A while ago I heard a piece on NPR on this book about books, and it really grabbed my attention. I even spent 10 minutes sitting in my car in a driveway, so I could hear it completely and not miss a thing. What Jay Parini did is of all the numerous American books and publications he chose 13 that both captured the zeitgeist and at the same time shaped the future of the American nation and made it as we know it today.
Pretty soon I was listening to the “Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” on my iPhone and really enjoyed it. Later I purchased the “Promised Land” book itself to my Kindle and read it. While all 13 books mentioned are well known few can boast that they’ve actually read them all. I can’t.
I would strongly recommend “Promised Land:Thirteen Books That Changed America” for reading even if you did read all 13 books mentioned, because not only it gives you an overview of these books but also goes into great detail about the context in which these books appeared and how they affected the public. It is one of the most educational books that I’ve read.
And of course this post woudn’t be complete without mentioning the 13 that made the list:
- Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford
- The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay
- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
- The Journals of Lewis and Clark (Lewis & Clark Expedition) by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
- Walden by Henry David Thoreau
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
- The Promised Land by Mary Antin
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care by Benjamin Spock
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
- The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
Unfortunately not all of the 13 are available as Kindle editions.