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MB, though this isn’t specifically family history oriented, in case you’re interested in American history I cannot recommend strongly enough a series of 12 volumes of history that was published in 1925 by the “Americanization Department” of the VFW, shortly after WW1. It is titled, simply, America (alternately AMERICA Great Crises In Our History Told by Its Makers). It is the most incredible history series I’ve ever seen anywhere on the US. It is, to the maximum extent possible, based on actual source documents, which are heavily included throughout, and covers the period from 1000 – 1925 (yes, that’s one thousand A.D. – not a misprint). You’ll never find some of the gems in that series anywhere else, I suspect. Some versions were created with a presentation page bound into the front of volume 1 that dedicated the book to a specific person from the giver. I learned from the VFW that it was originally a fund raiser at the time, but even they have very little information anymore about the series (sadly surprising).

My set came to me after my grandfather died. He had it produced as a present for my grandmother, not many years after they were married, and it appears that most of it had never even been read – it just sat on the shelf for show, I suppose. Surprisingly, even though living with them for a while as a kid, and being in their home many times per week for most of my childhood, I do not recall ever having even seen it. Why they never encouraged me to read it, I have no idea. Maybe it was boxed up somewhere, and my mother just found it among their personal effects when he died, but I never knew of its existence until it was given to me several years ago. It’s even more surprising because I heard the stories about my grandfather working for Thomas Edison shortly after he came back from the war, and frequently saw (and handled) old ½-inch thick Edison records, among other priceless items that were given to my grandfather by Edison in subsequent years (all “stolen” by a member of his 2nd wife’s family after he died, sadly). There were priceless historical things that he acquired in his early years during WWI while deployed to Siberia as part of the American Expeditionary Forces, and then during his time working for Edison himself in the lab. All that disappeared at his death before my mother and her sisters could get down there. Fortunately though, this 12-volume series and a couple of other things that were apparently overlooked (or just not deemed important) were still among his possessions, and I was fortunate enough to get some of them (including an unpublished 26 page, typewritten manuscript about his experiences in Russia that you cannot find such insights anywhere else – incredible).

My copy of the history series would not be for sale at any price, from me, and is merely in the possession of one of our kids because those grand kids are the ones most likely to appreciate it. Plus, when I die, I don’t want it overlooked for what it is and just sent to Salvation Army or something (or just thrown out because it’s old despite the condition).

The neat thing is, I just saw that it’s available even on Kindle, if you don’t necessarily mind not having a physical book to put in your hands. Starting immediately in volume 1, you’ll learn about the first people to find their way to the “new world,” probably as far as the NYC area, around 1000 AD. And it continues on in exquisite detail to 1925 (when it was published). You’ll pay close to $100 (much more if in good condition and the better version of it with the presentation page bound in) for the hardbound series. But even that nearly $100 would be well worth it – just over $7 per volume (I saw two sets on Amazon for $85 – NOTE WELL that the $50 set is missing two volumes, so click to see the other two sets – they’re all 12 volumes). I cannot recommend it highly enough.


The Kindle versions are only $2.99 per volume, or free to read if you’ve got Kindle Unlimited, at: