A Documentary History of the United States with Alexander Heffner

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Reading, Talk

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Teens, Adults
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Presentation and Book Signing with Alexander Heffner


A Documentary History of the United States

An indispensable contribution to the understanding of our heritage.” – Robert A. Caro

This insightful collection will fascinate, delight, and challenge all who are interested in the progress of the American nation.”—Annette Gordon-Reed

Here, in a single volume, are the documents (speeches, letters, tweets, Supreme Court decisions, and more) that have forged American history. This 11th edition is now updated with a new chapter on the COVID-19 pandemic, the January 6, 2021 insurrection, and the Biden presidency.

Accompanied by interpretations of their significance by noted historian Richard D. Heffner and journalist Alexander B. Heffner, the important documents in this book include:

   • The Declaration of Independence
   • The Constitution of the United States
   • Frederick Douglass’ “What, to the Slave, is the Fourth of July?”
   • The Monroe Doctrine
   • The Emancipation Proclamation
   • Woodrow Wilson’s War Message to Congress
   • Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” speech
   • John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address
   • Martin Luther King, Jr.’s letter from the Birmingham City Jail
   • The National Organization for Women (NOW) Statement of Purpose
   • Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision
   • Documents related to September 11 and the Iraq War
   • Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” speech
   • Articles of Impeachment against Donald J. Trump

Alexander Heffner

Alexander Heffner

Alexander is host of The Open Mind on PBS, creator of Breaking Bread with Alexander on Bloomberg TV, and coauthor of bestselling A Documentary History of the United States by Penguin. He has covered American culture, politics, and civic life since the 2008 presidential campaign.

He is recipient of Johns Hopkins University’s Agora Institute Fellowship, University of Denver’s Anvil of Freedom Award, Franklin Pierce University’s Fitzwater Medallion for Leadership in Public Communication, and Yale University’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism. He is profiled in The Wrap, Mediaite, The Washington Post, The Des Moines Register, Christian Science Monitor, Variety, Medium, and on MSNBC, C-SPAN, NPR, CNN, ABC and the BBC. His writing appears in USA TODAY, WIRED, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, The Independent, NYT's Room for Debate, Boston Globe, and Philadelphia Inquirer, among other publications.

He has lectured at the National Constitution Center, Museum of American Finance, FDR Library and Museum, The American University in Cairo, Initiative for Truth at University of Sydney, Center for Information and Bubble Studies at University of Copenhagen, Institute on Constitutional Democracy at University of Missouri, Civil Discourse Lab at the University of New Hampshire, Department of Writing and Rhetoric at University of Mississippi, Center for Constitutional Democracy at Marshall University, Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State, Clarke Forum at Dickinson College, and Alpha Seminar at Carroll College, among other institutions of learning.


Copies of the book will be given to attendees at this event!

Book giveaways and this event is made possible by the support from Friends of the Santa Fe Public Library

Friends of the Santa Fe Public Library


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in programs presented by individuals or groups unaffiliated with SFPL do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SFPL or the City of Santa Fe.