Hidden History: Exploring Our Secret Past

Daniel J. Boorstin, Author, Ruth F. Boorstin, Editor HarperCollins Publishers $19.95 (332p) ISBN 978-0-06-039071-6
In his 70s, Boorstin recently retired as Librarian of Congress, a position that he had held since 1975 that capped his career as one of America's eminent historians. In this collection of essays the author of The Discovers and the trilogy The Americans writes with the breadth and vitality that mark all his books. His title has deliberate meaning: Boorstin implies the historian's need to probe socio-political patterns from philosophical and uncliched angles. Here he recaptures his ""historical adventures,'' ranging from a study of the historian's discipline (his insight into Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire as an ``intimate'' work is rich and subtle) through a look at America as a ``By-Product Nation'' not greatly driven by theories, but rather formed by action under stress (he sees FDR's four-term presidency as an example). And finally, a series of segments from his writingspresent his views of America's ``unsung'' political experiments. Boorstin's closing emphasis on our unacknowledged dominance by the ``kingdom of the Machine'' leads readers to hope for his further expansion of this theme. (October 21)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
Paperback - 332 pages - 978-0-679-72223-6
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