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Summary

Reflecting on his career, Stephen E. Ambrose - one of the country's most influential historians - confronts America's failures and struggles as he explores both its moral and pragmatic triumphs. To America celebrates the men and women who invented the United States and made it exceptional.

Taking a few swings at today's political correctness, Ambrose grapples with the country's historic sins of racism, its neglect and ill treatment of Native Americans, and its tragic errors. He reflects on some of the early founders - great men such as Washington and Jefferson - who, while progressive thinkers, lived a contradiction as slaveholders. He contemplates the genius of Andrew Jackson's defeat of a vastly superior British force with a ragtag army in the War of 1812. He describes the grueling journey that Lewis and Clark made to open up the country, and the building of the railroad that produced great riches for a few barons.

Ambrose explains the misunderstood presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, records the country's assumption of world power under the leadership of Theodore Roosevelt, and extols the heroic victory of World War II. He explores women's rights and civil rights, immigration, and museum and nation-building.

Most importantly, Ambrose tells us about writing history, and about what an historian's job is all about. As he says, "The last five letters of the word 'history' tell us that it is an account of the past that is about people and what they did, which is what makes it the most fascinating of subjects." As he reflects upon American history, Ambrose shares his own personal history. To America is an instant classic for those interested in history, patriotism, and the love of writing.

©2011 Stephen E. Ambrose (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

Critic reviews

"Stephen Ambrose is that rare breed: an historian with true passion for his subjects." (Ken Burns)

What members say

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Engaging & interesting

Ambrose's reputation as a patriotic American historian is well established. In this book he explains largely through reminiscences his philosophy and personal view of history especially that of US 20th century military engagements and the men who fought in them. He is a great story teller for sure. And his warm and wise personality shines through his writing. Its strange though that he makes no allusion to the corruption of America's democratic process nor to what people refer to as the US warfare state. And this book was written only a few years ago.

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  • Jonathan Greenspon
  • 10-02-16

Wow!

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Ambrose's personal reflections. It is great to learn history from such a passionate author. I recommend this to all who wish to gain additional historical insight, while learning a little bit about the author as well.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Sergio
  • 24-04-15

Wow!

Wow! was that a chalk full of information. He applies his life into his writing, demonstrating the effects that History has had on himself and his family is a skill which he masters. What a great book! Highly Recommend it if you love history. Brilliant man.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Eden
  • 06-12-16

A book for opened eyes.

As I am a young adult in a collage class this book has opened my eyes greatly. As a part of the new generation coming forth this book has set my views wild. There has been nothing in this book I didn't find enjoyable. This book is about facts and the antidotes of a great historian not afraid of opening his eyes to new concepts. I recommend this to any young adult reader. A wonderful book to read.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-08-18

Thought provoking

Really enjoying this. Due to the nature of the book, I don't agree with everything but very perceptive and original

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  • ToddH
  • 06-08-18

I wish I'd been a historian

What a great book for those who ever studied history or for those interested in a brief overview of the different areas Mr Ambrose studied. He is a national treasure.

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  • Samuel Bell
  • 29-07-18

Good summary

I think the points made on both the negative and positive side are very clearly layout. The book helped me note other books on topics I am interested in.

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  • John McCallum
  • 18-07-18

Worth the time!

Ambrose has done us all a favor with this book. A brief overview of many of the key characters and events in American history by a man who is a no Ted expert in the field. And his personal reflections draw the reader close to the author. You may not agree with all he says but you will be stimulated to consider it.

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  • shae
  • 04-02-16

Ego

I am tired of reading special operations books where the special operator thinks they should give advice in every area of life. I want a good story, not advice on how to live life.

6 of 42 people found this review helpful