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U.S. History For Dummies, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-470-43639-4
408 pages
June 2009
U.S. History For Dummies, 2nd Edition (0470436395) cover image

Now revised — the easy-to-understand guide to the story of America

Want to better understand U.S. History? This friendly book serves as your tour guide through the important events of America's past and present, introducing you to the people who helped to shape history. From pre-Columbus to the American Revolution, from Watergate to Iraq to Barack Obama, you'll discover fascinating details that you won't find in dry history texts!

  • They're coming to America — explore early civilizations, meet Native Americans, and see how the development of the English colonies led to slavery and the American Revolution
  • From Thomas Jefferson to Abraham Lincoln — examine the contributions of great Americans as well as the discovery of gold, the birth of California, the Civil War, and Manifest Destiny

  • America grows up — be there during the conquering of the West, industrial development, and the invention of the light bulb and the telephone

  • The impact of the World Wars — understand the sweeping changes these epochal events brought to America and the rest of the world

  • The Cold War, Camelot, and Clinton — take a closer look at the Korean War and communism, the fabulous '50s, JFK, Vietnam, Nixon and Watergate, Reaganomics, and the Clinton years

  • From the '90s to now — witness the birth of the microchip, the impact of hanging chads in a presidential election, the largest terrorist attack on American soil, and the growing economic crisis

Open the book and find:

  • Ten important events that defined American culture
  • Interesting Americans, from presidents to gangsters to sports heroes

  • How America fought to win independence from England

  • Details about all the major wars and their long-term effects

  • Insight into the roots of slavery

  • Inventions that changed life for Americans

  • The impact of the atomic bomb

  • The Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence

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Introduction 1

Part I: Getting There, Getting Settled, and Getting Free 7

Chapter 1: America: A Short Biography 9

Chapter 2: Native Americans and Explorers: 12,000 BC(?)–1607 23

Chapter 3: Pilgrims’ Progress: The English Colonies, 1607–1700 43

Chapter 4: You Say You Want a Revolution : 1700–1775 57

Chapter 5: Yankee Doodlin’: 1775–1783 77

Chapter 6: Blueprints and Birth Pains: 1783–1800 91

Part II: Growing Pains 103

Chapter 7: “Long Tom” and One Weird War: 1800–1815 105

Chapter 8: Pulling Together to Keep from Falling Apart: 1815–1844 123

Chapter 9: War, Gold, and a Gathering Storm: 1845–1860 145

Chapter 10: A Most Uncivil War: 1861–1865 159

Chapter 11: Putting the Country Back Together: 1865–1876 175

Part III: Coming of Age 189

Chapter 12: Growing Up: 1876–1898 191

Chapter 13: Growing into the 20th Century: 1899–1918 209

Chapter 14: Gin, Jazz, and Lucky Lindy: 1919–1929 225

Chapter 15: Uncle Sam’s Depressed: 1930–1940 241

Chapter 16: The World at War: 1941–1945 257

Part IV: America in Adulthood 275

Chapter 17: TV, Elvis, and Reds under the Bed: 1946–1960 277

Chapter 18: Camelot to Watergate: 1961–1974 293

Chapter 19: Hold the Malaise, or, Ayatollah So: 1975–1992 309

Chapter 20: No Sex, Please, I’m the President: 1993–1999 323

Chapter 21: “It’s A Small World, After All”: Entering the 21st Century 337

Part V: The Part of Tens 357

Chapter 22: Ten American Inventions that Changed Life as We Know It 359

Chapter 23: Ten Events that Defi ned American Culture 363

Chapter 24: Ten Events in US History They Keep Making into Movies 367

Part VI: Appendixes 371

Appendix A: The Bill of Rights: Amendments 1–10 of the Constitution 373

Appendix B: The Declaration of Independence 375

Index 379

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Steve Wiegand is an award-winning political journalist and history writer. He currently writes a thrice-weekly political column for the Sacramento Bee.

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