The Democratic Experience
Although this book was published in 1973 it is not out of date in terms of what it offers the reader about the growth of American culture, invention and commerce. Boorstin takes an entertaining look at things that are/were uniquely American inventions and institutions such as hotels(Peoples Palaces), Pullman cars (People's Palaces on Wheels) balloon frame house construction, air conditioning, and the unique manner in which towns were first established in the western United States. He speaks from a different perspective than most twentieth century historians when he captures the roles of merchants and consumers, boomers and town supporters, as well as the role of newspapers, and transportation.
If you are looking for a really refreshing perspective on the development of democracy in the United States as it relates to the common man and the capacity of Americans to invent what they needed and did not have and to use it to change the lifestlyes of a nation, this book is for you.