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America's Hidden History
 
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Kenneth C. Davis
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America's Hidden History

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3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  811 ratings  ·  174 reviews

Kenneth C. Davis, author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller Don't Know Much About History, presents a collection of extraordinary stories, each detailing an overlooked episode that shaped the nation's destiny and character. Davis's dramatic narratives set the record straight, busting myths and bringing to light little-known but fascinating facts from a time when t

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Paperback, 311 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Humanist (first published January 1st 2008)
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Mike
This is an excellent book. Davis writes in a clear, engaging, narrative style, with purpose and focus. His purpose here is to tell more about the foundations of the United States, from its European beginnings as small colonial outposts up to and including the need for the Constitution. Many people with a passing knowledge of history will know parts of these stories, but Davis includes a pleasing amount of detail for interest, without getting bogged down.

Here is what is in the book: A brief syno...more
Jack
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Asails F
A compilation of short stories that I enjoyed. The most important concerning the world sitation 11/22/2011 is called Lafayette's Sword.

A story about Shay's rebellion which tried to take over the Springfield Mass. Armoury. The rich and gentried based in Boston and other cities tried to stop this group of war heroes and landowners - small farmers. These landowners were abused by laws that sent them to debtors prisons and resulted in their loss of property. One should read the rest of the story.

It...more
Jonny99
More history than revelation. Kenneth C. Davis forged a career by reporting actual history rather than the sanitized propaganda-laden tales told in your average grammar school history book. Often these more bloody, messy tales of actual lives of historical figures lead you to respect them more given they had to earn their place through trial and error rather than seeming to be divinely driven to greatness as most historian would have it. Davis’s ”America’s Hidden History…” focuses on the foundin...more
David Bales
Interesting book about tidbits of "hidden history" (and some not so hidden) from the 16th to the eighteenth centuries. It starts with the failed French Protestant colony of Fort Caroline,(massacred by the Spanish in 1564) on the coast of what is now northern Florida and the Puritans in Massachusetts (who kicked out Anne Hutchison for her "free thinking" in 1634) and ending with several chapters on the American Revolution and the aftermath, leading to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. There...more
Kathleen
Good book for the bathroom. Interesting short stories but hard to get through from cover to cover
Mary
Read quickly while in the process of reading The Real George Washington- and I got the impression that he was not really all that impressed with George Washington. I really don't like it when people tend to put others on such high pedestal that they become "demi-gods" but I am more offended when people try to normalized them back again by pointing out in the worst possible light that they had faults. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams (founders), Abraham Lincoln- these were all just...more
Linda
Did you know that, when America was new, Vermont used to be a haven for rebels? Have you ever "read the riot act" to anyone? Have you ever seen the statue of Benedict Arnold in Saratoga, NY? What woman was the first to have a statue of her own? Kenneth C. Davis, who deserves the nation's thanks for presenting our history in an interesting, palatable way, includes all of the above, and much more, in America's Hidden History. It's interesting to contemplate that the father of our country and our m...more
John
I'm trying to decide whether books like this are good or bad and I guess I'm going with good. The thing that bothers me is that these are not "untold" tales- as Davis makes very clear in this book, he is simply reading actual academic history books, taking interesting minutia out of them, and writing that minutia down in his own book. I do that to my friends all the time, but I just tell them the trivia, I don't make my own book out of it. And it really just amounts to trivia. Davis implies that...more
Drick
Those who love Howard Zinn's People's History of the American People will enjoy this book. this book only coverse the period of US History before and up to the writing of constitution and contains stories of unkonwn persons whose lives were quite influential in their time, but in many ways who were villified or forgotten: Hannah Dustin, Anne Hutchinson, Benedict Arnold, James Schey of Shey's Rebellion, and so on. The book is written in an a story telling manner and is a goog read. Perhaps the mo...more
Stephanie
America's Hidden History is a compilation of "hidden" events and people from roughly 1600 through the Constitutional Convention. This book is definitely intended for folks who slept through early American History in high school and haven't revisited it since. Since my major undergraduate concentration area was history, I taught social studies, and currently I read history for enjoyment, I'm not the target demographic. I found it to be a rehash of several other American History books currently on...more
Bob Price
There is always more to learn about history than can ever been known. America's Hidden History by bestselling author Kenneth Davis is a good reminder of this.

Kenneth Davis has had great success with books like Don't Know a lot About History, etc. These books have been able to give a fundamental look at the basics of history (he has one for American history, the Bible, and other areas). This book, along with Nation Rising focus on the more 'obscure' stories from American history.

The charm of th...more
Nicole
This book is a must read for any US history teacher and student. I love how Davis explains the whole story and ignores the "neat and tidy" focus of history so often presented. The last chapter on Shay's Rebellion and the creation of the Constitution was my favorite and I plan to use portions with my students.
Rick
Very interesting look at some of the lesser-known figures in American history. Not an in-depth delving, but an excellent overview of some of the people and events that shaped the country and are not taught in school.
Whitney Hassell
I truly enjoyed this read! It was interesting, informative, and humorous. I like Davis' writing style and look forward to reading more of his books in the future!
Stig
A very interesting look at some episodes in American history which are often retold in a more, shall we say, idealized way. I was familiar with much of the content in a general way, but I have to admit that I was surprised to learn that young George Washington began his military career with an unprovoked and unauthorized attack on a party of French soldiers - which included a diplomat with a message to the British, no less! - and that most of the surviving French prisoners were massacred by Wash...more
Bonnie
I'm betting this book was a brand new car. This was Davis's way to pay for something. Maybe a vacation at the beach, college tuition, etc. Whatever the purchase, this was not a serious academic endeavor.

Let me start with the good. The stories were interesting. I didn't know many of them, and I appreciated learning them. In particular, the Ferdinand and Isabella chapter was very good. OK, now for the critique.

For one thing, the writing style was sloppy. Saying that so-and-so's relationship "sou...more
Nanosynergy
Interesting collection of stories about 6 events in American history that were not covered in school for most people. Davis has a palatable style of presenting history to a wider audience. However, one of the book's major themes is that religious adherents, particularly Christian, are the cause of most of the history's atrocities. I found this continual whine tedious and unoriginal. Clearly Davis has an axe to grind.

I like this trend of history books written to pull more people into reading hist...more
Wisteria Leigh
#26[America's Hidden History], [[Kenneth C. Davis]][return]In a short story non-fiction format, Davis has researched historical events that he claims were either misrepresented, omitted or overlooked when history was written into textbooks. Everyone knows� the famous words of Paul Revere and his famous ride through the countryside. But what did he really say? Davis knows and he corrects this part of our misrepresented history in his book, America� s Hidden History. [return]He writes of women lik...more
Nancy
While there were few things I didn't know at least something about in this book, Davis digs deeper into America's history than what most of us learned in school.

The historical periods covered range from the early Spanish conquistadors/explorers through the aftermath of the Revolutionary War in the 1780s.

Davis discusses the role of the importation of pigs as spreaders of disease, and further notes the impact of disease during crucial historical moments.

We learn that the Hugenot refugees from Fra...more
David
According to this book, when George Washington was in his early 20's, he was in command of a small group of Virginians. He happened across a French diplomatic mission and, against explicit orders, he attacked, and massacred the mission. This event started the seven-year long French-Indian War, which ultimately cost the lives of 850,000 soldiers.

Benedict Arnold was a good, strong officer in the fledgling American army during the Revolutionary War. But he was continually turned down for promotions...more
Paul
I love Ken Davis. This book reinforced how little I actually learned in grade school about the founding of our country. I think Ken makes his money off me by tearing down the blind "patriotic" version of history so common to my generation in childhood AND by not vilifying our heritage. It's a careful balance and Davis does it well.

Something that I learned from this book: The first European settlers in what is now The USA were not WASPy pilgrims in the Mayflower, but rather French Huguenots esca...more
Laura
At first I thought this look into America's history would interest readers who weren't particularly interested in the usual stories, but the chapters in this book are so jumbled that I'm not sure they will make sense to students.

Each chapter starts with a timeline, then proceeds to some "unknown" (or, more accurately, little taught) event - for example, a massacre of French troops that a very young George Washington was involved with - and then moves all over the map to talk about other, more c...more
Herman Gigglethorpe
Kenneth C Davis, author of the "Don't Know Much About. . ." series covers historical topics here that are underrepresented in school curricula and many history book. You'll learn much about the Spanish colony in Florida (and the Fort Caroline massacre of the French Huguenots in the area), Hannah Dustin the Indian scalper, George Washington's blunders leading to the French and Indian War (Seven Years' War for non-Americans), the career of Benedict Arnold, and finally Shay's Rebellion and the cons...more
Martin Crim
You can dip into this book at random, pick it up and put it down again for weeks, or plow right through it. The "untold tales" might be better called "tales you didn't get in high school history class," because they have definitely been told before. Still, it's cool to read about the invasion of Canada, or the only Supreme Court justice thrown into jail, or Geo. Washington's early military misadventures. Benedict Arnold, the famous traitor, comes in for sympathetic treatment, and the early wars...more
Charles
New takes on many events in early America. One of the most interesting is his story of Benedict Arnold, who was a hero for our side and then went over to the British. Arnold had to wear a special boot to compensate for his wounded leg. But he was a hero at Saratoga; the author credits his defeat of the British there as what finally convinced the French to come into the war on our side. Well, they couldn't very well put up a statue of Benedict Arnold to commemorate that victory, so they put up a...more
Judy
This book chronicles little known stories in American History from the initial Spanish colonization to the inauguration of George Washington in 1789. For example, Queen Isabella apparently recommended that Columbus take hogs along on his voyages as a mobile protein source. The problem was that the swine may have been responsible for spreading many of the diseases that ravaged the Native Americans. And while most Americans have a picture of Pilgrims and Native Americans sitting down for a peacefu...more
Sandra Strange
I would guess that Davis's purpose in this book is to show the reality beyond the legends of the US's beginnings. This book tells intriguing and very real details behind the first Spanish settlements in Florida; the stories of Hannah Dustin, captive of Indians who slew her child; of Ann Hutchinson's real rebellion against other Puritan settlers; of George Washington's formative 20's and his injudicious actions that began a world war; of the reality of Benedict Arnold's heroism in the Revolution...more
Nathan
Interesting tidbits about the early history of the nation, working to round out our often narrow and saintly perception of the founding fathers/mothers. While I honor and revere the accomplishments of these men and women, it's also good remember that they were just people too. I was afraid that a book dedicated to some less know or unsavory aspects of American history might turn into a bash on America, but this book avoided unpatriotic-ish rhetoric.

For example, Paul Revere's father was from Fran...more
Amy Nielsen (is going cerebral for 2014)
Lots of good facts in this book. A bit hard to follow as an audiobook especially because I usually have divided attention (driving/listening) and to follow a particular history - like the French monarchy is a little distracting. However, once the author would get into a particular story about a group of people or a certain person and their contribution to history, I found it interesting beyond compare. I learned a lot about the founding fathers, so to speak. For example, the author discusses Ben...more
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Kenneth C. Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of the Don't Know Much About® series of books and audios for adults and children. The first title in the series, Don't Know Much About® History became a New York Times bestseller in 1991 and remained on the paperback list for 35 consecutive weeks. It has since been revised several times and now has more than 1.6 million copies in print.

Dav...more
More about Kenneth C. Davis...
Don't Know Much about History: Everything You Need to Know about American History But Never Learned Don't Know Much About the Bible: Everything You Need to Know About the Good Book but Never Learned Don't Know Much About Mythology: Everything You Need to Know About the Greatest Stories in Human History but Never Learned Don't Know Much About the Civil War: Everything You Need to Know About America's Greatest Conflict but Never Learned Don't Know Much About Geography: Everything You Need to Know About the World but Never Learned

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