Ernie Gross This Day in American History

ISBN 13: 9781555700461

This Day in American History

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9781555700461: This Day in American History

Lists notable births, government actions, tragedies, disasters, and accomplishments for each day of the year

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About the Author:

Ernie Gross of Accomac, Virginia, is retired from a career in newspaper journalism and government public relations. He is also the author of This Day in Sports (2000, $35).

From Booklist:

These two revised chronological reference sources serve a similar purpose, but take different approaches.

The previous edition of The American Book of Days was published in 1978, so an update was overdue. Arrangement is by month, with each chapter offering an introduction that covers the derivation of the month's name and its significance throughout history. This is followed by a day-by-day survey of important anniversaries, celebrations, and movable feasts. Generally, there are at least two events listed for each day, for a total of more than 1,000 entries. Treatment ranges in length from one-half, for the founding of the Boy Scouts of America, to almost four pages, for the beginning of the Civil War. New events added since the third edition include the explosion of Space Shuttle Challenger, the beginning of Operation Desert Storm, the birthdays of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Gates, the attack on the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Texas, and the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City (both of which occurred on April 19). Some entries have been updated. New appendixes contain the texts of documents such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence; other appendixes cover the days of the week, the signs of the zodiac, and more.

As with previous editions, emphasis is given to "the admission of new states to the Union, the birthdays of all American presidents, and the birthdays of chief justices of the Supreme Court." This is one of those reference sources that has been with us for a long time (it was first published in 1937) and has grown into an idiosyncratic mixture--the 1828 duel between John Randolph and Henry Clay shares a page with the 1994 death of Kurt Cobain; Captain Kidd's hanging is given as much space as John F. Kennedy's assassination.

Many of the same events are documented in the revised edition of Gross' This Day in American History, which is also arranged month by month and then day by day. This resource had its beginnings when Gross was a radio news writer and looked for a historical item to include in each day's newscast. The previous edition was published in 1990, and events occurring since 1989 have been added for the revision. The index cites dates instead of page numbers, making it easy to locate specific items on a page.

Instead of the extended treatment found in The American Book of Days, entries are just a sentence or two in length. But what Gross lacks in depth he makes up in numbers. For example, while The American Book of Days lists two events for April 1, April Fool's Day and the choosing of the first Speaker of the House, in 1789, Gross lists 36, beginning with the 1742 birth of George Washington's physician Samuel Bard and ending with the 1998 dismissal of the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit against Bill Clinton.

Libraries that have found the previous editions useful will want both these updates. The American Book of Days is more helpful if one needs background information on holidays and observances, while Gross is the better quick "what happened when" source. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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