- Timeline Book
An easy to use reference tool and trivia quiz for the history buff in your life from junior high school age students to adults.
FAQ Q&A with Staff @ Americasbesthistory.com
How Many Historic Events Are Listed?Well, it was the goal of the staff to distill the most important historic events of each year down to five, and most years that's the number included. Not that many prior to 1700, and a few more in a small number of years after that.
Is this an academic or scholarly book?Not to us. It was our goal to provide a context to history that often times gets overlooked when we dive into the details. Look, we love the details and the complexity. However, what we've noticed more than anything over the last twenty years or so is that we've lost, as a nation, the general knowledge of who, what, when, and where. Perhaps this book will help with that. Perhaps not. But no, we don't think of it as scholarly, but there is a lot of information included. I wouldn't buy this for a history professor, but it might be useful for their student or the general person interested in how the history of the USA evolved.
What prompted you to put together a timeline like this, either on the website or in book form?Jay Leno. Waters World. We were tired of seeing college students think the Civil War happened in 1957. Or that the Star-Spangled banner was written during the Revolutionary War.
Why don't most people find history interesting?I actually think they do, it's just that they don't think the teaching of history is interesting and most times it isn't. There's no need for that. History can be a dynamic thing. It's why we urge people to visit historic sites and take part in those events. You have a teenage girl with little desire to learn history walk Pickett's Charge with 15,000 people with cannons booming and reenactors marching, and you can almost bet they'll be back ten years later with their own children telling that story.
How did you choose what events to put in the timeline?It's personal preference of the staff and editor. We tried to focus not only on the political, but on any event that had a major impact on society at that time, or ended up having an even bigger import in the future. The fact that Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb's record for hits is important, because more people focused on that at the time, in that year, than other historic events.
Is there a focus here on certain events that wouldn't be included in most timelines?Off the top of our heads, I think there are three. One, we focus on natural history as well as the people history. History is made in our national parks and lands, as well as in Washington. Two, we provide census information, in a very basic way, at the beginning of each decade, because we think it adds to the context of how the nation grew. Three, there's more focus on the events of world expositions than some would, mainly because we like the topic, but also because they were the timekeepers of progress in the year they were held. When Bell, Edison, McCormick, Corliss, and Otis all show up in Philadelphia in 1776 for the Centennial, the world then knew they were getting the phone, phonograph, reaper, industrial engines, and the elevator. We've all been using them for quite some time and the impact of them on society and history has been gigantic.
Are the criticism of some that you do not footnote each entry valid?Yes. But we made a conscience effort to not take that approach. Let's not bore the public with details about sourcing before they know the information. And you know, facts are facts. They are not owned by anyone and these facts are widely available in almost any history book. We're not reinventing the wheel here or the elevator. And as we've found out in even the most footnoted history books of the past, they still get things wrong. History books prior to 1950 did a really bad job teaching the accuracy of minority history, taking a perspective that nobody thinks, well, almost nobody thinks, is accurate today. And they were probably footnoted.
What is your favorite era of the book?We're partial to the settling of the american west through the Civil War. And sometimes wish that we lived in that time, as long as we could figure out how to bring along a computer, tv, and the internet.
How do you think people will view the book?Some will like it. Some won't. Some will use it as we intend, to provide that context to how history unfolded in the United States. Others will use it as a trivia book. There may be some who use it as a doorstop. For those in categories one and two, we hope you enjoy it. For those in category three, we hope it works effectively in the manner you intend. But it probably won't.
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More About the Book
The information provided within the America's Best History Timeline in both the ebook and paperback was gleaned from various sources, as well as the knowledge and experience of the America's Best History staff, and should not be considered a scholarly work per se, but as a jumping off point for the reader to go into more detail about a particular topic of their interest. Don't expect footnotes or detailed analysis; that's not what the timeline is. It is, for the most part, a collection of the five most important events in the years of our history, from pre-Revolutionary War times to the present day, that can provide context to our history and information about how it unfolded.
Check out the Q&A with the staff at americasbesthistory.com about the America's Best History Timeline Book Full Interview.
For the history of baseball, check out our friends at Stat Geek Baseball and Baseballevaluation where they put the stats from 1871 to today in context. Stats you can get nowhere else, plus the books, Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book and Fields of Gold, Baseball's Best Glove Work.