The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible

Simon Winchester, Author
Simon Winchester. Harper, $29.99 (496p) ISBN 978-0-06-207960-2
Reviewed on: 07/15/2013
Release date: 10/15/2013
Hardcover - 463 pages - 978-0-00-753240-7
Hardcover - 496 pages - 978-0-00-753239-1
Hardcover - 463 pages - 978-0-00-753237-7
Ebook - 496 pages - 978-0-00-753238-4
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4676-6257-4
Paperback - 463 pages - 978-0-06-207961-9
Compact Disc - 12 pages - 978-0-06-228281-1
Paperback - 653 pages - 978-0-06-227851-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-208025-7
Book - 463 pages - 978-0-06-229247-6
Compact Disc - 978-0-06-235563-8
Ebook - 512 pages - 978-0-06-207962-6
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Winchester’s latest history profiles a huge cast of eclectic characters who helped transform America from a cluster of colonies to a unified nation through the taming of the wilderness and the expansion of the country’s infrastructure. The sweeping narrative is cleverly organized into five sections—each corresponds to one of the classical elements (wood, earth, water, fire, metal) and focuses on a different phase of American exploration or development. Winchester (The Alice Behind Wonderland) masterfully evokes the excitement of the nation’s early days—when opportunity and possibility were manifest in uncharted mountains and new technologies—while bringing each of his subjects to life. Some, like Lewis and Clark, are familiar, while others—like the many topographers who set down the Mexican and Canadian boundaries—are more obscure, but no less interesting. Winchester, a Brit who recently became an American citizen, also incorporates personal travel anecdotes to comment on pivotal locations. This bold decision is the key to the book’s greatest achievement: conveying the large-scale narrative of unification via the small-scale experience of the individual—the creation of a people by the agglomeration of persons. Illus. and maps. (Oct.)
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