50 Great American Places : Essential Historic Sites Across the U.S.
by Brent D. Glass and David McCullough

Overview - A one-of-a-kind guide to fifty of the most important cultural and historic sites in the United States guaranteed to fascinate, educate, and entertain--selected and described by the former director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.  Read more...

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More About 50 Great American Places by Brent D. Glass; David McCullough
A one-of-a-kind guide to fifty of the most important cultural and historic sites in the United States guaranteed to fascinate, educate, and entertain--selected and described by the former director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

From Massachusetts to Florida to Washington to California, 50 Great American Places takes you on a journey through our nation's history. Sharing the inside stories of sites as old as Mesa Verde (Colorado) and Cahokia (Illinois) and as recent as Silicon Valley (California) and the Mall of America (Minnesota), each essay provides the historical context for places that represent fundamental American themes: the compelling story of democracy and self-government; the dramatic impact of military conflict; the powerful role of innovation and enterprise; the inspiring achievements of diverse cultural traditions; and the defining influence of the land and its resources. Expert historian Brent D. Glass explores these themes by connecting places, people, and events and reveals a national narrative that is often surprising, sometimes tragic, and always engaging--complete with photographs, websites for more information, and suggestions for other places nearby worth visiting.

Sites you would expect to read about--in Boston, New York, and Washington, DC--are here, as well as plenty of surprises, such as the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, or Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, or the Village Green in Hudson, Ohio; less obvious places that, together with the more well-known destinations, collectively tell the story of America. For families who want to take a trip that is both educational and entertaining, for history enthusiasts, or anyone curious about our country's greatest places, this book is the perfect guide.

  • ISBN-13: 9781451682038
  • ISBN-10: 1451682034
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publish Date: March 2016
  • Page Count: 320
  • Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.65 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Travel > United States - General
Books > Travel > Museums, Tours, Points of Interest
Books > Travel > Special Interest - General

BookPage Reviews

Hitting the rowdy road

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! 

With summer fast approaching, it’s time to make plans for that great American tradition: the family road trip. Three new books will help you plan your itinerary for an unforgettable adventure.

What better place to spend a family vacation than one of our grand and glorious national parks? This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park System, a centennial that’s being celebrated with several new books, including Lonely Planet’s National Parks of America. From Acadia to Zion, this beautifully illustrated volume includes a multipage section on each of the 59 national parks, with “toolbox” tips on the best time to go, where to stay and what to see and do. Stunning photographs—from molten lava in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to Giant Sequoia trees in Kings Canyon—offer readers a before-you-go glimpse of the scenic wonders they’ll encounter. This is an excellent introduction to our priceless park system and might be best used as a first step in deciding which parks grab the imaginations of the young travelers in your family.

If your goal is planning a trip that’s educational as well as fun, consider the destinations in 50 Great American Places by Brent D. Glass, director emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. This well-written and carefully curated guide to our country’s “Essential Historic Sites” includes fascinating historical details about tried-and-true stops such as Boston’s Freedom Trail and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. But Glass also ventures further afield with unexpected choices like Willa Cather’s childhood home near Red Cloud, Nebraska, where the author soaked up impressions of the prairie that would color her acclaimed novels. In the book’s foreword, historian David McCullough recalls how early visits to historic sites influenced his career choice (“the experience opened my mind and imagination to history as nothing yet had”) and later provided lasting memories for his own children.

Music may soothe the savage beast, but nothing silences a car full of restless kids (and weary adults) like something good to eat. Great American Eating Experiences aims to acquaint readers with “delicious fare originating from across the 50 states, in small towns and city neighborhoods where tradition, creativity, and inspiration have created foods found nowhere else.” Organized by region and state, this colorful and mouthwatering guide catalogs the best local delicacies in each area and where to find them, with entries on such specialties as whoopie pie in Maine and the Juicy Lucy burger in Minnesota. You’ll also find pointers to food festivals, soda fountains, diners and more.


This article was originally published in the May 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

BAM Customer Reviews