The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West

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This book will become available on May 7, 2019. You will not be charged until it is released.

Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David McCullough rediscovers an important and dramatic chapter in the American story—the settling of the Northwest Territory by dauntless pioneers who overcame incredible hardships to build a community based on ideals that would come to define our country.

As part of the Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain recognized the new United States of America, Britain ceded the land that comprised the immense Northwest Territory, a wilderness empire northwest of the Ohio River containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A Massachusetts minister named Manasseh Cutler was instrumental in opening this vast territory to veterans of the Revolutionary War and their families for settlement. Included in the Northwest Ordinance were three remarkable conditions: freedom of religion, free universal education, and most importantly, the prohibition of slavery. In 1788 the first band of pioneers set out from New England for the Northwest Territory under the leadership of Revolutionary War veteran General Rufus Putnam. They settled in what is now Marietta on the banks of the Ohio River.

McCullough tells the story through five major characters: Cutler and Putnam; Cutler’s son Ephraim; and two other men, one a carpenter turned architect, and the other a physician who became a prominent pioneer in American science. They and their families created a town in a primeval wilderness, while coping with such frontier realities as floods, fires, wolves and bears, no roads or bridges, no guarantees of any sort, all the while negotiating a contentious and sometimes hostile relationship with the native people. Like so many of McCullough’s subjects, they let no obstacle deter or defeat them.

Drawn in great part from a rare and all-but-unknown collection of diaries and letters by the key figures, The Pioneers is a uniquely American story of people whose ambition and courage led them to remarkable accomplishments. This is a revelatory and quintessentially American story, written with David McCullough’s signature narrative energy.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
May 7, 2019
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781501168697
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 19th Century
History / United States / Revolutionary Period (1775-1800)
History / United States / State & Local / Midwest (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In 1795, New Orleans was a sleepy outpost at the edge of Spain's American empire. By the 1820s, it was teeming with life, its levees packed with cotton and sugar. New Orleans had become the unquestioned urban capital of the antebellum South. Looking at this remarkable period filled with ideological struggle, class politics, and powerful personalities, Building the Land of Dreams is the narrative biography of a fascinating city at the most crucial turning point in its history.

Eberhard Faber tells the vivid story of how American rule forced New Orleans through a vast transition: from the ordered colonial world of hierarchy and subordination to the fluid, unpredictable chaos of democratic capitalism. The change in authority, from imperial Spain to Jeffersonian America, transformed everything. As the city’s diverse people struggled over the terms of the transition, they built the foundations of a dynamic, contentious hybrid metropolis. Faber describes the vital individuals who played a role in New Orleans history: from the wealthy creole planters who dreaded the influx of revolutionary ideas, to the American arrivistes who combined idealistic visions of a new republican society with selfish dreams of quick plantation fortunes, to Thomas Jefferson himself, whose powerful democratic vision for Louisiana eventually conflicted with his equally strong sense of realpolitik and desire to strengthen the American union.

Revealing how New Orleans was formed by America’s greatest impulses and ambitions, Building the Land of Dreams is an inspired exploration of one of the world’s most iconic cities.

In Light Horse Harry Lee, Charles Royster tells the story of a man whose career embodies the visionary promises that inspired the American Revolution, as well as the inability of the revolutionary generation to put all its ideals into practice.
 
The man is Henry Lee—soldier (nicknamed “Light-Horse Harry Lee”), statesmen, landowner, historian of the young republic, member of one of the oldest and most eminent families of Virginia—who throughout his life endeavored to realize his dream of a free and prosperous America. Brilliantly examining Lee’s ambitions and achievements, Mr. Royster makes us see how, both during the war and afterward, Lee continually risked himself in the service of his vision and how again and again he failed to win the victories he sought. He shows us Lee as a young officer in the Revolution, fighting valorously and skillfully, earning renown as a patriot and a military genius—but leaving the Continental Army before the war’s end, sickened by the violence of battle and disheartened by his helplessness to mitigate it. After the war, we see Lee determined to play a central role in the new nation’s peaceful growth—serving in Congress and as governor of Virginia, promoting expansion and development through his own private business ventures. And we watch as Lee’s desperate pursuit of wealth and order for America ends tragically: in his political defeat, bankruptcy, and exile from the land he fought to free.
 
Tracing Lee’s struggles and reverses in his efforts to implement the promises of the Revolution—in his defense of the union, his opposition to Jeffersonian Republicans, his investments in land, his repeated warnings against war—Mr. Royster shows how, in extreme form, Lee exemplified in his strivings the public aspirations of America’s most politically creative era, as well as his generations collective failure to attain its vision of national grandeur and individual happiness. And it is this failure and the resultant disappointment, Mr. Royster argues, that in large part opened the way to disagreements over the nature of the Union,  culminating, finally, in the Civil War—in which the South was led by Light-Horse Harry Lee’s son, Robert E. Lee.
A New York Times Bestseller, and the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton!

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.

In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. According to historian Joseph Ellis, Alexander Hamilton is “a robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all.”

Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.Historians have long told the story of America’s birth as the triumph of Jefferson’s democratic ideals over the aristocratic intentions of Hamilton. Chernow presents an entirely different man, whose legendary ambitions were motivated not merely by self-interest but by passionate patriotism and a stubborn will to build the foundations of American prosperity and power. His is a Hamilton far more human than we’ve encountered before—from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton’s famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.

Chernow’s biography is not just a portrait of Hamilton, but the story of America’s birth seen through its most central figure. At a critical time to look back to our roots, Alexander Hamilton will remind readers of the purpose of our institutions and our heritage as Americans.

“Nobody has captured Hamilton better than Chernow” —The New York Times Book Review 

Ron Chernow's other biographies include: Grant, Washington, and Titan.
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