10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America
This nonfiction work does not include the obvious, such as July 4, 1776, December 7, 1941, or other dates on which world-shaking events took place. The days and events chosen are the subtle beginnings, the catalysts, that propelled America onto paths that forced decisions and choices, some good, some questionable, but all with tremendous effects on America and, in some cases, the world. For example, on September 17, 1862, the Union and Confederate armies fought the Battle of Antietam Creek. Besides being a turning point in the war, it encouraged Lincoln to issue his Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863. Included in the remaining nine days are: January 25, 1787, when Shays’ Rebellion led to the drafting of the Bill of Rights; McKinley’s assassination, on September 6, 1901; the letter Albert Einstein wrote to President Roosevelt on July 16, 1939, which influenced the creation of the atomic bomb.
Gillon has written this book as a companion to the ten-hour documentary that aired on The History Channel during April 2006. While always informative and sometimes entertaining, the narrative style is dry. It is primarily a study guide, and as such is worth reading.