Kenneth C. Davis, author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller Don't Know Much About History, presents a collection of extraordinary stories, each detailing an overlooked episode that shaped the nation's destiny and character. Davis's dramatic narratives set the record straight, busting myths and bringing to light little-known but fascinating facts from a time when the nation's fate hung in the balance.
Spanning a period from the Spanish arrival in America to George Washington's inauguration in 1789, America's Hidden History details these episodes, among others:
The story of the first real Pilgrims in America, who were wine-making French Huguenots, not dour English SeparatistsThe coming-of-age story of Queen Isabella, who suggested that Columbus pack the moving mess hall of pigs that may have spread disease to many Native AmericansThe long, bloody relationship between the Pilgrims and Indians that runs counter to the idyllic scene of the Thanksgiving feastThe little-known story of George Washington as a headstrong young soldier who committed a war crime, signed a confession, and started a war!
Full of color, intrigue, and human interest, America's Hidden History is an iconoclastic look at America's past, connecting some of the dots between history and today's headlines, proving why Davis is truly America's Teacher.
Davis (bestselling Don't Know Much About History and other books in his Don't Know Much... series) provides insight into American history by telling these "tales the textbooks left out." Christopher Columbus serves as a springboard into the "extraordinary odyssey'' of castaway Cabeza de Vaca, who was stranded during a 1527 expedition and spent eight years wandering from Florida to the Pacific. Davis asks whether the 22-year-old George Washington was a "war criminal" for having his Virginia militiamen launch a surprise attack on a French diplomatic party when England and France were at peace, setting in motion the French and Indian War. The half-dozen historical narratives also offer different perspectives on horrific Indian attacks on New Englanders during the 1690s; the 1775 battles of Lexington and Concord; and "idealistic patriot" Benedict Arnold. While some of these episodes are no longer as "hidden" as Davis claims, he skillfully illuminates the role of human foibles in historic events. With these "fulcrum moments" ending in 1789, Davis has enough leverage for another successful series.
I enjoyed this book. It provides several snippets from American history, from Columbus to the Constitutional Convention. I'd like to read more...it ends too fast.