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11 Reviews
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Kindle edition
I have to admit to usually reserving my kindle for fiction as I prefer my non-fiction in book form, especially those with maps. Having seen a copy of this book in a bookshop I was put off buying it because the maps and plates are on the whole poorly reproduced copies and you need a magnifying glass to glean any information from them. Well hurrah then for the kindle, or...
Published 16 months ago by Big Jim

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stuff we should know
Like the curate's egg "Good in parts". Winchester follows the footsteps of Raban and Bryson but the former's prose is better and the latter writes with more charm and humour.

That said this book should be read. I found certain sections quite moving not least bringing electricity to farmers for the first time under the New Deal.
Published 13 months ago by Patrick Hannay


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Kindle edition, 11 Jan. 2014
By 
Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Men Who United the States: The Amazing Stories of the Explorers, Inventors and Mavericks Who Made America (Kindle Edition)
I have to admit to usually reserving my kindle for fiction as I prefer my non-fiction in book form, especially those with maps. Having seen a copy of this book in a bookshop I was put off buying it because the maps and plates are on the whole poorly reproduced copies and you need a magnifying glass to glean any information from them. Well hurrah then for the kindle, or more pertinently the Kindle app on the iPad, as you can use the zoom function to get a bit more from the illustrations. Having said that they are still not perfect but this is offset by the author's usual casual grace, eye for the telling detail and ability to pick a relevant quote or two from and about the protagonists. Talking of whom, there are quite a few individuals whose stories are told here so if you require more in depth detail about anyone who takes your fancy there is an extensive bibliography that will assist with this. Yes this is of necessity no more than an introduction to those who explored and subsequently "opened up" the country, and these are of course predominantly of European extraction. Native Americans are given due consideration and race relations and slavery are not ignored but the reality is that this is the story of how the Europeans fared and should be read as such. It is not a commentary on what was "right" or "wrong" about such exploits, more a tale of what happened given the social mores of the day. Other books, many mentioned in the bibliography, provide that sort of information. i enjoyed this book though and perhaps the best thing about it is that I am now encouraged to read about some of the more contentious issues that are only touched upon here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insights and understanding, 20 Jan. 2014
By 
Highmark Ltd "Bigdunc." (Yorks UK) - See all my reviews
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A really well told series of accounts showing how the United States
grew out of its historical past, and using major themes such as metal, water
to tell the story. Full of details linking inventors, politicians and frontiersmen
to provide some coherence to the way the west was won, but well away from the conventional cowboys and Indians.

This is a must for anyone who wants to know what made the world's most powerful country-
and gives a fresh perspective on the spanning of the giant continent.
This is not a text book in any way, and yet it provides serious scholarship alongside
some enjoyable anecdotal insights into early America.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stuff we should know, 6 April 2014
By 
Patrick Hannay (Bangkok) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Men Who United the States: The Amazing Stories of the Explorers, Inventors and Mavericks Who Made America (Kindle Edition)
Like the curate's egg "Good in parts". Winchester follows the footsteps of Raban and Bryson but the former's prose is better and the latter writes with more charm and humour.

That said this book should be read. I found certain sections quite moving not least bringing electricity to farmers for the first time under the New Deal.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 21 July 2014
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R. Ripper - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Men Who United the States: The Amazing Stories of the Explorers, Inventors and Mavericks Who Made America (Kindle Edition)
reveals some little-known contributors to the rise of the USA.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Read it, 28 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: The Men Who United the States: The Amazing Stories of the Explorers, Inventors and Mavericks Who Made America (Kindle Edition)
Typical Simon Winchester - well researched ad written
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 April 2015
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Excellent book. On time, good condition.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great topics but poorly written, 25 July 2014
I was draw to this book because the subject matter covers a lot of the lesser known history of the US, and also occurred in many of the places I have had the good fortune to visit.

Unfortunately the book was spoiled for me by the author’s cliché-ridden style, bloated text and sloppy editing. Power stations always ‘hum quietly’ coincidences are always ‘tidy’. A foul-looking brew is made of ‘goodness knows what’ – within a few sentences ingredients are listed. Another example is in what could have been a well-told tale of the first-ever US coast to coast flight by Cal Rogers. On page 323 the ‘entire engine blew up in his face’. 2 pages later Rogers is killed when he crashes and the engine (mounted BEHIND him) breaks his neck.

Simon Winchester swings between Bill Bryson type folksy humour (and as commented elsewhere not as successfully), and showing off his own learned vocabulary – a ‘vatic revelation’ anyone? (Aren’t all revelations not prophetic??)

It is a real pity that these failings detract from what could have been a really enjoyable read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 23 Feb. 2015
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Good book
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5.0 out of 5 stars So interesting, 15 Aug. 2014
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Great
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift, 9 Mar. 2014
By 
Debesh (Gloucestershire, UK) - See all my reviews
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Purchased as a gift. We'll received and person I bought it for very happy with the gift. Thoroughly recommended as a gift.
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