This is a large but excellent read and a brilliant piece of story telling. It conveys the greatness and ghastliness of the United States during this time. It's greatness in the optimism, vibrancy, growth, innovation and social development of the era. It's ghastliness embodied in slavery, vicious imperialism and the frequent injustice of the time.
It is the story of a nation striving to be both good and great and the tension between those ideals. A huge complex story made vivid by many personal stories of heroes and villains, rich and poor, great and small.
Comprehensive and engaging it is a fantastic book.