The Penguin History Of The USA, Hugh Brogan, ISBN 014025255X
This book covers the history of the USA from prehistory to the end of the 80s, though the real detail starts with European colonization, giving about 400 years to cover in 700 pages.
The writing is clear and witty and the author does not hesitate to pass judgement on various events and structures. He regularly slips into the first person and gives his own opinion, giving the book a pleasant chatty feel. (If you prefer your history books to be dusty tomes, avoid this one like the plague.)
I would complain that, despite an evident appreciation of the value of numbers, there is an absence of tabulated statistics (or better, graphs) in this book. It is better supplied with maps though perhaps more detailed ones would not go amiss.
Anyway I took quite a while to read this but it made for an interesting background to a month or two, and has left me with a much better feeling for how the US has developed.
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