Hidden History: Exploring Our Secret Past

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9780679722236: Hidden History: Exploring Our Secret Past

In this provocative new collection, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel J. Boorstin explores the essential "hidden history" of the American experience that is overlooked by most historians. In twenty-four essays -- divided into five sections, "The Quest for History," "A By-Product Nation," "The Rhetoric of Democracy," "Unsung Experiments," and "The Momentum of Technology" -- Daniel J. Boorstin examines significant rhythms, patterns, and institutions of everyday American life: from his intimate portraits of such legendary figures as Paul Revere, Abigail Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, to more expansive discussions of historical phenomena, such as the Therapy of Distance and the Law of Survival of the Unread.

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From the Back Cover:

"His flair for the vivid anecdote, fresh points of view and understanding of the dramatic relationship of ideas have made him the most readable of our eminent historians." -- Clifton Fadiman

"I have learned a great deal about the USA from Professor Boorstin.... He knows this country of ours as few historians know it."

From Publishers Weekly:

In his 70s, Boorstin recently retired as Librarian of Congress, a position that he had held since 1975 that capped his career as one of America's eminent historians. In this collection of essays the author of The Discovers and the trilogy The Americans writes with the breadth and vitality that mark all his books. His title has deliberate meaning: Boorstin implies the historian's need to probe socio-political patterns from philosophical and uncliched angles. Here he recaptures his "historical adventures," ranging from a study of the historian's discipline (his insight into Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire as an "intimate" work is rich and subtle) through a look at America as a "By-Product Nation" not greatly driven by theories, but rather formed by action under stress (he sees FDR's four-term presidency as an example). And finally, a series of segments from his writingspresent his views of America's "unsung" political experiments. Boorstin's closing emphasis on our unacknowledged dominance by the "kingdom of the Machine" leads readers to hope for his further expansion of this theme.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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