Customer Review

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A detailed history slightly 'academic' but well written, 7 Sept. 2009
This review is from: The Penguin History of the United States of America (Paperback)
I did not read History at University and had embarassingly little knowledge of American history. I found this work useful and engaging, and a good background to have when reading American literature and appreciating other forms of American culture.

The writing is clear. Events are well summarised, characters presented with subtlety and the significance of social change is discussed in detail. The author raises pertinant questions but does not let the commentary reach an exhausting level of detail. I feel not only that I have learnt many facts but also gained some actual insight into American History.

The work is slightly on the `academic' side but I was very frustrated that the publishers did not think it useful to include any maps nor even a glossary of terms or a good annotated bibliography. Shame on them.

Another reservation is the handling of the war periods: I would have liked a clearer depiction of the timelines and the decisive moments of the various conflicts.

To summarise: this was a good read and a useful basis on which to build. There are not that many histories of the USA .... this book only goes as far as R. Regan and I now need to find a history of 'contemporary' USA to complete the picture.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Dec 2009 00:30:39 GMT
B. Khan says:
Agree wholeheartedly about the lack of visual substance and timelines. The chapters are so long and each one covers so many key events in detail that I struggled to try and get a brief over-view about anything without reading at length from the relevant section of the book. For these reasons I wouldn't classify this as a reference text. Still hugely engrossing.
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