Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Book Review: Seizing Destiny, by Roger Kluger

Kugler has produced an epic that explains not only the how but the also the why of America's geographical growth. Beginning with colonial times, Kugler describes how the thirteen colonies came to be and how the royal crown apportioned additional lands to them, and how even these apportionments were not without controversy and disputation. This was probably the roughest terrain to cover while reading, but if you make it through, you emerge upon a lush land of dramatic exposition of America's development from a country of 895,000 square miles, located on the Atlantic seaboard to one of over 3.5 million square miles covering territory in the Caribbean, near the arctic, and in the Pacific Occean. Kugler covers in dramatic detail all the various forces - economic, religious, political - that pushed our country's frontiers to its current boundaries. There are fascinating details, like Franklin's initial demand for all of Canada to settle the revolutionary treaty with Britain, fro example.

Kugler's skillful use of dramatic metaphor brings to life what in other hands could be a dry recitation of events. Key players abound, from the well-known like Franklin and Teddy Roosevelt, to lesser lights like Robert Livingston, and especially many of the players from France, Britain and other countries. Each chapter on expansion is like a mini-drama with its own cast of characters, and its peculiar forces shaping their motives and actions. Read this book to take a quantum leap in your understanding of how and why this country came to be geographically how it is today.

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