Sunday, November 25, 2007

Seizing Destiny

Just finished Seizing Destiny-How America Grew From Sea to Shining Sea by
Richard Kluger (won the Pulitizer).

600 pages-easy read; would make a great college sophomore survey
course. Covers from Britian/France/Spain, through colonial times; the
addition of the "Old Northwest" from Virginia; the La. purchase/the Great
Lakes region/Florida (East and West) from Spain/Oregon Territory (54/40 or
fight!)/the War with Mexico/the Gasden purchase/Alaska/stealing
Hawaii/stealing Phillipines/trying to steal Cuba/with all respect to Ronald
Reagan: "the Panama Canal is ours, we stole it fair and square!" etc etc.
Gives the historical contex of each expansion, and our growing
"Manifest Destiny" philosophy. Did you know that President Polk added more
territory to the US than any president before or since?

I really enjoyed it-I knew practically nothing about the Mexican
War, except that there was one. (Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor, Santa
Ana, etc).

I am now moving on to Blood and Thunder-An Epic of the American
West-by Hampton Sides; picks up in the New Mexico territory in the middle of
the Mexican War with Kit Carson and the impact on the Navaho. To be followed
by Path Between the Seas by David Mccullough regarding building the Panama

Reading books is easy if you don't have a life.!

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