Book of the Week: The Men Who United the States – Simon Winchester

A new book by Simon Winchester is always an event. He’s a fabulous explainer, writing books that knit together science, politics and history to explain to uncover the significance of something. Previous topics include volcanic eruption, earthquake, the Atlantic Ocean, maps, geology and the Oxford English dictionary. At the heart of all these books are the scientists, the everymen and the driven eccentrics who change the world.

Given his skill set, Winchester has landed on just about the perfect topic this time: How technology not only networked but actually the created the United States. And by using the words technology and networked, I’m not talking about the latest computer operating system du jour; I’m talking canoes and telegraphs and the engineering marvel we take for granted these days, the interstate highway system. With illustrations throughout and maps on the endpapers, this is a not only a great read but one of the first great candidates for the holiday gift tables.

Winchester will be interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition on October 12th and reviews are forthcoming in the NYTBR, Boston Globe and Seattle Times to start.

Winchester’s latest history profiles a huge cast of eclectic characters who helped transform America from a cluster of colonies to a unified nation through the taming of the wilderness and the expansion of the country’s infrastructure…..[He] masterfully evokes the excitement of the nation’s early days—when opportunity and possibility were manifest in uncharted mountains and new technologies…. Winchester, a Brit who recently became an American citizen, also incorporates personal travel anecdotes to comment on pivotal locations. This bold decision is the key to the book’s greatest achievement: conveying the large-scale narrative of unification via the small-scale experience of the individual—the creation of a people by the agglomeration of persons.”
Publishers Weekly

“Winchester provides surprising insights into our social history, further enriching his narrative with accounts of his personal odysseys around the country. The results are highly recommended for public and school libraries and all readers looking for new and stimulating perspectives on the history of America.”
Library Journal

“Simon Winchester never disappoints, and The Men Who United the States is a lively and surprising account of how this sprawling piece of geography became a nation. This is America from the ground up. Inspiring and engaging.”
Tom Brokaw

The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible (9780062079602) by Simon Winchester. $29.99 hardcover. 10/15/13 one day laydown.

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