Eyewitness to America: 500 Years of American History in the Words of Those Who Saw It Happen (Paperback)
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 -- give their personal accounts of the great moments that make up our past, from Columbus to cyberspace, and infuse them with a freshness and urgency no historian can duplicate.
David Colbert has brought together a multitude of voices to create a singularly rich American narrative.Here are the vivid impressions of men and women who were witnesses to and participants in these and other dramatic moments: the first colony in Virginia, the Salem witch trials, the Boston Tea Party, the Oklahoma land rush, the Scopes Trial, the bombing of Nagasaki, the lunch-counter sit-ins at the outset of the civil rights movement, New York City's Stonewall Riot, the fall of Saigon, and the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
With unparalleled and thrilling immediacy, these excerpts from diaries, private letters, memoirs, and newspapers paint a fascinating picture of the evolving drama of American life.
About the Author
David Colbert is a writer and former Editor at HarperCollins.
"It's a book I'll turn to often for research, and more often for pleasure. Eyewitness to America is the best American collection on my shelf."
"A highly entertaining look at American history, a varied, imaginatively selected panorama ... The result is a feeling for history that is both immediate and dramatic ... a wonderful collection."
"There is merit in having books on the bedside table that . . . inform and amuse. Collections of familiar short stories and essays--Somerset Maugham,John Updike on golf--can fit the bill well. . . . Eyewitness to America comes into the same category. . . . There are some lovely literary gems."
"This book is something of a miracle...This is a mother lode of historical lore, up close and personal as the saying goes. Thumbing through its selections can be a giddy experience."
-The Richmond Times Dispatch
"The success of Eyewitness to America lies in its editor's sensitive and often humorous selection...the variety mirrors the diversity of America."
"A masterpiece. If you're a student of American history, then Eyewitness to America is required reading."
--The Charleston Post & Courier
"Through 300 firsthand impressions gathered from sources such as diaries, letters, interviews, and memoirs, this title looks at many facets, innovations, and changes that have shaped our society. Rather than just presenting the cold, hard facts that so many reference sources offer students, this text allows them to see and hear the emotions of such events as a Salem 'witch' begging for mercy, a Native American's account of the massacre at Wounded Knee, and Rosa Parks's account of her
arrest. Each entry begins with brief background information including the role of the author. The index provides access through topics, authors, and key people. Presented in chronological order from Columbus's discovery of America to the sending of the first e-mail, this is an excellent resource."
--School Library Journal
"Eyewitness to America is an excellent resource for classroom teachers of American History.... I recommend it highly."
--Gloria Sesso, President, Organization of History Teachers