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To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian (2002)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743202759, Hardcover)"I am a storyteller by training and inclination," writes the late Stephen Ambrose in To America, his final book. And what a storyteller. One of the most respected and popular historians of his era, Ambrose had a passion for making the events of the past both relevant and entertaining. In these pages, he touches on many of the subjects that he devoted his career to, including presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, the journey of Lewis and Clark, the building of the transcontinental railroad, and the citizen soldiers of World War II. He also writes about his own personal story and his role as a historian. In detailing a family camping trip to Wounded Knee (an outing which directly led to his dual biography of Crazy Horse and George Armstrong Custer) or offering tips on vivid historical writing (keep your narration in chronological order; keep the reader guessing; and never use the passive voice), he shares what it is like to reflect upon the triumphs and mistakes of the past and why it is so important to pass those stories on to the next generation.
In this brief yet satisfying book, Ambrose moves seamlessly from one topic to the next with contagious enthusiasm and unapologetic optimism. Along the way he points out the inherent absurdity of political correctness, and even takes himself to task for past biases and for sometimes failing to consider his subjects within the context of their own times and not his own. He does not shy away from writing about America's sins, both past and present, but Ambrose's undying faith in his country and his fellow citizens is inspiring. --Shawn Carkonen
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:37 -0400)
"In To America, Stephen E. Ambrose reflects on his long career as an American historian and explains what an historian's job is all about. He celebrates America's spirit, which has carried us so far. He confronts its failures and struggles. As always in his much acclaimed work, Ambrose brings alive the men and women, famous and not, who have peopled our history and made the United States a model for the world." "Taking a few swings at today's political correctness, as well as his own early biases, Ambrose grapples with the country's historic sins of racism, its neglect and ill treatment of Native Americans, and its tragic errors (such as the war in Vietnam, which he ardently opposed on campus, where he was a professor). He reflects on some of the country's early founders who were progressive thinkers while living a contradiction as slaveholders, great men such as Washington and Jefferson. He contemplates the genius of Andrew Jackson's defeat of a vastly superior British force with a ragtag army in the War of 1812. He describes the grueling journey that Lewis and Clark made to open up the country, and the building of the railroad that joined it and produced great riches for a few barons." "Ambrose explains the misunderstood presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, records the country's assumption of world power under the leadership of Theodore Roosevelt, and extols its heroic victory of World War II. He writes about women's rights and civil rights and immigration, founding museums, and nation-building. He contrasts the presidencies of Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Throughout, Ambrose celebrates the unflappable American spirit."--BOOK JACKET., and postmoder m0 A .
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