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Walter A. McDougall
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FOREST OF WISDOM
Powell's Bookstores, Chicago
From the origins of English expansion under Henry VIII to the founding of the United States to the rollicking election of President Andrew Jackson, McDougall rescues from myth or oblivion the brave, brilliant, and flawed people who made America great: women and men, native-born and immigrant; German, Latin, African, and British; as well as farmers, engineers, planters, merchants; Protestants, Freemasons, Catholics, and Jews; and -- last but not least -- the American scofflaws, speculators, rogues, and demagogues.
With an insightful approach to the nearly 250 years spanning America's beginnings, McDougall offers his readers an understanding of the uniqueness of the "American character" and how it has shaped the wide-ranging course of historical events. McDougall explains that Americans have always been in a unique position of enjoying "more opportunity to pursue their ambitions...than any other people in history." Throughout "Freedom Just Around the Corner the character of the American people shines, a character built out of a freedom to indulge in the whole panoply of human behavior. The genius behind the success of the United Statesis founded on the complex, irrepressible American spirit.
A grand narrative rich with new details and insights about colonial and early national history, Freedom Just Around the Corner is the first installment of a trilogy that will eventually bring the story of America up to the present day -- story as epic, bemusing, and brooding as Bob Dylan's "Jokerman," the ballad that inspires its titles.
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