In the 1780s, four Founding Fathers diagnosed flaws in the recently signed Articles of Confederation and became determined to modify the charter. Prizewinning author Joseph J. Ellis explains how George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison helped orchestrate the long, complex political process that ultimately resulted in the Constitutional Convention and the Bill of Rights.
After successfully leading the Revolutionary War, George Washington came out of retirement to lead the country once again—this time through the Constitutional Convention. Historian and author Edward J. Larson explores how the man of duty reluctantly came to preside over the convention, mediate the fractious states, and, as a result, help secure our republic’s future.
On April 11, 1865, only two days after Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Abraham Lincoln gave his final public address. Using this speech, author and Civil War historian Louis P. Masur traces the evolution of Lincoln’s ideas and debate over reconstruction policies during the war, allowing us to walk the path that brought him and the nation to reunion.
How do wars end? A century-and-a-half ago, Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox and set the standard for the “gentlemanly” stacking of arms. But did Grant actually give up too much in return for peace on April 9, 1865? Were too many Confederate leaders spared and the plight of African-American refugees ignored? Or, conversely, did Grant’s relentless and bloody fighting that month destroy a generation of Southern white men?
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 was the pivotal catalyst for World War I, but it was preceded by decades of rising tensions and crises. Award-winning historian Margaret MacMillan provides a thoughtful retrospective on how the actions of numerous nations and leaders as well as ideas and values contributed to the outbreak of the First World War.
In addition to reforming American economic and foreign policy, President Woodrow Wilson inaugurated an astounding number of practices and programs that still survive—from the Federal Reserve System to the legacies of World War I.
Bestselling author Amy Tan—internationally recognized for her books exploring themes of family and self-identity within the Chinese-American experience—discusses her accomplished career and how her own personal stories as the daughter of Chinese immigrants influence her novels.