this sentiment, I was under the impression that an academic text, especially one intended for a college-level audience, should, as objectively as practical, present the facts and allow the student to exercise their critical-thinking ability to consider the evidence and draw their own conclusions to the material presented.

Another minor issues I have with the the text is that Professor Foner has a tendency of using unattributed or anonymous quotations. An example of this is "... one historian has written,...." Well, if it is one historian, who was it? I can understand if he is making a generalization of how a large group of people felt about a topic, but if it is just one person, can't you attribute the quote to them?
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Format: Paperback
I am taking two courses of American history at my community college. This book is the one that my history professor chose for the class. It is a solid treatment of the history of the United States focused around the advancement of liberty. It does not take steps to ensure a level of detail in the major wars like the Civil War or Revolution. Instead, it directs the student's attention towards events which set the stage for oppression, racism, sexism, and other discriminations. From the removal of the natives to the growing issue of slavery in the United States, Foner carefully outlines how the meaning of the word 'liberty' means different things to different cultures, and how it has changed over time. The unique qualities of American liberty are thoroughly treated. This makes the textbook flow with ease; students can easily see a growing pattern emerge in Foner's work. True to his background, Foner gives an extremely lucid presentation that set the stage for the Civil War, and the route to segregation afterwards.

My only complaint is that it does not cover the wars as thoroughly as I wished. However, this book is good enough that I will be keeping it after my two courses are done. If anyone has a friend who's interested in American history, this is the book to get them.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're reading this, you probably don't have a choice on whether or not you want to buy this book. So let me give you a couple reasons why you should actually read this:

+The focus of this book isn't just on telling the story of how we came to be, it focuses on freedom and how our notion of freedom has changed through the ages

+SO well written. Reads similar to a novel and is easy to follow along with.

+Glossy, lay-flat design makes it perfect for highlighting and reading. The quality of the book is superb.

+Did I mention this was well written? I'm halfway through the semester and have actually read all 5 chapters so far. It's an amazing book with an amazing author

+Doesn't simply tell the story. You probably already know how Christopher Columbus was a terrible man. This instead has little to say about Columbus, even less to say about the Pilgrims. It's truthful to what our history as Americans is. Over 80% of the people who landed in Jamestown died in the first year from harsh conditions. We were so desperate that we stole food from Powhatan.

+Truly tells the story of how rough things were for the colonists. Absolutely real and not sugar coated like most high-school or college books. Foner tells it as it was!
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Format: Paperback
Although I had a previous edition (the one with the better front cover art) I can honestly say that this is the best history book I've ever had to read. I actually read the text cover to cover and loved it. It does not flow like a text book, but rather like a novel. It was very enjoyable and the ease of it helped me get an A.
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By Lynne on January 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered this textbook to use with the APUSH students that I tutor. The textbook is well-written and presents information in a straightforward manner. (This is the first year the students have used this text; previously they used The American Pageant which I found almost poetic in style and difficult for my students to process.) Foner's textbook has very helpful online material that accompanies it, including a topical outline of each chapter that helps students take notes and practice quizzes for each chapter. I would give Foner's book 5 stars if it had key words in bold type.
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