BOOK REVIEW: Moments That Made America: From the Ice Age to the Alamo by Geoff Armstrong (Nonfiction)

Moments That Made America:
From the Ice Age to the Alamo
Geoff Armstrong
Genre: American History
Publisher: History Publishing Company
Date of Publication: October 15, 2018
Number of Pages: 236

If logic means anything, there should be no such nation as the United States of America. Except for a remarkable set of circumstances, some of them bordering on the miraculous, the United States should not exist. The fact that this unique nation is here at all, defies rational explanation.

From its geological birth during the breakup of the Pangaea super continent, millions of years ago, through America’s independence from the British super power, to the approach of the bloody civil war that ended slavery and killed more Americans than all its other wars combined, this first book in the series of three, shines a light on those early defining moments that profoundly shaped the nation and its people – crucial tipping points that worked inexorably to mold and make America. This part of the story culminates in 1850, just as the world reacts to the discovery of gold in California, America’s latest success in fulfilling its dream of Manifest Destiny. The next book in the series of three is called, From Civil War to Superpower. The third book will take the American story from that world changing moment at Kitty Hawk through the election of 2016.

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.

While I’m not one to immediately reach for a historical nonfiction book, I was intrigued by the premise and what insights the author would offer regarding Texas History and the Alamo. By focusing on the serendipity of events that largely explain how the United States came to be, I quickly became invested with the entirety of its presentation, and actually look forward to reading the subsequent titles in the series.

This unique approach to discussing history is incredibly entertaining, especially as a way to appeal to readers jaded by the history they learned in school. Additionally, at a little over 200 pages, this well written book is easily readable in one sitting, but packs a mighty scholastic punch with the facts that it details. Supplementing the narrative with historical documents added authenticity to the argument, but never weighed it down or drowned the message out. The writing is informative without being overwhelming, dry, or monotonous in its presentation, allowing readers to stay engaged throughout the learning experience in a manner that most history books will not. Shaping each moment around Providence facilitated a fascinating approach to the storytelling that remained cohesive and connected from beginning to end. Reflecting on Benedict Arnold’s treason, the author remarks that Arnold spent his remaining days in England “reviled even there as a man who betrayed his country for a few pieces of silver.” Now, I will always see him standing right alongside Judas for the remainder of my days! Whether a Divine manifest on the roots of the United States or an entertaining history book with religious overtones, this book was well done and has broad appeal to any type of reader, including younger audiences.

Overall, this book greatly enhanced my understanding of American history and I look forward to reading more of these associations as the story moves into the modern era.
Geoff Armstrong began his teaching career in 1965 after receiving a teaching diploma from McGill University’s Macdonald College. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Montreal’s Concordia University in 1967 where his major field of study was history. Armstrong credits writers such as Bruce Catton, and Thomas B. Costain, as well as the encouragement of his father who had little formal education, but a deep love of reading and of history, as the inspiration for his own life-long interest.

Throughout a 25-year teaching career he taught history at several grade levels and learned quickly that to reach the hearts of his students, history had to be made immediately and deeply relevant and accessible: that some event that took place centuries before those students were born had a direct and profound influence on every aspect their lives. He also learned that talking down or writing down to his students was a recipe for defeat. It is this awareness, shaped by a quarter century of teaching and countless questions by thousands of intelligent young people that has informed and shaped his writing.

You can visit his website at www.MomentsThatMadeAmerica.com.
Many thanks to Geoff Armstrong and Pump Up Your Book Blog Tours! It was a pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting!

And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

Monday, April 15

Book Feature & Tour Kickoff at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Wednesday, April 17

Book Featured at What Is That Book About

Thursday, April 18

Book Featured at I’m Shelf-ish

Monday, April 22

Book Featured at C.A. Milson’s Author Blog

Thursday, April 25

Book Featured at Nuttin’ But Books

Friday, April 26

Book Featured at Write and Take Flight

Monday, May 6

Interview at The Book Connection

Tuesday, May 7

Book Featured at Readeropolis

Wednesday, May 8

Book Featured at Write and Take Flight

Thursday, May 9

Interview at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic

Monday, May 13

First Chapter Reveal at The Dark Phantom Reviews

Tuesday, May 14

Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Wednesday, May 15

Interview at The Writer’s Life e-Magazine

Friday, May 17

Book Teaser Featured at PUYB Book Teasers

Monday, May 20

Guest Blogging at Dear Reader, Love Author

Tuesday, May 21

Interview at As the Pages Turn

Wednesday, May 22

First Chapter Reveal at Read My First Chapter

Thursday, May 23

Book Featured at The Literary Nook

Monday, May 27

Guest Blogging at Blogging Authors

Tuesday, May 28

Interview at Beyond the Books

Friday, May 31

Book Featured at SheWrites

Monday, June 3

Interview at The Dark Phantom Reviews

Thursday, June 6

Interview at Literarily Speaking

Monday, June 10

Book Review at That’s What She’s Reading

Wednesday, June 12

Interview at I’m Shelf-ish

Thursday, June 13

Book Review at Literarily Speaking

Friday, June 14

Book Review at Cassandra M’s Place

Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Book Review at The Book Connection

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