The Bicentennial Almanac
Edited by Calvin D. Linton
The back cover statement of this book begins with: “You are holding a cherished book—a panorama of American life celebrating the 200th birthday of America. Relive year-by-year, and month-by-month the important, the unusual, and the everyday events that shaped our nation’s first two hundred years. Many books highlight the outstanding or critical years in American life … The Bicentennial Almanac is filled not only with the events of major years, but with the little known, almost forgotten fragments, that form a 200-year diary of America.” (italics are mine).
This is a description of a wonderful book published by Thomas Nelson in 1976 for our country’s Bicentennial celebration. As a writer, I enjoy gleaning those bits of information about unusual or nearly forgotten experiences or people that can provide ideas for an original story line or theme.
Like a diary, the Bicentennial Almanac notes real people that influenced this country for good or bad, the natural disasters that befell us, the dangers of westward expansion, and behind-the-scenes political and financial maneuverings that dragged America into major wars.
This book is well-illustrated with the earliest photos and paintings of people and events; including a photo of the actual headlines and front page copy about the sinking of the Titanic in the Chicago Daily Tribune. Or see photos from the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. On a lighter note, I’d never known that Meriwether Lewis (of the Lewis & Clark Expedition) had actually acted as mid-wife for Sacagawea, their Native American guide.
Obtaining a copy: I purchased this book a few years back at a library book sale (a great place to hang out). It's available on Amazon, Google books and eBay, or check out your local libraries. My county library system still has two of them to loan, but since they’re older copies, they may not remain on the shelves for many more years. My rating: 4.5 stars (information good, but I caught a couple of printing errors).