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What Every American Should Know About American History:
If you've ever thought American history was as dry as the dust on an old battlefield, guess again. This engaging collection of 200 bite-sized-yet-satisfying descriptions of pivotal events includes "Leif Ericson Explores Vinland," "The American Revolution Begins," "Montgomery Ward Starts a Mail-order Business," "Betty Friedan Publishes The Feminine Mystique," and "The Cold War Ends." As Axelrod and Phillips state in their introduction, "all are events any American should know about and appreciate to understand fully his or her own pursuit of happiness, the foundation of that elusive American dream so often celebrated in our literature and so seldom fulfilled in our history." And what about the 201st event? The afterword offers the Gulf War, the Rodney King trial, and even Johnny Carson's retirement from the Tonight Show as candidates. As the authors explain, "Significant events are more often like good wines; they age well and taste better later." [via]