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Challenging conventional history, Amity Shlaes offers a striking reinterpretation of the Great Depression that devastated America in the early part of the twentieth century. She shows how both Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt failed to understand the prosperity of the 1920s and heaped massive burdens on the country that more than offset the benefit of New Deal programs. From 1929 to 1940, federal intervention helped to make the Depression great by forgetting the men and women who sought to help themselves.
In this illuminating work of history, Shlaes follows the struggles of those now forgotten people, from a family of butchers in Brooklyn who dealt a stunning blow to the New Deal, to Bill W., who founded Alcoholics Anonymous, and Father Divine, a black cult leader. She takes a fresh look at the great scapegoats of the period, from Andrew Mellon to Sam Insull of Chicago. Finally, she traces the mounting agony of the New Dealers themselves. Authoritative, original, and utterly engrossing, The Forgotten Man reveals how those dark years shaped both current political challenges and the strong national character that helps Americans to confront them.
Published: 2 Jul 2009
In 1775, war broke out between the British and the American colonists. By 1776 the colonists had declared themselves independent and in 1783, following a long and bloody conflict, Britain was forced to recognise the independence of the United States.The Founding Fathers - those men who signed the Declaration of Independence against Britain - may have led the charge, but the energy to raise a revolt emerged from all classes and races of American society.
This remarkable new book not only tells the story of the Revolutionary war, but plunges us into the swirl of ideology, grievance, outrage and hope that animated the Revolutionary decades. It tells of the efforts of a wide variety of men and women who stepped forward amidst a discouraging, debilitating, but ultimately successful war to set a new course for the new country- one free of entrenched class hostilities, religious bigotry and racism.
The people so vividly portrayed in this book did not all agree or succeed, but during the exhilarating and messy years of the country's birth, they laid down ideas that have become a crucial and fundamental part of America's inheritance.
Published: 7 Jun 2007
In this remarkably powerful book, James Bradley takes as his starting point one of the most famous photographs of all time. In February 1945, American Marines plunged into the surf at Iwo Jima and into a hail of machine-gun and mortar fire from 22,000 Japanese. After climbing through a hellish landscape and on to the island's highest peak, six men were photographed raising the stars and stripes. One of those soldiers was the author's father, John Bradley. He never spoke to his family about the photograph or about the war, but after his death in 1994, they discovered closed boxes of letters and photos which James Bradley draws on to retrace the lives of his father and his five companions.
Following these men's paths to Iwo Jima, Bradley has written a classic story of the heroic battle for the Pacific's most crucial island - an island riddled with sixteen miles of tunnels and defended by Japanese soldiers determined to fight to the death. In the thirty-six days of fighting, almost fifty-thousand men lost their lives.
Above all a human - and personal - story, few books have captured so brilliantly or so movingly the complexity of war and its aftermath and the true meaning of heroism.
Dick Cheney is the most powerful yet most unpopular vice president in American history. He has thrived alongside a president who, from day one, had little interest in policy and limited experience in the ways of Washington. Yet Cheney's relentless rise to prominence over three decades has happened almost by stealth. Now veteran reporters Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein reveal the disturbing truth about the man who has successfully co-opted executive control over the U.S. government, serving as the de facto 'shadow president' of the most dominant White House in a generation.
Cheney has always been an astute politician. He survived the collapse of the Nixon presidency, finding a position of power in the administration of Gerald Ford. He was then elected to the House of Representatives and later served in the cabinet of the first Bush presidency. But when he became George W. Bush's running mate, Cheney reached a new level of influence. From the engineering of his own selection as vice president to his support of policies allowing torture as a permissible weapon in the 'war on terror', Cheney has consistently steered America to the right.
With unique access to numerous first-hand sources, Vice provides an unprecedented expose of Cheney's career. Its startling revelations concern the war in Iraq, his relationship with the CIA and with big business, his involvement with Enron, his attitude towards Iran and his ruthless manoeuvering which today effectively puts him in charge of American policy at home and abroad. In the tradition of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward's All the President's Men, this powerful work of investigative journalism takes us behind the scenes in Washington, into hitherto secret meetings and deep into the heart of political decision-making. Utterly gripping, Vice chronicles and exposes the hijacking of the American presidency and illustrates the arrogance of power as never before.
Published: 3 Feb 2005
During its clandestine construction in Liverpool, it was known as 'Number 290'. When it was finally unleashed as the CSS Alabama, the Confederate warship triggered the last great military campaign of the Civil War; a maritime adventure unparalled in history; an infamous example of British political treachery; and the largest ever retribution tribunal: $15,500 in gold paid by Britain to the United States.
Brought to life by naval historian James Tertius deKay, The Rebel Raiders is an amazing, little-known piece of history that is at once an important work of Civil War scholarship and a suspenseful tale of military strategy, international espionage, and a legal crisis, the outcome of which still affects the world today.
Published: 4 Mar 2004
In all the sagas of human migration, none can top the drama of the journey by mid-Western farmers to Oregon and California in the years 1840-49. Sandwiched between the era of the fur trappers and the post-1849 gold fever, this account of the pioneering years in the overland trails highlights and explains a unique experience both in American and world history.
Seeking the promised land, these travellers trekked two thousand miles by covered wagon from Missouri to their destination on the Pacific. Using mountain men as guides, they went into the unknown, braving dangers from hunger, thirst, disease, drowning and Indians. The early overlanders got through only after Herculean efforts, but later in the decade complacency set in, and the result was disaster, especially in the case of the Donner party, marooned in the snows and reduced to cannibalism.
With My Face to the Enemy is a provocative and wide-ranging anthology of essays on the Civil War - America's defining struggle and the first modern war in history.
In thirty-five illuminating essays it examines the war from the perspectives critical to its outcome - the larger-than-life personalities of the important players from Lincoln to Lee, and the national strategies and key battle tactics that shaped the four-year-long crisis. Contributors include the leading lights of Civil War scholarship: James M. McPherson, Stephen W. Sears, Gary W. Gallagher, David Herbert Donald and twenty others.
James M. McPherson's essays ponder three diverse, yet fascinating subjects: Abraham Lincoln's use of language and its role in his victory; Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee's failed Southern strategies; and Ulysses S. Grant's memoirs as a reflection of his superlative generalship. Stephen W. Sears, in four essays, describes the daring flanking manoeuvres of Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorville, and presents the last word on Lee's infamous 'lost order', among other topics.
Other highlights include David Herbert Donald on Lincoln's early command; Gary W. Gallagher on Lee's record before his ascension as a Southern icon; John Bowers on Chickamauga; Noah Andre Trudeau on the battle of the Wilderness; Thomas Fleming on West Point, and much more.
Published: 2 Jan 2003
Published: 1 Aug 2002
In 1815 Britain's crack troops, fresh from the victories against Napoleon, were stunningly defeated near New Orleans by a ragtag army of citizen-soldiers under the commander they dubbed 'Old Hickory', Andrew Jackson. It was this battle that defined the United States as a military power to be reckoned with and an independent democracy here to stay.
A happenstance coalition of militiamen, regulars, untrained frontiersmen, free blacks, pirates, Indians and townspeople - marching to 'Yankee Doodle' and 'La Marseillaise' - inhabit The Battle of New Orleans in a rich array of colourful scenes. Swashbuckling Jean Lafitte and his privateers. The proud, reckless British General Pakenham and his miserable men ferried across a Louisiana lake in a Gulf storm. The agile Choctaw and Tennessee 'dirty shirt' sharpshooters who made a sport of picking off redcoat sentries by night. And Jackson himself - tall, gaunt, shrewd, by turns gentle and furious, declaring 'I will smash them, so help me God!'
Robert Remini's vivid evocation of this glorious, improbable victory is more than a masterful military history. It proves that only after the Battle of new Orleans could Americans say with confidence that they were Americans, not subjects of a foreign power. It was the triumph that catapulted a once-poor, uneducated orphan boy into the White House and forged a collection of ex-colonies and dissenters into a nation.
In this classic text, Jane Jacobs set out to produce an attack on current city planning and rebuilding and to introduce new principles by which these should be governed. The result is one of the most stimulating books on cities ever written.
Throughout the post-war period, planners temperamentally unsympathetic to cities have been let loose on our urban environment. Inspired by the ideals of the Garden City or Le Corbusier's Radiant City, they have dreamt up ambitious projects based on self-contained neighbourhoods, super-blocks, rigid 'scientific' plans and endless acres of grass. Yet they seldom stop to look at what actually works on the ground. The real vitality of cities, argues Jacobs, lies in their diversity, architectural variety, teeming street life and human scale. It is only when we appreciate such fundamental realities that we can hope to create cities that are safe, interesting and economically viable, as well as places that people want to live in.
Outspoken, professional and fearless, Lt. Col. John Paul Vann went to Vietnam in 1962, full of confidence in America's might and right to prevail. He was soon appalled by the South Vietnamese troops' unwillingness to fight, by their random slaughter of civilians and by the arrogance and corruption of the US military. He flouted his supervisors and leaked his sharply pessimistic - and, as it turned out, accurate - assessments to the US press corps in Saigon. Among them was Sheehan, who became fascinated by the angry Vann, befriended him and followed his tragic and reckless career.
Sixteen years in the making, A Bright Shining Lie is an eloquent and disturbing portrait of a man who in many ways personified the US war effort in Vietnam, of a solider cast in the heroic mould, an American Lawrence of Arabia. Blunt, idealistic, patronising to the Vietnamese, Vann was haunted by a shameful secret - the fact that he was the illegitimate son of a 'white trash' prostitute. Gambling away his career, Vann left the army that he loved and returned to Vietnam as a civilian in the pacification programme. He rose to become the first American civilian to wield a general's command in war. When he was killed in 1972, he was mourned at Arlington cemetery by leading political figures of the day. Sheehan recounts his astonishing story in this intimate and intense meditation on a conflict that scarred the conscience of a nation.
At the end, in the summer of 1886, they numbered thirty-four men, women, and children under the leadership of Geronimo. This small group of Chiricahua Apaches became the last band of free Indians to wage war against the United States Government. The 'renegades', as white men called them, were mercilessly pursued by five thousand American troops (one quarter of the US Army) and by three thousand Mexican soldiers. For more than five months Geronimo's band ran the soldiers ragged. The combined military might of two great mations succeeded in capturing not a single Chiricagua, not even a child.' From the Preface.
Of the many tales of conflict and warfare between the US Government and the Indian tribes, perhaps none is more dramatic or revealing than the story of the Apache wars. Those wars were the final episode of the US Government's subjugation of the indigenous peoples; the surrender of Geronimo in 1886 effectively ended the Indian wars.
Once They Moved Like the Wind is the epic story of the Apache campagin, told with sympathy and understanding. Using historical archives and contemporary accounts, David Roberts has writeen an original, stirring account of the last years of the free Apaches.
Published: 23 Apr 1998
Published: 3 Oct 1996