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Books - History - Historical Study - Reference - Best History Research Books

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U.S. History for Dummies
by SteveWiegand
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (15 February, 2001)
list price: $19.99 -- our price: $13.59
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Reviews (10)

2-0 out of 5 stars Too Biased
Potential readers should know that this book presents US History from a far-left viewpoint. For example, the author suggests that the British held the moral high ground during the Revolutionary War and that the colonists were lucky to win, and that the colonists were primarily a group of incompetent zealots who wanted new territory in which to practice their bigotry and intolerance. He even fringes on being revisionist when he subscribes to the very obscure notion that Davy Crockett didn't really die in defense of the Alamo. The author states early on his view that American history as we know it has been too heavily influenced by writers of European ancestry, and that his is an effort to "set the record straight".
I feel that it's inappropriate to title and market this book as an objective and unbiased book on US History. I do, however, give the book two stars because the subject matter is so fascinating.

2-0 out of 5 stars Well written, but ruined by the ideology...
Having been asked by a European friend for a book recommendation to learn the nuts and bolts of American history, I gave this book a pre-read with the idea that it might be a fun way for her to learn the basics.Unfortunately, I found this book to be highly subjective and slanted toward the left.It's a shame because the author is effective in presenting this historical overview in a light, fun manner.If only his ideology hadn't interfered...

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing: a modern history book that is not bland
Steve Wiegand has a voice and he's not afraid to use it. It's wonderful to read a general history book with a little edge, a little attitude, and a lot of humor. This is no pussy-cat history, declawed and toned down with an eye to being totally inoffensive. This is fun to read -- and you'll learn something while you're at it. Great supplement for teachers seeking to spice up the curriculum a bit and engage their students. ... Read more

Isbn: 076455249X
Sales Rank: 3788
Subjects:  1. History    2. History - General History    3. History: American    4. United States    5. United States - General    6. United States History (General)    7. World - General    8. American history    9. History / World    10. Reference works    11. USA   


A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present
by Howard Zinn
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 September, 2001)
list price: $18.00
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Editorial Review

Consistently lauded for its lively, readable prose, this revised andupdated edition of A People's History of the United States turnstraditional textbook history on its head. Howard Zinn infuses the often-submerged voices of blacks, women, American Indians, war resisters, andpoor laborers of all nationalities into this thorough narrative that spansAmerican history from Christopher Columbus's arrival to an afterword onthe Clinton presidency.

Addressing his trademark reversals of perspective, Zinn--a teacher, historian,and social activist for more than 20 years--explains, "My point is not that wemust, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It istoo late for that; it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality. But theeasy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay forprogress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save Western civilization; Kronstadtand Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation, to save us all)--that isstill with us. One reason these atrocities are still with us is that we havelearned to bury them in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes areburied in containers in the earth."

If your last experience of American history was brought to you by juniorhigh school textbooks--or even if you're a specialist--get ready for the otherside of stories you may not even have heard. With its vivid descriptions ofrarely noted events, A People's History of the United States isrequired reading for anyone who wants to take a fresh look at the rich, rockyhistory of America. ... Read more

Reviews (446)

5-0 out of 5 stars A turn for the losers and underdogs...
I think there gets to be a time in many hardcore history readers' lives when they realize that they know a heck of a lot about American history.We come to a moment at which we feel as if we know who all of the most important figures are by heart, along with the most significant events, the most relevant milestones and the most earth-shattering developments since 1492.

However, after reading a slew of more specific books on the topics that interest you most (be it the Revolutionary period, the Civil War, business history, or what have you), a day comes along when you feel like it is time to read another "overview" that will give a global vision of American history in its entirety.That is what happened to me a few weeks ago when I walked into my local bookstore and came across "A People's History of the United States," completely by chance, when I was overtaken by this need for generality.

It was the PERFECT choice.As I said before, I have always been the history buff, so reading the same once again would have been fun but somewhat pointless in the big picture.By reading THIS particular survey of American history, I was reminded of all the main eras and events, but this time I got to see the viewpoint of the major losers and underdogs, who probably wouldn't be waving the star-spangled banner if they had lived until today.

This is the history of the downtrodden, all those people who we intuitively know must have existed, but that nobody ever seems to mention at school or elsewhere.In the back of our minds, as intelligent human beings, we know that the American Revolution couldn't have been a boon to everyone.And same goes for the Civil War, the uprise of Big Business, the takeover of the whole North American continent, the building of the railroads, the winning of all our wars.

You can take the negative view that this book is left-wing Anti-American rhetoric, or you can look at it positively and just say, "hey, I guess it is only fair that someone took the time to tell the story from the other perspective."If you read this history book, you will then know who was left behind or stepped on in order for the rest of us to reach the wealth and power we are so fortunate to have today.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brings needed balance.
This history book is an excellent primer for those who want to learn about the complete history of the United States. All of the atrocities that regular history books gloss over are brought to light and this shows how fragile a democracy can be when it falls into the wrong hands.

Unfortunately, there have been a lot of attacks from far right conservatives which have diluted the reviews section. Not one I will point out has been able to list a single instance where Zinn has been wrong or misleading about anything. Instead, the reviews are simply vicious personal attacks that, of all things, accuse the left of being vicious and personal in nature. But then, they tend to attack that which scares them, and if Zinn is scaring them it is because of the information that he brings attention to.

Covering more than 500 years of history means that the book can not go into as much detail as I would have liked concerning some subjects. At the same time, there are very few important historical events that are not presented. Having read this book, I was motivated to do more research and found that all of the information is corroborated elsewhere and even more interesting when coming from a dedicated source.

Well worth reading. It's a shame though that so many reviews that are simply ideological attacks are allowed taint what is otherwise a great system for reviewing books.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Bible
Title says it all. This book has helped me in countless college courses. ... Read more

Isbn: 0060937319
Subjects:  1. Democracy    2. History    3. History - General History    4. History: American    5. Political Ideologies - Democracy    6. United States - General   

The Buried Mirror : Reflections on Spain and the New World
by Carlos Fuentes
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (15 January, 1999)
list price: $29.95 -- our price: $18.87
(price subject to change: see help)
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Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent!
This book is absolutely spellbinding and captivating in it's presentation that is both an excellent narrative and artisticwith imagery to further enhance the experience. The editorial reviewhere at Amazon by Kirkus Reviews is a good synopsis to get a good idea about the books contents. Also there are many sample pages available for your perusal. From areaders perspective this book is one to cherish after the reading experience is over. Carlos Fuentes presents the subject ofSpain and it's influence on the new world with clarity andmakes his points with the precision of a sugeon, clean and accurate. Beginning with the ancient imagery of the bull found in caves in Spain Fuentes begins his analysis showing how this imagery continues in the arts and culture in such diverse domains as the works of Goya and Picasso, advertisements for brandy and of course the Spanish spectacle of bullfighting.He picks and chooses his historical path, weaving through the centuries concludingwith the the growth of Hispanic USA. The book is full oh historical facts, little known bits of information abound as Fuentes draws analogies that stimulate the mind, stimulating the reader to conclude further inferences. The book reminds me of Bronowski's "The Ascent of Man" only on a smaller scope, from a perspectivethat makes connections between Spain and Latin America as oppossed to the whole of humanity. The "mother" countries influence is expounded upon as only Fuentes can, his use of language is powerful, insightful and revealing all the while showing his keen intelligence and sharp eye for details.The accompanying artwork throughout the book is fantastic and helps the reader to further understand the subject. Amoving narrative is delivered by Fuentes andI highly suggest this book to anyone interested inthe history of Spain and it's long lasting influence in the Americas. A natural outcome of reading this bookis to further explore one of the manytopics introduced. Included is a complete lineage of Spanish succession detailing the various ruling families and marriages that created the kings and queens of Spain. Aslo there is an outstanding suggested bibliography.This is a superb bookthat stimulates the mind while you read and beyond.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Buried Mirror
This book is good for readers who are interested in Hispanic culture but don't know where to start looking for information. Carlos Fuentes introduces Latin America poetically and simply.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great read for anyone interested in Spanish culture
This is by far the best book I have encountered that deals with Spanish and Latin American culture.Fuentes is at once poetic and historically fluente.The book moves smoothly, and the subjects with which it deals (which may be made boring by a less skilled writer) always hold the reader's attention.It's better written in Spanish, but the translation is pretty good too.If you like any of Fuentes' other works, or are simply interested in Hispanic culrture and philosphy, buy this one. ... Read more

Isbn: 0395924995
Sales Rank: 147441
Subjects:  1. America    2. Americas (North Central South West Indies)    3. Civilization    4. Colonies    5. Ethnic Studies - General    6. Europe - Spain & Portugal    7. Fuentes, Carlos - Prose & Criticism    8. History    9. History - General History    10. History: World    11. Latin America    12. Spain    13. Spain And Portugal - History    14. History / Spain & Portugal   


The Civil War for Dummies
by Keith D.Dickson
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 March, 2001)
list price: $19.99 -- our price: $13.59
(price subject to change: see help)
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Civil War Reading At Your Fingertips
As a history major in college, this book was a wonderful resource to use in my civil war studies in the fall semester of 04. You don't have to read a lot of bull to get to the grit.Each section of the war are very explanatory and full of detail. I am also plowing through Shelby Foot's books on the civil war. This is a great book for someone who likes civil war history, but don't like to doindepth researching and reading volumes of books.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Source of Information
The Dummie books are getting better as time goes on. The civil war book for dummies, is very educational and informative. You do not have to go through a lot of bull in order to read wonderful history. This should be a textbook in school.I love to read history, but I hate reading thick books that have a lot of worthless reading in the middle and it takes you forever to get to the main parts of history. The dummies books are not that way.

Buy the US History, WW II, and the US Presidents, Lewis & Clark for dummies.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Civil War for Dummies
What began as a way to find out a little more about the Civil War has turned into a full blown passion.And what book do I thank for that?Well actually there are two.While reading Carl Sandburg's three volume bio on Abraham Lincoln, I realized I need to know a little more about the Civil War.So I borrowed a copy of "The Civil War for Dummies" and was hooked.

Because I read this book, it stirred in me an intense interest and desire to know more about the CW.Now I belong to a CW Roundtable in my area and I'm studying on my own different aspects of the CW.

It is a wonderfully easy book to read and get the very basics of the Civil War.From there one can move on to some of the classics.

I highly recommend this book for a beginning view of the CW or as quick reference guide. ... Read more

Isbn: 0764552449
Sales Rank: 114898
Subjects:  1. 1861-1865, Civil War    2. Civil War, 1861-1865    3. History    4. History - Military / War    5. History: American    6. Military - United States    7. Reference    8. U.S. History - Civil War And Reconstruction (1860-1877)    9. United States    10. United States - Civil War    11. American history: c 1800 to c 1900    12. History / United States / General    13. USA    14. c 1800 to c 1900   


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