Don't Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned (Anniversary Edition)
Kenneth C. Davis
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Who really discovered America? What was "the shot heard 'round the world"?
9/11: What really happened? How did America elect its first black president?
From the arrival of Columbus through the historic election of Barack Obama and beyond, Davis carries readers on a rollicking ride through more than five hundred years of American history. In this newly revised, expanded, and updated edition of the classic anti-textbook, he debunks, recounts, and serves up the real story behind the myths and fallacies of American history.
would bring America to its most dangerous moment since the war in Korea and, in the view of many historians, help create the mind-set that sucked America into the Vietnamese quicksand. It took its unlikely but historically fitting name from an obscure spot on the Cuban coast, Bahía de Cochinos. The Bay of Pigs. If the operation had not been so costly and its failed results so dangerously important to future American policy, the Bay of Pigs fiasco might seem comical, a fictional creation of some
of other products, such as plastics, fertilizers, paint, and ink, are petroleum based.) In the United States, the boycott caused mayhem. A series of energy-saving measures were instituted, from Sunday closings of gas stations to a rationing system based on license plate numbers (plates having even numbers could buy gas one day; odd-numbered plates could buy it the next). Speed limits were lowered; environmental standards were relaxed; a new generation of gasoline mileage targets were set for
Apart from the reductions made by the tax cuts, the chief culprit in the deficits was the expansion of the defense budget. Although pledged publicly to cutting the budget, Reagan was merely overseeing a massive transfer of funds from the domestic sector to the Pentagon. For years, conservatives had complained that liberal social programs had tried to solve problems by “throwing money at them.” Now, under President Reagan, the conservatives were going to solve the “weakness” of America’s defenses
James “Jemmy” Madison, who was elected in 1808 for the first of two terms. When Madison took office, war with England and perhaps with France seemed inevitable. Who were Tecumseh and the Prophet? The coming war got some provocation from one of the most remarkable Indian leaders of American history. A young Shawnee chief from the Ohio valley, Tecumseh envisioned a vast Indian confederacy strong enough to keep the Ohio River as a border between Indians and whites, preventing further westward
British withdrawal from Lake Erie. June The American frigate Chesapeake is captured by the British. Before dying, the American captain, James Lawrence, orders his men, “Don’t give up the ship.” They listened, prevailed, and the words soon become the American navy’s rallying cry. September The American fleet on Lake Erie, led by Oliver Hazard Perry, defeats a British counterpart, giving the United States control of this strategic waterway. Perry’s message to a happy President Madison: “We