American Colonies: The Settling of North AmericaThe Penguin History of the United States
Eric Foner, general editor


About the Penguin History of the United States

The Penguin History of the United States narrates, in five volumes, the main themes of American development that takes into account the results of the recent revolution in scholarship. Written by historians who have already produced significant monographs and are well positioned to undertake broader interpretative accounts of their periods of expertise, the books will be approximately 500 pages each. The volumes will inevitably be personal interpretations that stand by themselves; there will be no attempt to impose on them an artificial uniformity. But taken together, they will offer students, fellow historians, and a broad readership outside the academic world a coherent and accessible account of American history from the earliest days of settlement. While no series can ever claim to be "definitive," I would expect these volumes to stand for many years as authoritative and widely read accounts of the American past.

Each volume will offer an up-to-date synthetic, analytical narrative of a major era within American history. Although political history (with "political" being understood in the broadest and most imaginative sense and encompassing the public activity of those within and outside the sphere of government) will provide the backbone of most of the volumes, these will not be presidential syntheses of an old kind. Social, cultural, and intellectual history will be integral to the volumes, as will the history of women, the family, and race relations. Of course, the precise interpretive approach and balance between subthemes and topics will be determined by the individual authors. But certain concerns will recur in each of the books, among them the ongoing transformation of the American economy and relations between labor and capital; struggles over political inclusion and the nature of American citizenship; the changing status of women in American society; the evolving composition of the American people and patterns and institutions of race and ethnic relation; and the role of the United States as an international power. They will explore how aspirations such as freedom, equality, and democracy have both provided a common political language and been a continuing source of dispute as different groups have infused them with different meanings.


About Eric Foner

Eric FonerEric Foner is DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University. A winner of the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates, Foner is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the British Academy. He has served terms as President of both the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians.


The Books

Vol. 1 American Colonies: The Settling of North America
by Alan Taylor
See the table of contents and read more about the Penguin paperback.

With this volume, Alan Taylor challenges the traditional story of colonial history by examining the many cultures that helped make America. Transcending the usual Anglocentric version of our colonial past, he recovers the importance of Native American tribes, African slaves, and the rival empires of France, Spain, the Netherlands, and even Russia in the colonization of North America. Moving beyond the Atlantic seaboard to examine the entire continent, American Colonies reveals a pivotal period in the global interaction of peoples, cultures, plants, animals, and microbes. In a vivid narrative, Taylor draws upon cutting-edge scholarship to create a timely picture of the colonial world characterized by an interplay of freedom and slavery, opportunity and loss.

Available now.

Vol. 2 Making the American Nation: the Revolution & the early National Period (1763-1848)
by Jan Lewis, professor of history, Rutgers University, author of The Pursuit of Happiness: Family and Values in Jefferson's; An Emotional History of the United States; Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson: History, Memory, and Civic Culture; and Making a Nation: The United States and Its People.


Vol. 3 Imperial Nationhood and Its Discontents (1848-1900)
by Steven Hahn, Nichols Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania. Hahn is the author of The Roots of Southern Populism, and most recently, A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration, which was awarded the Bancroft Prize and the Pulitzer Prize in 2004. He is also coeditor of The Countryside in the Age of Capitalist Transformation, and Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, Land and Labor in 1865. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, and is an elected member of the Society of American Historians.


Vol. 4 The Making of 20th Century America (1900-1941)
by George Sanchez, Associate Professor of History and the Progam in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He also serves as the Director of the Chicano/Latino Studies Program at USC. He holds a doctorate from Stanford and has taught at the UCLA and the University of Michigan before coming to USC. His book, Becoming Mexican American received numerous awards, including awards from the Western History Association, the Immigration History Society, and the Southern California Historical Society


Vol. 5 World War II and Postwar America (1941-present)
by Joshua Freeman Associate Professor of history, Queens College (City University of New York), has a Ph.D.from Rutgers University and is a noted American labor history specialist. His other books include Working-Class New York: Life and Labor Since World War II, A New York Times notable book; and In Transit: The Transport Workers Union in New York City, 1933-1966.