This book is a distinguished and brilliant history of the beginnings of our country. It starts in the fifteenth century, when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain listened at last to the petitions of a wild man named Columbus. It ends in 1787, when a group of state delegates sat down in Philadelphia to see how they could strengthen the government of their hard-won nation.
What happened during those three hundred years is a story of courage and suffering, great wisdom as well as great error, and it is Mr. Johnson's special gift to be able to make these events clear, meaningful, and exciting. It is the story of men who came to colonize, not realizing that living in a new and strange country would make them think and act differently, would make them, eventually, no longer Englishmen or Frenchmen or Spaniards, but Americans.
Mr. Johnson does not simply tell what people did; he explains how they felt about the things they did. George Washington, he says, was not the greatest general who ever lived; he was not a great lawgiver; he didn't write the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. He was not as eloquent as Patrick Henry, as witty as Franklin, or as learned as John Adams. But he was greater than any of them because he was a man who always did his duty, no matter what the cost, never expecting of desiring any reward from other men.
What distinguishes America Is Born from the many other books about America's history is its compactness and clarity of language, the unique flavor of its unfailing humor, and its profound moral sense. These give dimension and life to the men and the events that brought America into being, and makes America Is Born an unforgettable book.
The book is lavishly illustrated with Leonard Everett Fisher's bold, dramatic drawings.
—From the dust jacket
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