I recently read in “Quote Magazine” about a Chinese gentleman who was shown around an American house. He listened patiently to explanations of the purpose of each timesaving gadget. At the end of this enlightening tour, he asked, “what do you do with all the time you save?”
What do you suppose the answer was? What would your response have been?
I can give you a good suggestion for a wonderful way to spend one hour a day. Spend it reading or discussing a good book. On average, it takes from five to eight hours to read an average size book. This would mean reading just about a book a week or let’s say three books a month. That’s thirty-odd books a year, or three hundred books in ten years. They’re available at the public library, and this investment of only one twenty-fourth of your time will undoubtedly pay off.
So how do you start it? I’d recommend the new History of the United States published by the University of Michigan. This book is a two-volume set by Michael Kraus. The first volume covers the period from the early explorations of Columbus to the end of the Civil War in 1865. The second volume, The United States since 1865, is by Foster Rhea Dulles. These two fine histories are a part of the University of Michigan, History of the Modern World. They are edited by the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Allan Nevins, and Howard M. Ehrmann.
Here’s a chance to see our country from colonies in the wilderness to the Union forged from the Civil War.
From the crises, crusades, land campaigns that made a new nation, to the challenge of our present day. History is tremendously interesting from General George Washington to General Eisenhower.
It’s interesting to read of the difficulty of obtaining legislation we now take for granted. For example, we tend to forget that the Nineteenth Amendment giving women to vote in this country didn’t come along until the 1920s. This caused the revolutionary change in the role of women for the first time.
This late history of the country is just as fascinating as reading about the French and Indian wars.
Once you start this history of the United States, it’s difficult to put it down. Did you know that in 1850, there were only eighty-five cities with a population of more than 8,000 in this country. Fifty years later, there were almost seven times as many. It covers the changing pattern of American life from the farm to the city, the growth of newspapers, advertising, crime reporting, and more. This is all American history; just as American as the days of Ben Franklin or the Boston Massacre! Also, believe it or not, even more, fascinating to read.
Interested? Check out the University of Michigan, History of the Modern World. I would start with their new History of the United States. It’s great!