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FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
American Catholic Historical Society
Book Reviews. Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia. Volume XII. Pages...
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Book Reviews. Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia. Volume XII. Pages 237-240.
11 January 2014
Philadelphia : American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia
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BOOK REVIEWS. AT the date of its appearance, 1871, the BRIEF HISTORY or THE UNITED STATES, by J. Dorman Steele and Esther B. Steele, was, perhaps, as attractive in appearance as any text- book on that subject before the American people. When the work passed from the care of A. S. Barnes & Co. to that of the American Book Company it not only was not suffered to fall behind the times as to the revision of its text, but it was greatly improved in appearance until it has become in its latest edition about the most attractive history of the United States that we have yet examined. The enterprise of the American Book Company, however, has not been able to sup- ply some evident deficiencies. These are “ structural,” so to speak, and it would therefore be almost impossible entirely to remove them. Some of its illustrations are of decided merit, and all are carefully selected with an eye to vivifying the theme. There is little originality in the maps, though they have the merit of always bearing upon the text. On the old method of writing school histories Barnes’ would not soon be superseded. Scarcely forty pages are devoted to the period of exploration and discovery; the important epoch following is even more scantily treated; if there is any period in American history that requires an ample narrative, it is the time of our colonial development. The French wars are touched lightly. A more ample narrative is properly reserved for the Revolution, and in this part little is desired. The limitations of this work become more apparent as we reach the beginning of the national era. The influence of inventions upon the political life of Americans, such, for in- stance, as the cotton-gin, the steamboat, and the electric tele- graph, are either not mentioned at all or are not suliiciently emphasized. Industrial progress has put new interpretations 237