"Armstrong’s latest book, The American Story, is a treasure. You can dip into the pages and emerge with a stand-alone gem of a tale, but it also follows a logical, linked narrative. “I tried very hard to make the stories that readers can infer greater and more complex stories as they make their way through the book,” says the author. Armstrong is a luminous storyteller, and the episodes she recounts will kindle a certain patriotic awe, but she doesn’t shy from tragedy either. Just as Paul Revere
electrifies the midnight air outside Boston, the Donner Party ushers readers into a particularly primal moment in the development of the nation. “The effort to be inclusive and comprehensive without at the same time being tediously general and simplistic—all in the course of just 100 stories—was an exhilarating challenge,” says Armstrong. She meets the challenge with aplomb by casting a wide net: Athletes share the stage with abolitionists, artists with explorers, astronauts with two crazy scientists on a windy beach in Kitty Hawk. As a satisfying whole, these 100 stories describe a tangible arc of American history."
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