Tuesday, November 18, 2008

For Foreigners Only

This is the back cover of Timeline of America. Click on the image to enlarge it for easier reading. Timeline is a very good beginning for people in other countries to learn about American culture. The book offers a fun and easy read as a cram course for anyone planning a trip to the U.S.

Would you like to immerse yourself into American culture? You can have a quick reference guide to the best of the many events, inventions, products, and other data that have most influenced the land of the free and the home of the brave. A timeline of each of the major elements of American culture would bring the vast country into perspective. Would you like to have one small volume that contains the best of everything that America has been about since its inception? Travel guides and maps of the United States have always been available to anyone anywhere in the world. Magazines have offered snapshots of particular moments in time in American history. Tour guides and travelogues have presented visual statements. Many books have covered various specific elements of American culture. None have more accurately compressed the highlights of five-hundred years of Americana into 300 pages.

Timeline of America tells the story in eleven chapters. Each of the first ten chapters includes a detailed timeline specific to the nature of the subject of that chapter, as well as very candid stories and articles about specific elements of America's vast culture. The final chapter is composed of a 500-question trivia quiz about the aspects discussed in the other ten chapters.

The whole story is told from the perspective of an ordinary American who is not a professional journalist, academic, or celebrity. The majority of the material is concentrated within the past fifty years, the time frame of the Baby Boomer Generation. The sheer volume of the subject matter included is astounding for the size of the book. Many items are simply mentioned or listed; others are described in detail; and yet others are included at a level somewhere in between. The intent of the book is to capture the essence of America. The perspective goes all the way back to 1492 from 2006. Reading the timelines will bring continual reminiscences back to the surface of consciousness. The stories will take you back to a kinder, gentler time and the more recent references will bring you back to the current reality. Timeline of America is not a conventionally dry history book. The items and issues mentioned inside its covers had to be fun to read about, or they were left on the cutting room floor. This book is a time machine into the depths of what makes Americans Americans.

Excerpts from the timelines in Timeline of America

Three years have been excerpted from each of the ten timelines in the book. The actual timelines begin as early as 1492 and conclude as late as 2006. Text from assorted stories and articles in the book has not been excerpted here. Most of the later years of each timeline contain far higher volumes of text than the brief years listed in these excerpts.

1608 – Bowling is banned in Jamestown.
1620 – The first public library is established. The Mayflower gets blown off course and lands in Massachusetts. The Mayflower crew leaves the remaining Pilgrims in MA because the crew does not have enough beer on board to take the passengers to Virginia, and then sail back to England!
1628 – The first orgy with Indian women is held in Quincy, MA. Thomas Morton is the first person deported from the U.S.

1775 – Flush toilet invented
1776 – First American ice cream parlor opens in New York
1792 – The first cologne, 4711 Eau de Cologne, sold at a shop at 4711 Glockengasse in Cologne, West Germany

1885 – First gasoline pump
1888 – First electric automobile
1893 – First U.S.-built, gas-propelled car

1895 – The woodworking shop that would later become Lego is founded in Denmark. – Daisy BB gun – Raleigh Bicycle Company founded in England – Schwinn founded – Slot machine invented in San Francisco
1897 – The Shakespeare company is founded to build level-winding fishing reels.
1899 – First vibrator ad in McClure’s Magazine

1902 – The first theater designed especially for film opens in Los Angeles.
1903 – Kit Carson is the first cowboy film and The Great Train Robbery is the first Western.
1910 – The first movie stunt is included in a film.

1941 – Commercial television broadcasting authorized by the FCC – Bulova Watch first television ad
1943 – American Broadcasting Company (ABC) founded
1948 – First network nightly news on CBS – Howdy Doody begins Monday-Friday timeslot – The Perry Como Show – Candid Camera – Toast of the Town is the progenitor of The Ed Sullivan Show.

Artists: Johnny Cash – Fats Domino – Little Richard – Chuck Berry – Elvis
Tunes: “Day-O” – Harry Belafonte
“Ain’t It a Shame” – Fats Domino
“Blue Suede Shoes” – Carl Perkins
“Sixteen Tons” – Tennessee Ernie Ford
Albums: Songs for Swingin’ Lovers!, Songs for Young Lovers & Swing Easy – Frank Sinatra
Events: Barbra Streisand makes her first recording at age 13. The first rock concert is presented in NYC. The first riot at an Elvis concert occurs in Jacksonville, FL, Elvis hires Colonel Tom Parker as his manager, and RCA buys Elvis’ contract from Sun Records for $25,000. Richard Berry writes “Louie, Louie” on a piece of toilet paper in a nightclub dressing room.

1956 – Richard Matheson’s The Shrinking Man – Grace Metalious’ Peyton Place – Bruce Catton’s This Hallowed Ground – Computers: Mouse invented – IBM computer disc drive
1957 – Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat – Art Linkletter’s Kids Say the Darnedest Things! – Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged – Jack Kerouac’s On the Road – GQ founded – Computers: IBM disc drive was the size of a pair of refrigerators – 1000 computers sold
1958 – Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Terry Southern co-authors Candy under a pseudonym – Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago – Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita published in the U.S. – BC comic strip

1959 – Los Angeles Dodgers 4 Chicago White Sox 2 – AFL – Hockey mask first worn by a goalie – Daytona International Speedway – Lee Petty wins the first Daytona 500 – Candlestick Park – The Baltimore Colts with Johnny Unitas as the quarterback are the NFL champs. Vince Lombardi joins the Packers. Alabama loses to Penn State in the first Liberty Bowl. The Boston Celtics are the top NBA team for the eighth year in a row.
1960 – Pittsburgh Pirates 4 New York Yankees 3 – Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Houston Oilers, & New York Jets founded – Dallas Cowboys lose all games in their first season – Chicago Cardinals move to St. Louis – NFL Champs Philadelphia Eagles – The Oakland Raiders are founded and the Minneapolis Lakers move to Los Angeles. Mickey Mantle hits a 643-foot home run over the roof of Tiger Stadium in Detroit.
1965 – Los Angeles Dodgers 4 Minnesota Twins 3 – Joe Namath leaves the land of Bear Bryant for the New York Jets. Cassius Clay morphs into Muhammad Ali. The Houston Astrodome premieres when Mickey Mantle hits the first indoor home run. The Astrodome gets a $20,000 paint job on its ceiling to block glaring sunlight, causing the grass to die. Willie Mays breaks the home run record with 512. Lotus wins the Indianapolis 500 with a Ford engine.

1966 – Lenny Bruce dies of a morphine overdose. Supreme Court rules that novel Fanny Hill is not obscene. Frank Sinatra marries Mia Farrow. Jan Berry crashes his Sting Ray, ending Jan & Dean’s career. John Lennon makes his legendary “We’re more popular than Jesus” statement. Beatle records are burned in Alabama over Lennon’s remark. The Beatles are pelted with rotten fruit during a Memphis concert.
1967 – Elvis marries Priscilla in Las Vegas. Dr. Benjamin Spock and Allen Ginsburg are arrested for protesting the Vietnam War. Jayne Mansfield is beheaded in a car crash. Her three children in the rear seat survive the crash, including daughter Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order SVU. Tom Selleck makes his first television appearance on The Dating Game, and he is not selected!
1981 – Natalie Wood falls off a boat at night near the California coast and drowns before Brainstorm is completed. Prince Charles gets engaged to Lady Diana Spencer. Carol Burnett wins a libel suit against The National Enquirer.

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