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I have also heard that the regular spacing of towns east-west is how far a steam locomotive could go before it needed water, but have no idea as to the accuracy of that claim.



I've heard the same as authoritative from a postgrad studying U.S. history; I'm with you, though, that's just as anecdotal as far as the HN standard of truth goes.

I wish my own U.S. History course would have covered ground like this instead of starting in the early 20th century with the plight of immigrants. No independence, no civil war, nada. I felt cheated by that (high school) course and I've been meaning to fill in the gaps.

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> No independence, no civil war, nada.

To be honest, most schools that do cover those do an even worse job than not teaching anything at all.

If you're interested in filling in the gaps on your own:

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Know-About-History-Anniversary/dp... http://www.amazon.com/Lies-My-Teacher-Told-Everything/dp/074...

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Thank you for the recommendations.

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