Book Club: Winning of America Series

Here’s a book review submitted by one of our readers:

I highly recommend reading the Winning of America series, by Allan W. Eckert.  Do not be put off by the size of these books.  (Each one is approximately 700-800 pages)  These books are fact, not fiction, but written in narrative form, which makes for fast, interesting reading.  From the Intro of each book:  “Every incident described actually occurred; every date is historically accurate; every character regardless of how major or how minor, actually lived the role in which he is portrayed.” 
The author’s research for each book is impressive, evident by the wealth of documentation (footnotes, explanatory notes, and bibliographies) included.  If your ancestors were pioneers or among those who settled in the U.S. as each area opened for settlement, you may very well find the names and activities of these ancestors in one of the books.  For instance, in
The Frontiersmen I discovered the date my fourth great-grandfather emigrated from Pennsylvania to Kenton’s station in Kentucky.  I further learned that he was a Captain in Kenton’s Kentucky militia and likely participated in many of the incidents documented in this book.  Also, until I read Wilderness Empire, I didn’t know that one of his sons-in-law was a very famous frontier spy and the date and circumstance of his death are provided.  The bibliography is a real treasure. 
The series includes the following books in the order they were written, but it is not necessary to read them in this order: 
The Frontiersmen, Wilderness Empire, The Conquerors, The Wilderness War, Gateway to Empire, and Twilight of Empire.  In addition, his book that is not in this series, That Dark and Bloody River, is a must for anyone with ancestors who settled in the Ohio River Valley.  One caution–these books are not for the squeamish.  Atrocities committed by both Europeans and Indians against each other are vividly described. 
Nancy Masterson

6 thoughts on “Book Club: Winning of America Series

  1. I agree with Nancy’s recommendation of Eckert’s books. There is so much of American history that has been “glossed over” in our schools and these books are a real education.

  2. I would also recommend the series, “The Oxford History of the United States”. I have just finished the volume, “What Hath God Wrought”, which covers the period from the War of 1812 to just before the Civil War. Scholarly and well documented I found it fascinating reading.

  3. I agree wholeheartedly. I got my copies at Half-price Books and but I wish they were back in publication. I have recommended them to scores of people and heard one genealogist suggest that it was The Best Way to go through the Draper Manuscripts, Eckert having already mined them and footnoted the book with references to the manuscripts. I read the books with two bookmarks, one for the text, one for the footnotes.

  4. For anyone needing accurate North Carolina history, which is
    written as Allan Eckert writes (history in exhilerating narrative form), go to Inglis Fletcher’s Carolina Series. They include
    Raleigh’s Eden, Men of Albemarle, Lusty Wind for Carolina,
    Toil of the Brave, Roanoke Hundred, Bennett’s Welcome, Queen’s Gift. ==They are great!!!!
    Sibyl Baker

  5. Thank you all for taking the time to recommend these books! They are new to me, and will be included in my history reading list. My special interests are colonial America in New England and Philadelphia/South Jersey.

  6. I agree, as an inhabitant of Europe (The Netherlands) these books are so wel written that all comes alive, even if you do not live in your beautifull country. I have read the first 3 volumes and for sure I will buy and read the other ones in this series. I must however confess that sometimes the storytelling is so vivid and therefore so cruel regarding unbelievable atrocities committed by especially the Indians that it makes me a little sick in the stomach, but that’s my problem.

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