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About the Author

A prolific writer, Daniel Boorstin is the author of numerous scholarly and popular works in American Studies. Born in Georgia and raised in Oklahoma, Boorstin received degrees from Harvard and Yale universities and was a Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford. A member of the Massachusetts Bar, show more he has been visiting professor of American History at the Universities of Rome, Puerto Rico, Kyoto, and Geneva. He was the first incumbent of the chair of American History at the Sorbonne and Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at Cambridge. He taught at the University of Chicago for 25 years. In 1959 Columbia University awarded him its Bancroft Prize for The Americans: The Colonial Experience (1958), the first volume of his trilogy titled The Americans. In 1966 he received the Francis Parkman Award for the second volume, The Americans: The National Experience (1965), and in 1974 he received the Pulitzer Prize for the third volume, The Americans: The Democratic Experience (1973). Many of Boorstin's books have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, and various European languages. In 1969 Boorstin became director of the National Museum of History and Technology of the Smithsonian Institution. In 1973 he became senior historian at the Smithsonian. Boorstin was appointed Librarian of Congress in 1975 and served in that position with distinction for 12 years, becoming Librarian Emeritus in 1987. (Publisher Provided) show less
Image credit: USCG photo by MILNES, PETE PA1 (cgvi.uscg.mil)


Works by Daniel Boorstin

We Americans (1975) 410 copies
An American Primer (1966) 239 copies
The Colonial Wars (1964) — Editor — 128 copies
The Americans (1991) 43 copies
Exploring Spirit (1976) 17 copies
Washington (1987) 3 copies
The World Encompassed (1981) 3 copies
A Nation of Readers (1982) 2 copies
IMAX: The Discoverers [1993 film] — Screenwriter — 1 copy
L'Image 1 copy
Los descubridores IV (1901) 1 copy

Associated Works

Democracy in America (1835) — Introduction, some editions — 5,665 copies
The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events (1946) — Foreword, some editions — 3,405 copies
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire {abridged by Mueller} (1781) — Introduction — 1,194 copies
Education of a Wandering Man (1989) — Introduction, some editions — 1,087 copies
Democracy in America, Volume 1 (1835) — Introduction, some editions; Introduction, some editions — 1,029 copies
A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains (1879) — Introduction, some editions — 887 copies
Visiting Our Past: America's Historylands (1977) — Editorial Consultant — 371 copies
The Adams Chronicles: Four Generations of Greatness (1976) — Introduction — 310 copies
Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration (1991) — Contributor — 174 copies
The Response to Industrialism, 1885-1914 (1957) — Preface — 151 copies
Reading Rooms (1991) — Foreword — 130 copies
Jefferson's Books (1996) — Preface, some editions — 103 copies
Our World's Heritage (1987) 93 copies
The War of 1812 (1900) — Editor — 85 copies
The Sketchbooks of Hiroshige (2007) — Foreword, some editions — 49 copies
The golden door : artist-immigrants of America, 1876-1976 (1976) — Introduction — 24 copies
Earth '88: Changing Geographic Perspectives (1988) — Contributor — 13 copies
Books in Our Future: Prospectives and Proposals (1987) — Contributor — 6 copies


19th century (233) America (246) American (155) American history (1,059) art (164) art history (92) autobiography (82) biography (303) civilization (186) culture (112) democracy (251) essays (120) exploration (137) government (109) history (4,957) history of civilization (78) history of science (160) intellectual history (100) literature (86) memoir (129) non-fiction (1,599) own (84) philosophy (378) political philosophy (91) political science (235) political theory (117) politics (535) read (81) reference (519) religion (98) science (409) sociology (178) timeline (78) to-read (765) travel (174) unread (162) US (91) US history (187) USA (438) world history (392)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Boorstin, Daniel
Legal name
Boorstin, Daniel Joseph
Other names
Boorstin, Daniel J.
Date of death
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Place of death
Washington, D.C., USA
Cause of death
Places of residence
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Harvard University (BA|1934)
Balliol College, University of Oxford (BA|1936|BCL|1937)
Yale University (SJD|1940)
barrister (show all 8)
Librarian of Congress (1975-1987)
Boorstin, Jon (son)
Library of Congress
University of Chicago (Preston and Sterling Morton Distinguished Service Professor of History)
Swarthmore College
Authors League of America
American Studies Association (president | 1969-1970)
American Historical Association (show all 15)
National Museum of History and Technology (USA)
Organization of American Historians
International House of Japan
Colonial Society of Massachusetts
Authors Guild
Elizabethan Club
Cosmos Club
Inner Temple (1937)
Massachusetts Bar (1942)
Awards and honors
Charles Frankel Prize (1989)
Distinguished Service to the Humanities Award (Phi Beta Kappa)
National Book Award for Distinguished Contributions to American Letters (1989)
Rhodes Scholar (1934-37)
Order of the Sacred Treasure, First Class (1986)
Bowdoin Prize (1934) (show all 17)
Pulitzer Prize (1974)
American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1969)
American Philosophical Society (1981)
Bancroft Prize (1959)
Francis Parkman Prize (1966)
Golden Plate Award (1986)
Tulsa Hall of Fame (1989)
Oklahoma Book Award 91993)
Royal Historical Society
Dexter Prize (1974)
American Antiquarian Society (1969)



Daniel Boorstin and Jacques Barzun in Ancient History (April 2011)


This is a vast selection from the author books, "Americans", "Creators", "Discoverers" and "Essays". I think this is the first time I've read Boorstin, probably because as even he considers himself an 'amateur', he is not a darling of the history professors. In several ways, Boosrtin reminds me of Wilson, a genius with the language, sentence structure and clarity, but a bit of a gadfly with topics and no agenda, except, perhaps, commonsense. I came away with some fascinating insights with chapters like 'Wanted: A Philosophy of the Unexpected', 'How Orthodoxy Made the Puritans Practical', 'How Quakers Misjudged the Indians', 'The Mythologizing of George Washington', 'The Wee: Gateway to Science, 'Priority Becomes the Priize', 'Paths to Evolution'. 'The Discovery of Prehsitory', 'Castles of Eternity', 'A Wrestler with the Angel', 'Self-Liquidating Ideals', 'Extravagant Expectations', and my two favorites, 'The Fertile Verge' and 'The Age of Negative Discovery'. A totally refreshing way to examine important and unimportant issues.… (more)
SamMelfi | 1 other review | Feb 19, 2024 |
A respectable coffee table book. It is full of outstanding photographs throughout and exciting articles, too.
Huba.Library | 2 other reviews | Feb 8, 2024 |
Amazingly, I had never read Boorstin before this. Lucid writer, reminding me very much of Edmund Wilson, only in history. Boosrtin is proud of calling himsef an amature historian, instead of a professor. Clever, and often brilliant, approaches to many facets of history, such as "How the Quakers Misjudged the Indians", "The Fluidity of Professions", "Culture by the Book", "Mythologizing of George Washinton" and "Age of Negative Discovery". This reader was edited to reflect the best contents of his well-known books.… (more)
SamMelfi | 1 other review | Feb 2, 2024 |
Information packed. The discoveries of new lands, and science.
nx74defiant | 41 other reviews | Jan 3, 2024 |



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