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First published in 1908, A Short History of The United States by Edward Channing aims to provide a compact and concise account of the events that went into the making of the United States of America. Divided into 45 short chapters which are laid out point-wise, the book is designed as a school text book. Each chapter has a section at the end with a set of questions regarding the facts given in it. Beginning with theories about the first European who may have “discovered” the North American continent, the book goes on to describe the various countries who colonized it, the impact of the American Revolution, and finally ends with the situation in America in 1900 when this book was completed. Maps and illustrations are also given. Edward Channing was a historian and writer whose magnum opus was a massive six-volume History of the United States, which earned him the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1926. Since this shorter version was designed more to be a text book for school-children, A Short History of the United States touches on the main points in the history of this country without going into details. There is not much of an attempt here to provide character studies of the prominent players on the historical stage. No opinions or points of view are offered, and the book remains a collection of facts. The approach to history has changed over the decades. Today it is no longer seen as a bald account of wars, conquests and territorial conflicts that took place – instead, modern-day readers require social, economic and political aspects as well, which this little book may not provide. As a collection of important facts and a quick reference book, A Short History of the United States is a useful addition to your bookshelf.
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