The Complete Idiot's Guide to American History, 5th Edition

The Complete Idiot's Guide to American History, 5th Edition

by Alan Axelrod Ph.D.


Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, January 23
19 New & Used Starting at $3.03


The compact history of a giant country.

American history is one of those subjects that students frequently labor over and can seem like a random collection of names, dates, and events. Understood as a collective biography and free of the cheerleading found in many text books, the fully updated fifth edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide(r) to American History explains the changing tides in America's most pivotal periods.

• From a seasoned author and researcher
• The most current and comprehensive series title on American history
• Heightened interest right now in the question of how America got where we are-a question that can only be answered by an understanding of history

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781592578696
Publisher: DK
Publication date: 06/02/2009
Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
Edition description: Original
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 230,366
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Alan Axelrod is a renowned historian and business writer. He was the co author of the New York Times bestseller What Every American Should Know About American History as well as the BusinessWeek bestsellers Patton on Leadership and Elizabeth I, CEO. He has written extensively on the Civil War.

Table of Contents

Part 1The New World1
1The First People (50,000 B.C.E.-C.E. 1500s)3
People of the Land Bridge3
45,000 Years of American History (Abridged Version)4
South of the Border5
Beyond the Aztec Horizon7
Atlantic Presence8
Leif the Lucky8
2West to East (1451-1507)11
It's a Round, Round World11
The Weaver's Boy12
First Blood14
Carving Up15
Three More Voyages15
Why We're Not Called Columbia16
3New Blood for Old Spain (1400-1600s)17
The Sword of the Conquistador18
The First American Revolutions22
From Black Legend to Black Robes23
4England's Errand in the Wilderness (1497-1608)25
O, Brave New World25
A Colony Vanishes, Another Appears29
5A Rock and a Hard Place (1608-1733)33
Promised Land34
Massachusetts Bay36
Rhode Island: Haven for the Heterodox37
Maryland: Catholics Welcome38
Pennsylvania: Quaker Colony38
Georgia: Utopia, Prison, and Profit Center39
6Colonial Contenders (1608-1680s)43
Champlain Sails In43
The Sun King Beams45
A Small Investment46
Sweden in the Delaware VAlley49
New Netherland Becomes New York49
7Fires in the Wilderness (1636-1748)51
New England Bleeds51
The French and Indians Wars54
8Global War in the Backwoods (1749-1763)59
The French and Indian War60
Seven Years' Bad Luck63
Rebellion of a Chief65
Part 2The World Turned Upside Down67
9Invitation to a Tea Party (1763-1775)69
King George Draws a Line70
Taxation Without Representation71
Bloody Boston73
Tearing Apart and Coming Together73
The Shot Heard 'Round the World75
Washington Signs On76
A Misnamed Battle Near Bunker Hill77
The Olive Branch Spurned, a Declaration Written77
10Fanning the Flames of Liberty (1776-1783)79
A Bad Bet79
The British Lion Roars81
Re-Crossing the Delaware81
Saratoga Sunrise82
Trouble in the City of Brotherly Love83
Vive la France!83
A Hard Forge83
White War, Red Blood84
More Action in the South84
The Triumph at Yorktown85
Part 3Building the House89
11From Many, One (1787-1797)91
Bound by a Rope of Sand92
Northwest Ordinance92
We the People93
Constitutional Convention94
Father of His Country96
Glorious Afterthought: The Bill of Rights98
Hamilton Gets the Credit99
12Growing Pains (1798-1812)101
Foreign Affairs102
The Age of Jefferson104
Tecumseh Raises the Hatchet107
131812: A War for What? (1812-1814)109
The War Hawks Roost109
Three-Pronged Flop110
The West in Peril111
British Stranglehold112
"We Have Met the Enemy, and They Are Ours"112
O, Say Can You See113
Deliverance on Lake Champlain114
An American Hero Is Born115
14Fanfare for the Common Man (1814-1836)117
Good Feelings117
Bad Feelings120
The Age of Jackson122
15Trails of Tears (1817-1842)125
Liberty and Union, Now and Forever126
The Seminoles Say No127
The Defiance of Black Hawk128
Indian Removal129
Part 4The House Divided135
16A Nation in Chains (1724-1857)137
Against the American Grain137
The Tortured Course of Compromise140
The Dred Scott Disaster143
17Westward the Course (1834-1846)145
The Plow and the Reaper145
Martyrdom in Texas147
Rolling West148
"What Hath God Wrought?"149
18Destiny Manifested (1846-1860)151
Halls of Montezuma152
Of God and Gold153
19A Strange Flag over Sumter (1859-1862)159
John Brown's Body160
Bleak Transition161
April 12, 1861, 4:30 A.M.162
From Bull Run to Antietam162
Emancipation Proclaimed--More or Less167
20Bloody Road to Appomattox and Beyond (1863-1876)169
Four Score and Seven170
Vicksburg and Chattanooga172
To Richmond173
The March to the Sea174
Mr. McLean's House175
With Malice Toward Some176
Enter "His Fraudulency"178
Part 5Rebuilding the House179
21Sea to Shining Sea (1862-1878)181
Home Sweet Home181
Ruts and Rails183
22The Warpath (1862-1891)189
Blue, Gray--and Red189
Massacre in Minnesota192
War for the Bozeman Trail192
Hancock's War and Sheridan's Campaign193
Struggle for the Black Hills194
"I Will Fight No More Forever"195
After Geronimo196
Wounded Knee Ending197
23Exploitation and Enterprise (1869-1908)199
An Empire of Cows199
Law and Disorder200
Cornering the Market202
An Age of Invention204
24Octopus and Jungle (1877-1906)209
The Golden Door209
The Knights of Labor211
Boss Tyranny213
Chicago Meat214
Part 6World Power219
25Over There (1898-1918)221
Selling the News222
He Kept Us Out of War224
26Booze, Boom, Bust (1918-1929)231
Wilson's Dream232
A Generation Lost and Found234
America Goes Dry237
Countdown to Black Tuesday238
27A New Deal and a New War (1930-1941)241
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?242
Tyranny Abroad242
The Epoch of FDR243
Street Wars245
28Saving the World (1941-1945)249
"I Shall Return"250
Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree251
The Dark Genius of Erwin Rommel251
Coral Sea and Midway252
Island Hopping252
On Mediterranean Shores253
Retaking Europe255
Fat Man and Little Boy257
Part 7Superpower259
29War Served Cold--and Hot (1944-1954)261
Winning the Peace261
Curtain of Iron264
"Police Action" in Korea267
30From the Back of the Bus to the Great Society (1947-1968)271
Executive Order 9981272
The Dream Deferred272
Or Does It Explode?275
Sputnik and the New Frontier276
31Nam (1946-1975)281
American "Advisors"283
Flaming Monks and the Fall of a "Friend"283
Rolling Thunder283
"Escalation" and "Vietnamization"284
Hearts and Minds285
The Light at the End of the Tunnel286
Nixon's War287
Peace with Honor290
Part 8Identity Crisis291
32Of Love, the Moon, and Dirty Tricks (1968-1974)293
Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out293
The Eagle Has Landed296
Pentagon Papers296
SALT, China, and the Middle East297
33Women Rise, the Nation Drifts, Reagan Rallies (1963-1980)303
A Woman's Place303
The Japanese Miracle307
Scary Cities, Crumbling Bridges308
China Syndrome309
The Fanatics310
The Great Communicator311
Part 9A New World Order?313
34A New Economy, a Plague, a Fallen Wall, and a Desert in Flames (1980-1991)315
The Trickle-Down Solution316
"Gay Plague" and a Blind Eye319
"Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!"319
Ollie, Iran, and the Contras322
Desert Shield and Desert Storm323
35Democracy (1991-1999)325
The Economy, Stupid325
The New Right326
The Age of Rage328
And It's Still the Economy332
We Fight for Peace333
36E Pluribus Unum: Y2K (1991-)337
American Trials337
Of Wall Street Riches and the Great American Smokeout341
From Leave It to Beaver to the Internet347
AThe Presidents353
BFurther Reading357

What People are Saying About This

Speaker Wright

Alan Axelrod has produced here a marvelous telling of the fascinating story of America—of all those wondrous folks who preceded us on this piece of earth, to our contemporaries of this present day.

Jim Wright

Alan Axelrod has produced here a marvelous telling of the fascinating story of America—of all those wondrous folks who preceded us on this piece of earth, to our contemporaries of this present day.
—(Speaker Jim Wright)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Complete Idiot's Guide to American History, 5th Edition 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
MWSchwartz More than 1 year ago
Beginning with the first humanoids to walk the western hemisphere, Mr. Axelrod takes the reader on a historical journey of America from pre-Columbus native Americans and the Spanish Conquistadors all the way to the Cold War and the '08 election of Barack Obama in an engaging manner that will keep you turning the pages. His writing style is thankfully professional but stimulating, perhaps due to the author's recognition of the fact that those who seek abridged historical tomes are not, in fact, the intellectually deprived requiring intensive rudimentary tutoring but rather are conscientious individuals responsibly seeking broader education in their own manner. This book was written with this demographic in mind. If you find yourself having difficulty recalling key milestones in our country's history such as the Missouri Compromise, the League of Nations, the Treaty of Versailles, the oft-vague Spanish-American or Tripolitan Wars, Wounded Knee, the Marshall Plan, the Three-fifths Compromise, the New Deal and the Truman Doctrine, this brief but certainly ample account will commend itself to you satisfactorily. My only reservation about the book was the curious exclusion of a reproduction of the country's most important documents, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, pertinent and indeed monumental and bold affirmations of basic human rights, conceived by a fledgling democracy and a revolutionary ideology, undeniably accredited with changing the whole world. Otherwise I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.
Dr_Wilson_Trivino More than 1 year ago
A needed reference for any student of American History The Complete Idiot's Guide to American History, 5th Edition by Alan Axelrod is a condensed overview of the key components of our nation's history. Delving back to the time that this land was run over by nature and indigenous people in 43000 B.C.E and ending up to the 2008 Presidential Election. The easy to read format brings out gems in what they cite as "American echos" and highlight helpful "vital statistics" that will make any reader a valuable player in trivia. Even though learning about the past was a fascinating journey, I particularly enjoyed recapping the parts of history in which I lived since the 1970s and compared notes to my memories and now what is best captured in the annals of history. As the summer ends and schools start up across country, this is a good addition to the required text to learn about our nations fundamentals.