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The Americans: The Colonial Experience by…

The Americans: The Colonial Experience (1958)

by Daniel J. Boorstin

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863115,684 (3.89)10
  1. 00
    The Discoverers: A History of Man's Search to Know His World and Himself by Daniel J. Boorstin (John_Vaughan)
  2. 00
    The Americans : The democratic experience by Daniel J. Boorstin (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: Daniel Boorstin is an eminently readable author and historian; his trilogy The Americans offers a full outline of Colonial America.

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Daniel Boorstin gave us a great history book when he wrote 'The Americans'. In it he tells of the major initial settlements in the American colonies, 'the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay', 'the Quakers of Pennsylvania', 'the Settlers of Georgia', and 'the Virginians'. He explains how their values varied from one another which influenced how their lives differed as much as did the climate and geography in which they lived. He tells of the first institutions of learning, as well as about the printed word in the colonies (books, newspapers, and pamphlets). Boorstin also explains how the colonists often had to be well rounded because they had to be able to do so much for themselves. For instance, there was a lack of lawyers and law books in the early colonies, so men had to learn law on their own if they wanted to succeed. I found it interesting that Thomas Jefferson wanted to ensure that his daughter got a well rounded education, which was uncommon for the era. He felt that the time called for his daughter to be educated not just in the arts and literature, but also in science because she would need the skills to be able to run a family, household, and estate. Boorstin also gives great insight into the world of medicine and science during the colonial era, as well as various viewpoints on warfare. ( )
1 vote gcamp | Feb 19, 2011 |
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"It may be said, That in a Sort,/ They began the World a New." - Jared Eliot
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0394705130, Paperback)

The first book in a trilogy--and in many respects the best of the bunch--The Colonial Experience is an essential interpretation of how the habits of people who lived more than two centuries ago shaped the lives of modern Americans. Boorstin shows how an undiscovered continent shattered long-standing traditions and utopian fantasies with the hard demands of everyday life far from the sophisticated centers of European civilization: "Old categories were shaken up, and new situations revealed unsuspected uses for old knowledge," writes Boorstin. He starts with a series of penetrating essays on the Puritans of Massachusetts, the Quakers of Pennsylvania, the philanthropists of Georgia, and the planters of Virginia, then tackles a set of diffuse topics that range from astronomy to language to medicine in fascinating vignettes.

The Colonial Experience is must reading for anybody interested in the development of the American character. --John J. Miller

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:12 -0400)

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Governor William Bradford, an eyewitness, reported the landing of the Mayflower passengers on the American shore in mid-November 1620. Never had a Promised Land looked more unpromising. But within a century and a half -- even before the American Revolution -- this forbidding scene had become one of the more "civill" parts of the world. The large outlines of a new civilization had been drawn. How did it happen?… (more)

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