December 16, 2017

Book: The Men Who United the States

Author Simon Winchester, a Brit who studied geology at Oxford has gone on to be one of the world’s most interesting and prolific history writers with best sellers such at “The Professor and the Madman” and “Atlantic.” His first foray into American History is “The Men Who United the States,” an account of the many people who helped forge a country that eventually extended from sea to shining sea. Thomas Jefferson who made the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark, the explorers he sent to map the new west are mentioned, but so are dozens of lesser known individuals like Thomas Hutchins, our first Geographer of the U. S. or John Stevens who invented the first steam locomotive.

Winchester has divided the book into five sections: wood, earth, water, fire and metal, his attempt to organize such a vast amount of information. For the most part it allows us to organically follow the explorers, business entrepeneurs, government appointees and inventors as they fashion a nation built to last. The prose is detailed, but this is a fascinating account of the creation  of railroad lines, interstate highways, the telegraph, electrification and countless other endeavors that knit our country together to the present day.

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