Donald C. Elder III (Editor)
Eastern New Mexico University, NM, US
Michael F. Shaughnessy (Editor)
Eastern New Mexico University, 1500 South Ave K, Portales, New Mexico, 88130, New Mexico, USA
Series: Distinguished Men and Women of Science, Medicine and the Arts
The Fifty Greatest Americans is a book that chronicles the individuals that have contributed mightily to our great American history, as well as to our great American culture. Working together, Dr. Donald Elder, Professor of History, and Dr. Michael Shaughnessy, Professor of Education have reviewed more than 200 years of American history and isolated the singular individuals that have made America great. Some of these individuals were involved in the founding of our nation, some were involved in the great Western American expansion (relying on the concept of manifest destiny), and some were involved in the tragic American Civil War.
These individuals were not necessarily presidents, senators, governors or congressmen. They were men and women whose contributions reverberate through all disciplines of endeavor — science, music, art, dance, theatre, literature and the like. These individuals have left their mark on our society and culture, and they were critically involved in establishing the zeitgeist of their time frame. Certainly, there will be discussions among historians as to who was inadvertently left out, and others may ponder why other individuals were included.
This, again, is what makes our country great — that there could be an open discussion among scholars, teachers, researchers and colleagues as well as a cordial, congenial debate as to the relevance and importance of each individual. Some may say that women were neglected, while others may point to a lack of certain racial, ethnic minorities. This is not to say that those individuals did not contribute to America and American culture, but that space constraints demanded a prudent judicious eye towards those individuals who will be respected and revered —if not quoted — years from now.
Using a question and answer format, the authors have attempted to focus on the main people and the main issues along with the main events in American history. The presidents of the United States have been focused upon in another book published by Nova, and thus are not included here. But these uncommon individuals, working in trying times under desperate odds, have managed to carve a niche for themselves in American history. They are loved, admired, respected and revered. It is hoped that this book will provide a road map for historians, leaders, policy makers and those individuals who are simply citizens involved in the democratic process. Some individuals are born into greatness, some achieve greatness and other have greatness thrust upon them. This book will help readers understand the complexities of greatness and the American Dream.