33rd out of 73 books — 50 voters
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Wilderness at Dawn: The Settling of the North American Continent
by Ted Morgan
This is the biggest, grandest, most sprawling epic ever told, filled with battles and hardship, courage, determination, daring voyages into the unknown, and eye-opening discoveries... From the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of FDR, Winston Churchill, and Somerset Maugham, Wilderness At Dawn is the sprawling, roughhouse epic of the unsung heroes, heroines, and rogues who ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published April 26th 1994 by Simon & Schuster
(first published 1993)
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This is the first part of a two-book series about the settlement of North America (really, the United States; Canada gets a few mentions in passing), ending in 1799. The first chapter, like the first chapter in any middle school American history textbook, is about the Indians; in the second chapter, Columbus makes an appearance, and then Cabot, de Soto, Coronado, Cartier, La Salle, Washington. In addition to these, many nonfamous people appear, including the lawyer who inserted the last-minute ...more
2nd Read. This is an excellent overview of the settling of North America - loads of interesting and different elements of history - especially those stories not often heard or forgotten. A great primer that should and hopefully would inspire further research into those sections that interest. The author especially aims to keep perspective on the time periods rarely engages in cultural or modern superiority to the people and times before. This is important as recent histories tend to heap big ...more
My two biggest complaints about this book is the lack of devoted material to the slave trade and the flow of story lines. I bought the book expecting to read more from the slaves perspectives, even the "Black Frontier" section is not convincing in my opinion, especially given the primary sources available. Even though the book lacked black perspectives, I continued reading the material and found it very difficult to do so, largely due to the writer's style. Ted Morgan is obviously a great ...more
I thought what the book did best were the numerous short portrayals of different people in different times and places. Whether British tourists, Southern belles, or surveyors, the lives of these people lend a vibrant vitality to the social scenes of the times. However, the book falls apart some when it comes to conclusions and the overarching picture. I felt that sometimes a good anecdote would be tarnished by some dumb statement at the end, and that Morgan's attempts to construct conclusions ...more
Okay, I broke my reading rule with this book. I couldn't finish it. It was just getting too monotonous with all the names and dates, and blah blah blah. The first part of the book was very interesting, reading about the first explorers to the US and then about the first colonist and the peoples that made up the first colonies. Also, the section on the French was really interesting since it realated to Quebec. But after that, I just lost interest and had to put it down. Oh well.
AP US History summer book. Opening chapters on early North American people and first explorers to reach America are riveting. Chapters dealing with each of the original 13 colonies are also well-written. Some later chapters get a little monotonous, especially the one on surveyors. Study questions will be posted online in reading group over summer.
I enjoyed this telling of early American settlement. As an official old person, I have forgotten quite a bit of this stuff. Morgan did a nice job of connecting American events with events in the rest of the world. So much war and conquest in our history.... As an old "hippie" I keep hoping and waiting for mankind to get smarter in settling disputes. :)
Born St. Charles Armand Gabriel, Comte de Gramont; he used the name Sanche de Gramont for a byline until he had his name legally changed to Ted Morgan in 1977; came to the United States in 1937, naturalized in February, 1977. He won the Pulitzer Prize, 1961, for local reporting written under pressure of a deadline; National Book Award finalist, 1982, for Maugham.More about Ted Morgan...