The Uniting States: The Story of Statehood for the Fifty United States. 3 vols. Greenwood. 2004. 1434p. ed. by Benjamin F. Shearer. maps. index. ISBN 0-313-33105-7. $225. REF

     Historians and state lovers rejoice. Shearer (State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols) brings us his expertise in a new form. The essays in this three-volume set bestow upon readers a wonderful history of our country. To those who wish to learn more about a particular state, the essays provide rich detail and can act as a starting point for deeper research. To those who wish to learn more about the history of the country, the essays combine to paint a colorful picture, from a viewpoint few outside upper-lewel and graduate history courses ever see. Detailed, well written, and quite appearing, the essays comprise bite-sized overview of each state, discussions of such issues as a state's populations at statehood and the origin of the state's name, and a map showing its location. Between the introduction and conclusion each essay is a different animal, based on the state and the scholar who wrote it. BOTTOM LINE  This superb set is essential for historians, history buffs, and anyone looking for a unique perspective on how our country came to be what it is today. Recomended for all libraries.

                                               Manya Chylinski, Boston
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