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A Nation Rising: Untold Tales of Flawed Founders, Fallen Heroes, and Forgotten Fighters from America's Hidden History
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A Nation Rising: Untold Tales of Flawed Founders, Fallen Heroes, and Forgotten Fighters from America's Hidden History

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  360 ratings  ·  78 reviews
Following his New York Times bestseller America's Hidden History, Kenneth C. Davis explores the gritty first half of the nineteenth century—among the most tumultuous periods in this nation's short life.

In the dramatic period that spans roughly from 1800 through 1850, the United States emerged from its inauspicious beginning as a tiny newborn nation, struggling for surviva
ebook, 320 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2010)
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Kenneth C. Davis rose to prominence as the author of the popular “Don’t Know Much About …” series, which was inspired by the Sam Cooke song lyric “don’t know much about history.” His most recent two books have been more ambitious efforts to continue what he had begun in his earlier books, but to do so in a more thorough and expansive manner. They could be called his “Hidden History” books.

The title of the first is “Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women & Forgotte
James (JD) Dittes
For a popular book of history, this is about as close to perfect as a one can get. Short, focused chapters, connections to present-day dilemmas, hidden villains and heroes (like John C. Fremont who really is due), Davis deserves a lot of credit here.

Davis sees echoes of 19th-century history in post-9/11 America, and he provides them without veering into polemic. As I read this, I kept thinking of "A People's History of the United States," for the way it illuminated the lives of oppressed peoples
fundamentalism? birthers? corrupt politicians? are we doomed to repeat the past?
Kenneth C. Davis does an amazing job of making this oft-overlooked period of American history come to life by telling the story of people who, in their day, were household names, but now have diminished.
The author writes history in such an accomplished and welcoming way that the reader is drawn in and carried along by the narrative.
Davis first came to my attention as the author of "Don't Know Much About History", alm
For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold to the cliches of our forebears.... We enjoy the comfort of opinion with out the discomfort of thought.
– John F. Kennedy as quoted by Kenneth Davis

Author Kenneth C. Davis does not look at the history of the United States through rose-colored glasses. This has earned him some very vocal critics and some admirers. He is the author
History buffs who like to see how trends wax and wane over time will enjoy Kenneth Davis's comparisons. Davis (and I) were amazed at how many times in our countries early history the same names intersect in completely different places and situations.

Aaron Burr shaped our history as vice president and duelist of Alexander Hamilton; he was also the victim of an outed memo that lead to a trial for treason. The thwarting of Thomas Jefferson's claim of executive power lead to a precedent that shows t
Jun 06, 2010 Giselle rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Giselle by: goodreads
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book through goodreads first-reads!
The Author tells informative, short, mostly readable, stories of an important period of history between the American Revolution and the westward expansion. Untold tales are interesting, but the real value to me was what these tales revealed about the characters in them. Kenneth Davis did a great job of putting their lives and actions in a meaningful context.
Jay Connor
For the great enemy of Truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest -- but the Myth -- persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold to the clichés of our fore bearers. We envy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - JFK

In many ways, the period of 1800 to 1860, while often kept in the recesses of our collective American memory, much like the crazy uncle we hope won't embarrass us at yet another family gathering, is perhaps the most tellin
It was interesting to read about a few events in history that are usually unknown to most readers. The mark of a great historian is the ability to relate past events to current & to make them relavent, however, I found it a little telling, that Davis relates a couple of the "negative" events only conservative (or Republican) politicians. He shows himself to be a bit of an "Obama fan" in his relating hereos & trailblazers to Obama - gee, any surprise that this author is from Vermont? I al ...more
John Kelley
I enjoyed reading Kenneth C Davis' A Nation Rising for its coverage of American history, its connections with today's world, and for the personalities he coveraged. One of the most interesting Americans is Jesse Benton Fremont who made her way across the Isthmus of Panama to reach her husband, or her elopment with the man she loved. Her life encompassed nearly three quarters of the 19th century and I think we need a good biography of her life. I know from reading Abraham Lincoln, she was a pest ...more
Nanette Bulebosh
Davis, author of the popular "Don't Know Much About History" books, focuses on American history between 1800 and 1850, a period that is too often neglected, in his view. Using his great storytelling skills, Davis zeroes in on six different stories:
Aaron Burr's 1807 trial for treason
An Indian rising in the South in 1813
Slave revolts and mutinies, beginning with the Creole (although there's a a great explanation of General Toussaint-Louverture's leadership in the Haitian slave revolts)
The Dade Ma
This book is a spicy side dish of history. I was short and entertaining but it open up whole worlds of history that I know I never learned about in high school history class. The genius of of Kenneth Davis is that he presents history in a way that appeals to the part of us that loves a good story. I will never forget Davis's description of Jessie Fremont traveling across Panama to reach her husband in California. Through her story, I learned about the California gold rush and the abolitionist mo ...more
Interesting portrait of some of history's "heroes"
Very good look at how times and perceptions change, as how some who were viewed as heroes for years are now considered to be "villains"
this book was good. It is a great history book that goes over people who are less known. My favorite part was the part that was on aaron burr.
Davis covers the first 50 years of the 19th century in the United States, a period which often gets overlooked in history classes. It was a time when our country expanded enormously, acquiring vast territory from Spain, France and Mexico, growing to the South and West in eventual fulfillment of what journalists and politicians of the era referred to as our Manifest Destiny.

But the motives behind our rapid expansion in the early 1800's were often less than noble. Many, among them Henry David Tho
What I thought would be an interesting history book, entitled A Nation Rising: Untold Tales of Flawed Founders, Fallen Heroes, and Forgotten Fighters from America’s Hidden History, has turned out to be a political pundit’s adaptation of his worldview to various historical events. In other words, there is little true history on these pages.

I will admit up front that I only read the introduction and the first 61 pages – the section about Aaron Burr’s trial. (I couldn’t stomach reading any further!
Anyone that finds themselves intrigued by American history should find this one highly entertaining as well as enlightening. Covering the period between 1800 and 1850 when the colonies emerged from a struggling neophyte nation to a continent-spanning, near empire, Davis concentrates on the stories of the founders that have either gone untold or have been ignored for more mythic versions. The details of the Aaron Burr trial of 1807 would make any modern web blogger indignant with political revela ...more
Larry Hostetler
I was disappointed in this book. I expected some insight or (as the subtitle suggests) hidden history, but most of what I found was a rehash of other books I've read.

The book is comprised of six chapters, Burr's Trial, Weatherford's War, Madison's Mutiny, Dade's Promise, Morse's Code, and Jessie's Journey.

Burr's trial deals more with the backstory leading up to Aaron Burr's trial than with any "hidden" history. Perhaps little-known or misunderstood, the history is anything but hidden. Having r
This is a very interesting read. Goes through several early stories of some of our founding fathers during the early years of America. Good detail about myth and perception including slavery, the persecution of the American Indian, and early politics.

If you want the story behind the history books, this is a solid read. If you are a Florida State fan, pretty interesting read on the real Chief Osceola and the Florida Native American handling.

If you are an early American history buff, this is a s
This quick little book examines all those forgotten presidents---Martin Van Buren, James K. Polk, Tippecanoe and Tyler too--and some of the big stories that happened in those years between the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

There are some interesting chapters on things like The Panic of 1837, the Seminole Wars (the longest American war until Vietnam), the slave uprising on the Creole, the religious fanaticism of Samuel “Dot-Dash-Dot” Morse (who wrote anti-Catholic screeds under the pen name “Brutu
Donna Zigmont
I borrowed this from the library.I've read just about all of his books.I really like history and the way he writes his books really pulls you into it.I wanted to read it because I thought it was maybe a continuation of America's Hidden History,which I read and loved.But it isn't a continuation and I liked it even better than America's Hidden History.
The early history of the United States of America told in a quick breezy style (perhaps a too breezy style). Focusing on famous folks accused of treason, and slave revolts, religious riots, and problems with Native Americans - mostly items glossed over by other books dealing with this time frame.
Its a good book to set off explorations (in more detals) to those topics, and other related items - it reminds me of the importance of the relationship of Spanish Florida to 1700s Georgia and South Caro
An okay history lesson. As the author says stories in the book demonstrate "setting out for new territory has been an essential ingredient of the American experience for centuries. And as many of these stories also prove, the results can be tragic." The book didn't present much new information to me and left some portrayals lacking, as in the chapter on Jessie Benton Fremont.
I won this book through FirstReads.

This was a pretty easy read, and if it was fiction I'd have finished a lot sooner. However, being non-fiction, it takes me a while to process and think about the other historical events and catalysts that were happening during the given time periods. While many of the historical figures presented in this book were unfamiliar to me, I wouldn't really call this a book of "untold stories" or "hidden history." Most of the events are pretty standard high school/col
Lynne Burns
What was supposed to be a history from 1800 to1850, the author found lots of ways to make comparison between past events and future events. It becomes very obvious that the author is pro-Obama, and anti- Bush. Very disappointing.
Jan 24, 2012 Joan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: American history buffs
I see I need to establish a new shelf: E-books. This is my first e-book and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Perhaps if I wasn't so thrilled at how much I liked the e reader, I might not have rated this quite so highly. However, I found the writing clear, intriguing and interesting bits of americana. Several were stories I had heard a bit about but not in this much detail. Others were entirely new to me such as Jessica Fremont's journey out to California. I also enjoyed some of the debunking ...more
Davis presents stories of American history from the first half of the 19th century. Admittedly, at least in my case, it's a period of American history which is lightly covered in our schooling, or possibly simply a part of history which I've long forgotten. We all probably remember some of the stories of Andrew Jackson and some of the Indian wars, but Davis fills in many missing details. Davis also adds details on other aspects of our history, such as the Philadelphia Bible riots, the treason ch ...more
Todd Martin
In A Nation Rising, Ken Davis takes a look at a few lesser known events that shaped the country, but are less rarely recounted because they don't fit the romantic and noble fiction we've constructed in place of the nation's true history. These include: manifest destiny, slavery, anti-catholic and anti-immigrant activities, and indian conflicts. He then uses modern examples to reinforce the lesson that many of the same issues that motivate people and politics today were also at work in the past. ...more
This book gave us a little extra information on some of our American heroes (and antiheroes) that might otherwise be overlooked in the average history book. I enjoyed it immensely. It did, however, end rather abruptly.
Rob Roy
This book covers American history from 1800 through 1850. it delves into six people, some famous, and some little known, who influenced their time. Much of this is not pretty being from the show the warts school of history, nonetheless, there is excellent research, and startling revelations. Did you know that the major reason that Texas revolted against Mexico, was not the repression of Santa Anna, but rather that Mexico banned slavery! Heck that wasn't in either my high school, or college text ...more
Jalen Anderson
I didn't find as others have stipulated, that the author wrote with any particular bias. I thought this was a well written, enjoyable piece of historical writing.
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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.

He is
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 America's Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation Don't Know Much About the Civil War: Everything You Need to Know About America's Greatest Conflict but Never Learned

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