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Eyewitness to America: 500 Years of American History in the Words of Those Who Saw It Happen
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Eyewitness to America: 500 Years of American History in the Words of Those Who Saw It Happen

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  81 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Thomas Jefferson complains about haggling over the Declaration of Independence ... Jack London guides us through the rubble of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake ... Langston Hughes visits the Scottsboro Boys on death row ... Andy Warhol paints the scene at Studio 54 ... John Seabrook receives e-mail from Bill Gates. Three hundred eyewitnesses -- some famous, some anonymous ...more
Paperback, 720 pages
Published July 28th 1998 by Vintage (first published 1997)
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Oct 13, 2011 Kevin rated it really liked it
David Colbert had a disarmingly simple idea: take all the major events of American history, find someone who was there for each one, and publish their descriptions. Taking passages from diaries, private letters, and memoirs, Colbert has assembled the words of men and women who witnessed some of the most decisive and memorable moments in the history of the United States. The book is arranged chronologically from the earliest encounters of Columbus with the Native Peoples of the Americas, to one o ...more
Jul 02, 2008 Leah rated it really liked it
[Review written by my younger self]
Edited by David Colbert, Eyewitness to America is a comprehensive compilation of crucial moments and personalities in 500 years of American history, as told by the people who had first-hand experiences. The various primary sources used here range from John Smith's account of Jamestown and Pocahontas, to President Truman's perspective on his firing of MacArthur. There is also a great coverage of popular history, including first-hand encounters with Elvis, Tom W
Apr 08, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've ever read about American history. History, as it is generally taught, typically takes shape through the eyes of an author who is researching numerous sources and filtering information into a "lowest common denominator" concoction. This collection of first-hand accounts of American history provides really fascinating perspective on the times and events that we consider turning points in history. To them, it was just life.
Jul 08, 2008 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in American life over the last 200+ years
Recommended to Kimberly by: A history teacher
This book was recommended to me by a high school history teacher (not mine! that was many years ago...) based on a casual comment I made about wishing I knew more about a broader section of American History. It is a collection of tasty historical vignettes, written from many different perspectives. It is sort of like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get, but the experience of discovering what's inside each piece is worth it. Each of the short sections is about a specific ...more
Jan 13, 2008 Graceann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History Lovers
Shelves: history
What I loved about this particular book is that there isn't a historian in sight - nobody is writing it from the subjective slant of 50 (or 500) years' time - the accounts presented are from the diaries, letters and articles written by the people who actually took part in the events - a person on Columbus' crew, John Adams, the seconds at the Burr/Hamilton duel, etc. Spanning the time from Columbus through Bill Gates and email, this is a sprawling volume, split into short essays that are easy to ...more
Steve Lane
Feb 24, 2012 Steve Lane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eyewwitness accounts of some of the most historical moments in the birth and development of the United States. The various reports may be one to three pages so you can read as many or as little as you care to at one sitting. This is a book I'll keep around to go back to now and then.
Apr 03, 2008 Jpaflas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dad gave me this book one year. I read it all the time. It is basically eyewitness accounts from American history with a little bit of explanation. Stuff from Plymouth rock, to Triangle Shirt co fire disaster to exchanging emails with Bill Gates.
Kiki Hughes
May 20, 2013 Kiki Hughes rated it it was amazing
Let's face it history can be boring but I think my students will enjoy reading this next year. This is a great compilation of eyewitness accounts to American history. I enjoyed it and can't wait to use it in class next school year.
Oct 02, 2007 Matty rated it liked it
got this from my sister. interesting stuff. did you know that early baseball players who began to wear mitts were considered nancys. barehand chauvinsim. an excerpt about the last days of poe and it doesn't even mention cocaine psychosis.
Nov 25, 2007 Bimus rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: kids
Shelves: humanities
I wasn't there but maybe next time. Who knows when something famous will happen to you or near you? Find out what other people thought at the time.
Nov 06, 2008 Dave rated it it was ok
I'd give it a 2.5. It is a compilation of personal accounts from those who were there from the Pilgrims to recent times.
Jul 24, 2012 Tanna rated it it was amazing
Wonderful first hand accounts.
Terrific for short reads and read alouds.
Some are exceptional and really bring it into reality.
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