A Is for American Letters and Other Characters in the Newly United States

ISBN-10: 0375704086
ISBN-13: 9780375704086
Edition: N/A
Authors: Jill Lepore
List price: $13.00 Buy it from $9.87
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Description: What ties Americans to one another? What unifies a nation of citizens with different racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds? These were the dilemmas faced by Americans in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as they sought ways to bind the  More...

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Book details

List price: $13.00
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 2/4/2003
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.484
Language: English

What ties Americans to one another? What unifies a nation of citizens with different racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds? These were the dilemmas faced by Americans in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as they sought ways to bind the newly United States together. In A is for American, award-winning historian Jill Lepore portrays seven men who turned to language to help shape a new nation’s character and boundaries. From Noah Webster’s attempts to standardize American spelling, to Alexander Graham Bell’s use of “Visible Speech” to help teach the deaf to talk, to Sequoyah’s development of a Cherokee syllabary as a means of preserving his people’s independence, these stories form a compelling portrait of a developing nation’s struggles. Lepore brilliantly explores the personalities, work, and influence of these figures, seven men driven by radically different aims and temperaments. Through these superbly told stories, she chronicles the challenges faced by a young country trying to unify its diverse people.

Jill Lepore is an associate professor of history at Boston University. She is the author ofThe Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity, which won the Bancroft Prize, Phi Beta Kappa’s Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians’ Book Prize, and the New England Historical Association’s Book Award. She is cofounder and coeditor of the Web magazine Common-place (www.common-place.org), and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Prologue: A Likeness
Cobwebs
An American Language
A Universal Alphabet
Heathens
A National Alphabet
Natural Language
Strange Characters
Wires
Universal Communication
Visible Speech
Epilogue: Men of Progress
Abbreviations
Notes
Acknowledgments
Index

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