A two volume history text, published in 1959, an expansion of an earlier single volume work ( The United States: The History of a Republic
), by Richard Hofstadter
of Columbia University
(and author of The Paranoid Style in American Politics
), William Miller, author of A New History of the United States
, and Daniel Aaron of Smith College
The first volumne ends in 1865, where the second resumes the story. And what a story! History, at its best, is a story. A story that gives some idea of the complexity of all the things that are happening, and interacting. This, this work does.
Being, as I was, in San Francisco, in 1967, all the tumultuous events of the 60's crashing around me, I gorged on this thorough back-story. And we were aware of history being made all around us!
History is composed of cultural, political, technical, literary, scientific, artistic, and many other threads. I formed the view that I was most interested in history until war, which I wanted to skip, and resume after peace broke out, when weaving the tapestry begins again. I have somewhat reformed this view.
From the Preface to the first edition:
"Each Generation, as it approaches maturity, rewrites the history of the past. Its vantage point has become different from that of earlier generations; its perspective is altered by its own experience; its hopes have changed shape because of frustrations in some areas, fulfillment in others."
From the Preface to the second edition:
"We emphasized...that our work is history for the present generation. For this generation, obviously, the future of the United States is more important than its past; but certainly the American future can emerge from nowhere but the American past. America today is but the culmination of what our forefathers were and of what they did--not only in America, but in the far older societies of Europe, Africa, and Asia, from which most of us are descended. To understand our heritage is to improve our knowledge of ourselves. And to know ourselves is indispensable if we are to act with realistic insight in making our future."