Wilfred M. McClayFeb 12, 2021
Land of Hope
An Invitation to the Great American Story
Encounter Books 2021
Attention high school teachers of American history! Listen up, homeschooling parents of adolescents. General readers in need of a comprehensive history of the United States, have I got the book for you.
Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story by Wilfred M. McClay is a beautifully organized, approachable, moving chronicle of the American nation from just before the Age of Exploration all the way down to the advent of the Trump administration. It is reader-friendly without being at all dumbed down. This nonideological, brisk narrative is winning plaudits from both the left and the right for its adherence to the facts and its fairmindedness.
It’s a darned good read.
Land of Hope is an entertaining but substantive primer on the basic events and developments in American history. In a time of furor and rancor over the origins of the nation, this is the book we all need.
From the religious events in Europe that led to the settlement of the vast American continent to engaging explanations of the British blunders that led to the American Revolution to the antebellum political scene and the political and military repercussions of clashes such as the Battle of Antietam and the tragedy of Reconstruction—that’s all here. So are key moments and milestones such as the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement. The book introduces the young to what is ancient history for them—the Nixon and Reagan administrations, say.
The book is jam-packed with every sort of history at play in its lively pages: military, social, cultural and literary, technological and so on.
An especially illuminating aspect of the book for everyone in every corner of the country is the way it presents the growth of the United States as a geographical entity and examines how the landscape shaped the nation and the many regional identities within it and when and how we became a union, state by state. The maps alone are worth the price of the book.
We are in the hands of a master historian. Take up his invitation by all means. You’ll be glad you did. Let’s hear what Professor McClay has to say about the book.
Give a listen.
Hope J. Leman is a grants researcher.