The Men Who United the States

The Men Who United the States

America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible

Streaming Audiobook - 2013
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For more than two centuries, E pluribus unum-Out of many, one"-has been featured on America's official government seals and stamped on its currency. But what unified a growing number of disparate states into the modern country we recognize today? Simon Winchester follows the footsteps of America's most crucial innovators, thinkers and explorers, from Lewis and Clark, to the builders of the first transcontinental railroad and the curmudgeonly civil engineer who oversaw the creation of more than three million miles of highway. Winchester travels across vast swaths of the American landscape, from Pittsburgh to Portland, Seattle to Anchorage and Truckee to Laramie, using the five classical elements-Wood, Earth, Water, Fire, and Metal-to chart the contributions these adventurous leaders made to connect the diverse communities within the United States and ensure the future of the American project begun in 1776. The Men Who United the States is an unforgettable journey of unprecedented scope across time and open spaces, providing a new lens through which to view American history, led by one of the most gifted writers.
Publisher: [United States] : Harper Collins Publishers : Made available through hoopla, 2013.
Edition: Unabridged.
ISBN: 9780062080257
Branch Call Number: eAudiobook hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 audio file (13hr., 34 min.)) : digital.
Additional Contributors: Winchester, Simon
hoopla digital


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IndyPL_SteveB Jun 19, 2019

Winchester is one of the most charming writers and in-depth researchers you can find, and this book is enormously entertaining, told through the stories of fascinating people. Winchester looks at the ways that various people with big ideas took 50 separate states and hooked them together for travel and communications. So he examines the history of travel in the United States from trails to canals to railroads to highways to air travel. He looks at how telephones, radio, television, and the internet brought the country together through communication.

Then he goes one step better. For the section on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, he travels the route, making observations along the way and comparing the travel then with the travel today. In discussing the modern highway system, he explores the well-known story about President Eisenhower pushing for the Interstate System, which goes back to the Eisenhower led expedition across the US after World War One to see how long it would take to rush troops from the East Coast to the West Coast. Winchester recreates this trip, too.

Many more great stories are here. Since he travels to the places he writes about, this is a very personal style of history writing with insights that few writers can make.

Winchester does his own audio, with a most elegant voice and perfect ironic timing for the humorous bits.

Mar 14, 2017

A very good book that was excellently read by the author. It gives a quick history of the people and technologies (canals, roads, telegraphs, railways, telephones, radios, highways, and television) that have connected the peoples of the USA. This point of view gives an interesting angle from which to comprehend the historical development of the USA, and complements well Schama's book on the USA, "American Futures" (at least among popular histories).

JCLAmyF Nov 07, 2016

This covered a lot of fascinating historical ground - from the artists who traveled with the mapmakers and tried to map and paint our brand new country, to the advent of communication devices like the telephone, and later, the internet. The narrator had a pleasant voice and I found it to be one of those books that's great to listen to, while also being okay to space out on periodically.

May 19, 2016

Very interesting and well-written book about the way the united states was united through pioneers and explorers.

ECPat Jan 25, 2016

Could have been a little better edited, but it was otherwise fascinating.

Jul 07, 2015

Greatly enjoyed historical trivia, but did not enjoy the author's voice. At times I found it difficult to continue due to his reading.

Feb 27, 2014

The author, who is an expat Brit, has an fascinating take on American history. This is a series of stories grouped in 5 themes about events, expeditions, and technological innovations that have played a part in developing, extending, and strengthening the fabric of this country. This is not a linear recitation of politicians and generals in a normal history. For example, only a few presidents and some wars are mentioned but only in passing. The author writes very well with some humor (e.g. he quotes Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories with the "great grey greasy Limpopo river" twice). He visits some of the touch points and provides a bit of a modern travelogue of those areas. The basic writing style is reminiscent of Jonathan Raban's Bad Land, which is also a very good read.

Feb 04, 2014

Simon Winchester, here narrating his own Pan-American paean, comes across as the British version of Dos Equis' World's Most Interesting Man. Fair play to him, he is both incredibly well-traveled and erudite, but I find some of his anecdotes get in the way of the history he's trying to convey rather than enhancing it. I found the epilogue particularly pointless, for example. Good listening on the whole, though.


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