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1. Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
A brilliant evocation of the qualities that made FDR one of the most beloved and greatest of American presidents.
Drawing on archival material, public speeches, correspondence and accounts by those closest to Roosevelt early in his career and during his presidency, H. W. Brands shows how Roosevelt transformed American government during the Depression with his New Deal legislation, and carefully managed the country's prelude to war. Brands shows how Roosevelt's friendship and regard for Winston Churchill helped to forge one of the greatest alliances in history, as Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin maneuvered to defeat Germany and prepare for post-war Europe.
2. Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants
DescriptionFrom New York Times bestselling historian H. W. Brands comes the riveting story of how America's second generation of political giants--Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John Calhoun--battled to complete the unfinished work of the Founding Fathers and decide the shape of our democracy.
In the early days of the nineteenth century, three young men strode onto the national stage, elected to Congress at a moment when the Founding Fathers were beginning to retire to their farms. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, a champion orator known for his eloquence, spoke for the North and its business class. Henry Clay of Kentucky, as dashing as he was ambitious, embodied the hopes of the rising West. South Carolina's John Calhoun, with piercing eyes and an even more piercing intellect, defended the South and slavery.
Together this second generation of American founders took the country to war, battled one another for the presidency, and tasked themselves with finishing the work the Founders had left undone. Above all, they sought to remedy the two glaring flaws in the Constitution: its fudge on where authority ultimately rested, with the states or the nation; and its unwillingness to address the essential incompatibility of republicanism and slavery. They wrestled with these issues for four decades, arguing bitterly and hammering out political compromises that held the union together, but only just. Then, in 1850, when California moved to join the union as a free state, "the three great men of America" had one last chance to save the country from the real risk of civil war. But by then they were never further apart.
Thrillingly and authoritatively, H. W. Brands narrates the little-known drama of the dangerous early years of our democracy.
3. The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War
At the height of the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman committed a gaffe that sent shock waves around the world, when he suggested that General Douglas MacArthur, the willful, fearless, and highly decorated commander of the American and U.N. forces, had his finger on the nuclear trigger. At a time when the Soviets, too, had the bomb, the specter of a catastrophic third World War lurked menacingly close on the horizon. A correction quickly followed, but the damage was done; two visions for Americas path forward were clearly in opposition, and one man would have to make way.
The contest of wills between these two titanic characters unfolds against the turbulent backdrop of a faraway war and terrors conjured at home by Joseph McCarthy. From the drama of Stalins blockade of West Berlin to the daring landing of MacArthurs forces at Inchon to the shocking entrance of China into the war, The General and the President vividly evokes the making of a new American era.
4. American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900
DescriptionIn this grand-scale narrative history, two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist H. W. Brands brilliantly portrays the emergence, in a remarkably short time, of a recognizably modern America.
American Colossus captures the decades between the Civil War and the turn of the twentieth century, when a few breathtakingly wealthy businessmen transformed the United States from an agrarian economy to a world power. From the first Pennsylvania oil gushers to the rise of Chicago skyscrapers, this spellbinding narrative shows how men like Morgan, Carnegie, and Rockefeller ushered in a new era of unbridled capitalism. In the end America achieved unimaginable wealth, but not without cost to its traditional democratic values.
5. Lone Star Nation: The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence
FeatureUsed Book in Good Condition
DescriptionIn Lone Star Nation, Pulitzer Prize finalist H. W. Brands demythologizes Texass journey to statehood and restores the genuinely heroic spirit to a pivotal chapter in American history.
From Stephen Austin, Texass reluctant founder, to the alcoholic Sam Houston, who came to lead the Texas army in its hour of crisis and glory, to President Andrew Jackson, whose expansionist aspirations loomed large in the background, here is the story of Texas and the outsize figures who shaped its turbulent history. Beginning with its early colonization in the 1820s and taking in the shocking massacres of Texas loyalists at the Alamo and Goliad, its rough-and-tumble years as a land overrun by the Comanches, and its day of liberation as an upstart republic, Brands lively history draws on contemporary accounts, diaries, and letters to animate a diverse cast of characters whose adventures, exploits, and ambitions live on in the very fabric of our nation.
6. The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream (Search and Recover)
FeaturePaperback with scene of pioneers and hills. 4x 10 inces
DescriptionThe California Gold Rushinspired a new American dreamthe dream of instant wealth, won by audacity and good luck.The discovery of gold on the American River in 1848triggered the most astonishing mass movement of peoples since the Crusades. It drew fortune-seekers from the ends of the earth, accelerated Americas imperial expansion, and exacerbated the tensions that exploded in the Civil War.
H.W. Brands tells his epic story from multiple perspectives: of adventurers John and Jessie Fremont, entrepreneur Leland Stanford, and the wry observer Samuel Clemensside by side with prospectors, soldiers, and scoundrels. He imparts a visceral sense of the distances they traveled, the suffering they endured, and the fortunes they made and lost. Impressive in its scholarship and overflowing with life, The Age of Gold is history in the grand traditions of Stephen Ambrose and David McCullough.
7. The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace
Ulysses Grant emerges in this masterful biography as a genius in battle and a driven president to a divided country, who remained fearlessly on the side of right. He was a beloved commander in the field who made the sacrifices necessary to win the war, even in the face of criticism. He worked valiantly to protect the rights of freed men in the South. He allowed the American Indians to shape their own fate even as the realities of Manifest Destiny meant the end of their way of life. In this sweeping and majestic narrative, bestselling author H.W. Brands now reconsiders Grant's legacy and provides an intimate portrait of a heroic man who saved the Union on the battlefield and consolidated that victory as a resolute and principled political leader.
8. The Reckless Decade: America in the 1890s
The 1890s saw the closing of the American frontier and a shift toward imperialist ambitions. Populists and muckrakers grappled with robber barons and gold-bugs. Americans addressed the unfinished business of Reconstruction by separating blacks and whites. Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, and other black leaders clashed over the proper response to continuing racial inequality. Those on top of the economic heapRockefeller, Carnegie, and Morgancreated vast empires of wealth, while those at the bottom worked for dimes a day. Brands brings all this to life in a vivid narrative filled with larger-than-life characters facing momentous challenges as they worked toward an uncertain future.
9. The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin
DescriptionPulitzer Prize Finalist
Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the pivotal figure in colonial and revolutionary America, comes vividly to life in this masterly biography. Wit, diplomat, scientist, philosopher, businessman, inventor, and bon vivant, Benjamin Franklin was in every respect Americas first Renaissance man. From penniless runaway to highly successful printer, from ardently loyal subject of Britain to architect of an alliance with France that ensured Americas independence, Franklin went from obscurity to become one of the worlds most admired figures, whose circle included the likes of Voltaire, Hume, Burke, and Kant.
Drawing on previously unpublished letters and a host of other sources, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands has written a thoroughly engaging biography of the eighteenth-century genius. A much needed reminder of Franklins greatness and humanity, The First American is a work of meticulous scholarship that provides a magnificent tour of a legendary historical figure, a vital era in American life, and the countless arenas in which the protean Franklin left his legacy.
10. Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times
In this, the first major single-volume biography of Andrew Jackson in decades, H.W. Brands reshapes our understanding of this fascinating man, and of the Age of Democracy that he ushered in.
An orphan at a young age and without formal education or the family lineage of the Founding Fathers, Jackson showed that the presidency was not the exclusive province of the wealthy and the well-born but could truly be held by a man of the people. On a majestic, sweeping scale Brands re-creates Jacksons rise from his hardscrabble roots to his days as frontier lawyer, then on to his heroic victory in the Battle of New Orleans, and finally to the White House. Capturing Jacksons outsized life and deep impact on American history, Brands also explores his controversial actions, from his unapologetic expansionism to the disgraceful Trail of Tears. This is a thrilling portrait, in full, of the president who defined American democracy.