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by Richard Kluger

  • ISBN: 0375413413
  • Category: Other
  • Author: Richard Kluger
  • Subcategory: Humanities
  • Other formats: mbr doc mbr txt
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st Edition edition (August 7, 2007)
  • Pages: 649 pages
  • FB2 size: 1273 kb
  • EPUB size: 1804 kb
  • Rating: 4.1
  • Votes: 522
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Richard Kluger’s history of how America got from 13 colonies to 50 states. The executive summary of Richard Kluger’s Seizing Destiny is a one-page chart at the end of the book, Principal Acquisitions of Territory by the United States

Richard Kluger’s history of how America got from 13 colonies to 50 states. The executive summary of Richard Kluger’s Seizing Destiny is a one-page chart at the end of the book, Principal Acquisitions of Territory by the United States. The Treaty of Paris (1783) defined a new nation of almost 900,000 square miles.

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Seize this book for your library. Published by Thriftbooks.

book by Richard Kluger. Seize this book for your library. com User, 11 years ago. Kugler has produced an epic that explains not only the how but the also the why of America's geographical growth. Western expansion was considered inevitable by royal decree.

From the Pulitzer Prizewinning social historian Richard Kluger,Seizing Destinyis a sweeping chronicle of how the . America's surge to dominion was equally admirable and appalling

From the Pulitzer Prizewinning social historian Richard Kluger,Seizing Destinyis a sweeping chronicle of how the vast territory of the United States was assembled to accommodate the aspirations of its peopleregardless of who objected. It is a remarkable story of how Americans extended their sovereignty from the Atlantic coastline to the mid-Pacific in the first 125 years of their national existence. America's surge to dominion was equally admirable and appalling.

Simple Justice: The History of Brown V. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality.

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In 2006, Kluger published Seizing Destiny: How America Grew from Sea to Shining Sea, an extended investigation of how the current territory of the United States was amassed. SIMPLE JUSTICE (1976) A History of Brown v. Board of Education & Black America's Struggle for Equality. THE PAPER (1986) The Life and Death of the New York Herald Tribune.

In 2006, Kluger published Seizing Destiny: How America Grew from Sea to Shining Sea, an extended investigation of how the current territory of the United States was amassed Politics. Kluger's writing has been described as liberal, and/or emphasizing racial-injustice perspectives. Richard Kluger: Biographical Sketch - The writings of Richard Kluger. Author Spotlight: Richard Kluger at Random House. Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction (1976–2000).

Within 91 years of its creation as a fragile republic without a working government (or even a plan for one), a professional army, or any money in its treasury, the United States  amassed a transcontinental domain of 3.7 million square miles, making it the world's fourth largest nation. No other country or sovereign power has ever grown so big so fast or become so rich and so powerful.  Now, for the first time in a single volume, Richard Kluger chronicles this remarkable achievement in a compelling narrative without flinching from the moral lapses of the victors.Seizing Destiny is a sweeping chronicle of how the vast territory of the United States was assembled to accommodate the aspirations of its people regardless of who objected.  It is a remarkable story of how Americans extended their sovereignty from the Atlantic coastline to the mid-Pacific in a  surge to dominion that was equally admirable and appalling.  The nation's pioneer generations were, to be sure, blessed with remarkable energy, fortitude, and boundless faith in their own prowess.  They were also grasping opportunists, ravenous in their hunger to possess the earth, who justified their sometimes brutal aggression by demeaning the humanity of the nonwhites they encountered in or imported to the New World.These visionary nation-builders proclaimed earnestly, if not quite so innocently, their own rectitude as the force behind the heroic taming of the wilderness and saw in this triumph the hand of Providence.  Their good fortune in coming upon this vast, fertile virgin land was thus transformed into a mission of continental entitlement - their "manifest destiny," as they began calling it well after the process was under way.  Yet declaring it their God-given blessing did not make it so.  As we see, luck and their foes' collective weaknesses played no less a role.In a compelling drama, vivid with humanizing detail, we watch three of the most brilliant Founding Fathers - Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and John Adams - outmaneuver British, French, and Spanish diplomats in Paris to gain far broader boundaries for the new republic than their European adversaries had desired.  Finesse, however, had little to do with General Andrew Jackson's Indian-slaughtering and disdain for the feeble Spanish garrison in capturing Florida.  Or with Secretary of State John Quincy Adams's bluff and bluster in gaining for the nation a northwest passage to the Pacific.  Or with how the single-minded James Polk, as devious and manipulative as he was bold and resolute, confected a war with Mexico and thereby amassed more land than any other U.S. President.We learn why the nation's most celebrated acquisition, France's Louisiana Territory, had little to do with Thomas Jefferson's vision and everything to do with Napoleon Bonaparte's failure to subdue black freedom fighters in the jungles of Haiti.  We learn how Sam Houston tried vainly to prevent the predictably suicidal defense of the Alamo before he could rally rowdy Texans to win their independence.  And how William Seward, in just one frenetic week, overcame political disrepute and converted a hostile U.S. Senate to approve his secret deal with tsarist Russia to buy the seemingly useless wasteland of Alaska.  And how coyly Teddy Roosevelt connived with Panamanian rebels to gain control over a strip of jungle for a great canal to enhance America's economic growth.Comprehensive and balanced, Seizing Destiny is an eye-opening reinterpretation of American history, revealing great accomplishments along with a national tendency to confuse good fortune with pretensions of moral superiority.
Reviews about Seizing Destiny: How America Grew from Sea to Shining Sea (7):
RUL
Mr. Kluger tells many good stories about westward expansion, from colonial beginnings to, say, the Panama Canal, and his accounts of diplomatic to-and-fro, whether about the Louisiana Purchase or the treaty ending the Mexican War, provide many lessons in statecraft. But there's little reach for historical objectivity, at least when he comes to the thoughts and actions of American politicians. Whereas a Napoleon or Tallyrand behaves the way rulers and their ministers "normally" do, a Jackson, Polk or Teddy Roosevelt is marked by some kind of original American sin. So, evidently, is George W. Bush, for Mr. Kluger never misses an opportunity to condemn him as a seizer of destiny--or rather a seizer of a destiny he's allegedly made up, since "destiny" as such doesn't exist. . . . Still, if one can bracket such authorial embroidery, one can learn a great deal about certain chapters in American history from this fluidly written book.
A word about the Kindle edition: It fails to search-and-find across chapters, or even within chapters. The maps do not show. And there's no index. So if you own the hardcopy, you may want to keep it for the sake of the maps and index.
LadyShlak
Very thorough. At times I did end up skipping over some of the more detailed accounts of the specific land parcels. I'm not American and my geography isn't the best so I could have done with clearer diagrams (Kindle version).
Cordabor
Don't be put off by the negative and tepid reviews; this is an exceptionally informative and entertaining book. I usually don't care for histories written by novelists (the great Shelby Foote excepted); however, this is a beautifully written account of our country's expansion. The author has the ability to encapsulate events and personalities concisely, deftly and elegantly.

Best of all, his perspective is that of a disinterested party - not the chauvinistic pap that we all had to endure in public school text books. This is not to say that he has written a preachy screed from the Howard Zinn school of victim-history. His assessments are witty and yet balanced. There are no cartoonish heros or villains here, just complex people working for their own ends.

Do yourself a favor and expand the "All editorial reviews". You will find therein not only very favorable comments from Joseph Ellis, David Kennedy, Dan Carter and others, but also a brief snippet from the book.

If you are a jingoistic "super-patriot" of the Lynne Cheney/William Bennett school, beware! This book may let too much light in.
Ytli
I'm an historian of the early American era and I found Mr. Kluger's book to be an indispensable addition to my personal library. Concise, well-researched and well-written, the author explains the political and cultural forces at work behind the scenes with the various nations and native peoples that resulted in the United States expansion from 13 Atlantic seaboard colonies to a continental colossus. That said, I can see why some of the other reviewers deride this book for its author's politically-liberal interpretation of events--Kluger IS guilty of emphasizing all the worst motives to US expansion. Still, I gave it 5 stars because he does such a great job of detailing the actual historical events, and dissecting the politics driving those events. And while he's definitely guilty of violating the historian's first rule (You can't judge people in the past by the standards of today), in his defense there is also a lot of truth in his accusations. Take the author's conclusions with a grain of salt, and this is a tremendously informative and enlightening book.
Gianni_Giant
After reading Seizing Destiny by Richard Kluger, I've revised my definition of Manifest Destiny and our nation's success in achieving it. Three cheers for Kluger for writing an interesting and educational story about the construction of our nation's borders.

Most schoolchildren can name the defining moments in establishing our national borders; the Revolutionary War, the Louisiana Purchase, the Seminole Wars, Texas Independence, the Mexican War, the Gadsden Purchase, the Alaska Purchase, and the Spanish-American War of 1898. Kluger assessed these milestone events with his own overview of each, plus a few others that don't necessarily roll off the tongue: the Anglo-American Treaties of 1818 and 1846, and the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819.

There were some really good stories about the 18th century United States that you don't hear often, particularly three about how the earliest states - aside from the original thirteen colonies - .were formed: 1) Vermont statehood, from the Wentworth Grants to the Green Mountain Boys, 2) Tennessee statehood, featuring the first governor John Sevier, and 3) the Yazoo Plungers, who opened up the Mississippi Territory.

There are also some good stories about the men who negotiated treaties for America. Over the years, I've walked into John Jay College on 10th Avenue (and 58th Street) and seen the big picture of the school's namesake in the lobby. Never had I realized his role in negotiating the Treaty of Paris that concluded the Revolutionary War. Robert Livingston, Nicholas Trist, and James Gadsden were three others who made significant contributions in negotiating the Louisiana Purchase, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and the Gadsden Purchase, respectively.

Some other reviewers have discussed the author's penchant for making modern Americans feel guilty and remorseful for the faults of past generations. I also have no desire to feel guilty about the past misdeeds of our forefathers. Yet, the warnings helped prepare me for the way the author told his story, and thus, mitigated the impact of these admonitions.

For example, our nation's treatment toward Native Americans (who weren't actually natives, but migrants from Asia) was more of a knee-jerk reaction than anything else. They are self-described warrior cultures, who use `mourning wars' to replenish their members, and torture as a way of life. Their history of picking allies rivals that of Cub fans: Indians sided with the French in the Seven Years War, and sided with the British in the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. Their atrocities, and their wars, inspired our reaction.

Nor did I feel too badly about The Mexican War, which Lincoln and Grant both called unjust. Spain didn't have more than a foot in the door in California and New Mexico, with little inclination to use the land. Mexico chose to do little with these lands as well, and they lost Texas through their own negligence.

Overall, his opinions are a small part of the book, which is a wonderful account of the expansion of America. It really is a top notch educational piece that was as fun to read as its author's views were to curse.

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