When Brent Glass, a friend of many years, first told me about the book he planned to write, I said immediately I thought it a marvelous idea and that it would fill a real need. I also wondered to myself why in the world I hadn’t thought of it. Journeys to great historic sites had been high points for me since boyhood and have remained a mainstay of my work from the time I embarked on my first book. But no, I thought. With all his scholarship and professional experience as a public historian, Brent was just the one for the task.  Indeed, I know of no one who knows more about American historic sites. Public historians believe that history should be accessible to all, that it is much too important to leave to academics alone or solely to the classroom, and as a public historian Brent is a national leader.

But until now there has never been a guidebook like this by someone with such a background as Brent Glass. He has not only traveled to each and all of the fifty historic sites he describes, but to another hundred or more besides. In lectures he likes to stress “the power of place” and certainly there is that aplenty in the panorama of places to be found in these pages.

The geographic reach of the book extends north, south, coast-to-coast and beyond to Pearl Harbor. At the same time, as he points out, a chronological span of nearly a thousand years is to be found in the ancient Cahokia Mounds in western Illinois and the great Gateway Arch at St. Louis built in the 1950’s, both on the Mississippi river and only eight miles apart. Even greater is the reach into the past of the pre-historic site called Meadow Croft, again near Pittsburgh, where human habitation dates back 16,000 years.