Synopses & Reviews
In a series of interviews that are as valuable as they are engrossing, today's best and brightest historians weigh in on the crucial moments in American history. Up close and personal, unscripted and passionate, here is history at its most vital—so rich both with broad insight and gossipy detail that it seems as if the figures being discussed are living acquaintances. Whether it's the First Continental Congress or the Cold War, American Heritage(r) Great Minds of History takes you there, imbuing the past with an immediacy that goes well beyond the scope of formal histories.
In the book's casual forum, the legacies of history shine through with electric urgency as Roger Mudd's highly knowledgeable questions illuminate five truly first-rate minds: Stephen Ambrose, discussing the turbulent years between World War II and the world we inhabit today, eloquently underscores the immense achievement and consequence of D-day—"the pivot point of the twentieth century"—and candidly discusses history's complex assessments of Eisenhower and Nixon.
David McCullough not only enlarges the traditional vision of the Industrial Era—that tumultuous epoch of brilliant lights and dark shadows that gave birth to the modern world—but goes beyond that to explain why he finds history intimate, compelling, and fresh: "There is no such thing as the past."
James McPherson tells how his experience with the civil rights movement of the 1960s led to his career as a student of the Civil War and Reconstruction, and his examination of the ideology that drove the Confederacy enriches our understanding of how the bitter legacy of defeat has shaped events both North and South ever since.
Richard White, discussing westward expansion, traces the evolution of how historians have viewed the American frontier, from a cherished national legend of intrepid pioneers taming an empty wilderness to a complex and often violent story of the melding of many different cultures.
Gordon Wood takes our Revolution from its enshrinement as an inevitable civic event and shows what a chancy, desperate business it really was, along the way offering crisp, telling details about the very human Founding Fathers, and reminding us that, above all, the conflict was a sweeping social revolution whose consequences continue to remake the entire world.
Probing, provocative, and always entertaining, this timely compilation captures five historians at the very top of their profession. Rich in anecdote and deeply felt assessments, American Heritage(r) Great Minds of History not only offers fresh and sometimes startling insight into our common past and our national character—it is nothing less than an informal history of the United States from the beginning of the colonies to the end of the Cold War.
American Heritage magazine, the country's leading magazine of history, has published dozens of highly acclaimed books, including American Heritage(r) History of the United States, American Heritage(r) New History of the Civil War, American Heritage(r) New History of World War II, and American Heritage(r) Encyclopedia of American History.
American Heritage is a registered trademark of Forbes Inc. Its use is pursuant to a license agreement with Forbes Inc. Great Minds of... is a trademark of Unapix Entertainment, Inc. Its use is pursuant to a license agreement.
Unapix Entertainment, Inc. and WGBH/Boston produced the television series on which this book is based. This series is sponsored by Travelers Group.
"These discussions offer something beyond the scope of the authors' published works: an intimate immediacy, a sense of the fizz and crackle of the events actually taking place." —Richard Snow, from his Introduction
The great historians of our day take you on an exhilarating tour through the crucial moments in American history . . .
"Easy reading and very informative."- Civil War News
"All the interviews are fascinating."- Tampa Tribune-Times
"Fascinating . . . Highly recommended."-Library Journal American Heritage Great Minds of History
In a series of interviews that are as valuable as they are engrossing, today's best and brightest historians weigh in on the crucial moments in American history. Whether it's the First Continental Congress or the Cold War, American Heritage Great Minds of History takes you there, imbuing the past with an immediacy that goes well beyond the scope of formal histories.
Conducted by Roger Mudd, the highly respected news commentator and anchor for the History Channel, this collection shares the fascinating insights and rare anecdotes of: Gordon Wood on the Colonial era and the American Revolution; James McPherson on the Civil War and Reconstruction; Richard White on westward expansion; David McCullough on the early twentieth century; and Stephen Ambrose on World War II and the postwar era.
American Heritage magazine, the country's leading magazine of history, has published dozens of highly acclaimed books, including American Heritage History of the United States, American Heritage New History of the Civil War, American Heritage New History of World War II, American Heritage Dictionary of American Quotations, and American Heritage Encyclopedia of American History.
About the Author
STEPHEN AMBROSE The bestselling author of Citizen Soldiers, Undaunted Courage, and D-Day illuminates the calamity and triumph of World War II, the Cold War, and the infamous Nixon years.
DAVID MCCULLOUGH The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Truman and the National Book Award for Mornings on Horseback and Path Between the Seas recalls the massively impactful dawn of the Industrial Age.
JAMES MCPHERSON The Pulitzer Prize--winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom traces the events leading up to the Civil War, the conflict itself, and the complex aftermath of Reconstruction.
RICHARD WHITE The recipient of the prestigious MacArthur fellowship and author of Middle Ground considers the far-reaching effects that westward expansion continues to exercise on us all.
GORDON WOOD The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Radicalism of the American Revolution recounts the volatile colonial era and the machinations that led to a bloody war and the remarkable birth of a nation.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Talking History, by Richard Snow, Editor of American Heritage.
Gordon Wood on the Colonial Era and Revolution.
James McPherson on the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Richard White on Westward Expansion.
David McCullough on the Industrial Era.
Stephen Ambrose on World War II and Postwar America.