The American Reader The American Reader is a stirring and memorable anthology that captures the many facets of American culture and history in prose and verse. The 200 poems, speeches, songs, essays, letters, and documents were chosen both for their readability and for their significance. These are the words that have inspired, enraged, delighted, chastened, and comforted Americans in days gone by. Gathered here are the writings that illuminate -- with wit, eloquence, and sometimes sharp words -- significant aspects of national conciousness. They reflect the part that all Americans -- black and white, native born and immigrant, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American, poor and wealthy -- have played in creating the nation's character.