I have a special fondness for this series, though I only had the first three growing up. I remember vividly the time in 6th grade when I went early to our family's then school room (a badly insulated sun room) mid-winter, turned on a space heater, and huddled in a blanket, reading and rereading sections of volume 3 in preparation for a research paper on the American War for Independence. Though with age, I became aware of other perspectives on that great struggle, I credit that book with instilling a love for that period of history.
The Golden Book History of the United States is a 12 volume set, written by famed author Earl Schenk Miers and published in 1963. Beautifully illustrated with paintings by Alton S. Tobey and drawings by Richard P. Kluga, along with photographs when applicable, the series is an enticing introduction to U.S. history from a firmly patriotic perspective. From the perspective of 2020, we understand that this series glosses over many of our country's abuses, but we also know its purpose is to uplift and inspire children to love their country and hold fast to those principles that made our country great.
From the Introduction of Volume 1:
To you, as an American boy or girl, history is the story of why you feel, think, and act the way you do. Long years ago other youngsters like yourself awoke in the morning—glad when they beheld a beaming sun, drowsy when they heard the beat of rain on the roof, gloomy when threatening clouds gathered overhead—but a new day still budged them out of bed.
For being alive was what counted. Going to school, coming home, growing up were wonderful adventures. We can date the age when George Washington or Andrew Jackson or Abraham Lincoln grew from boyhood into manhood, but that fact isn't too important. They were like you, these youngsters of former years—not knowing that they were actors in history, but simply hoping that somehow, despite all their inner doubts, they would make a go of the years ahead.
And of course they did—as you will. Better than any other source, history reveals this truth to us. Great events grow out of average people like you and me—people who do what they think they should, who cling to their own principles and ideals, and who call by the name of freedom their right to do so.
The 12 volumes are as follows:
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