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Kluger, Richard. Seizing destiny; how America grew from sea to shining sea.

KLUGER, Richard. Seizing destiny; how America grew from sea to shining sea. Random House, Vintage. 649p. notes, index. c2007. 978-0-375-71298-2. $17.95. SA*

Another subtitle appears on the cover of this book: "The Relentless Expansion of American Territory." The second subtitle (used above in the bibliographic information)--"How American grew from Sea to Shining Sea"--appears on the title page. Who engineered this mood change is not clear. It would not appear to have been the author.

This is not your father's American history. As the "central premise" of his book, Kluger cites Frederick Jackson Turner's allusion to "the rapacious nature" of the early western homesteaders. For Kluger, America's destiny to expand from ocean to ocean and even beyond was not manifest; it was grabbed. He writes as a journalist rather than an academic historian, and he has deeply researched his topic. As a journalist, he is apt to express his personal opinion fairly frequently, if often in parentheses. As a historian, his bibliographical notes are book lists rather than page-by-page citations, but the reader feels secure in the sources. Each successive American land acquisition is studied in detail with colorful descriptions of the men and the politics involved.

Seizing Destiny is a highly readable and absorbing view of how America became America. It is recommended for all advanced students and teachers of American history. Patricia Moore, Chestnut Hill, MA
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Author:Moore, Patricia
Article Type:Book review
Date:Nov 1, 2008
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