History in the Making: A History of the People of the United States of America to 1877 - 1
Catherine Locks, Fort Valley State University
Sarah K. Mergel, Dalton State College
Pamela Thomas Roseman, Georgia Perimeter College
Tamara Spike, University of North Georgia
Copyright Year: 2013
ISBN 13: 9780988223738
Publisher: The University Press of North Georgia
Conditions of Use
While the textbook provides readers with a comprehensive and in-depth coverage of American History to 1877, the textbook does not include either a glossary or index. Therefore, a potential reader will struggle to find specific information and... read more
While the textbook provides readers with a comprehensive and in-depth coverage of American History to 1877, the textbook does not include either a glossary or index. Therefore, a potential reader will struggle to find specific information and topics within the vast textbook.
After reviewing the textbook, I found that the content was accurate, unbiased, and error-free.
After reviewing the textbook, I believe that the content is up-to-date in regards to the first half of the American History survey. More importantly, each of textbook chapters are well-organized, which will make any necessary updates relatively easy to implement throughout the textbook.
The textbook is written in a clear and concise manner. Furthermore, any historical jargon or technical terminology have adequate descriptions, which adds clarity to the material as well as improves a student's understanding of the historical topics.
Despite having numerous authors, the textbook remains consistent in regards to terminology and organization.
While the textbook offers readers a very detailed and in-depth discussion of American History to 1877, the amount of material within each chapter can easily overwhelm a student, especially one who is enrolled in a survey course.
The topics and key concepts in the textbook are well-organized in a clear and logical fashion. More importantly, each chapter also provides readers with a list of key terms, chronology (timeline), bibliography, and end notes.
I believe that the textbook is free of any interface issues. Additionally, the maps, charts, and historical images throughout the textbook do not pose any distractions nor confusion among the readers.
The textbook is well-written as it does not contain any grammatical errors.
The textbook embodies diversity, inclusiveness, and equity as it explores a variety of races, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds throughout the text.
While History in the Making: A History of the People of the United States of America to 1877 offers readers an in-depth and comprehensive coverage of American History, some students may struggle with the amount of information in the textbook. Despite this minor concern, I still believe that the textbook would a valuable resource for any American History survey course
This textbook overall is very comprehensive. To begin, the table of contents at the beginning of each chapter is very thorough. You know exactly what will be covered before you browse or read over the chapter. An example of the very thorough... read more
This textbook overall is very comprehensive. To begin, the table of contents at the beginning of each chapter is very thorough. You know exactly what will be covered before you browse or read over the chapter. An example of the very thorough nature of this text is in chapter three when examining the Columbian Exchange, most books will provide a couple of paragraphs on this subject, the Locks, et al. text provides several pages on the subject and even breaks down the examination into sub categories of plants, animals, diseases, etc.
In chapter 6, entitled, Growing Pains in the Colonies, we find another great example of the very thorough and comprehensiveness of this book. The author cuts no corners in explaining, in good detail, the economic structure and geopolitical nature of the American Colonies. The authors elaborate upon consumer culture, trade, the mercantile system, and the growing role of imperial control in these equations. This thorough examination of the economic and political structure helps to build a strong foundation of understanding to which subsequent learning of this topic can be built upon.
It should also be noted that this book covers some of the many colonial conflicts of the 17th and 18th centuries in a pretty thorough manner. Many texts completely omit a study of many of the minor conflicts of this period.
Another, great example of the comprehensive nature of this book is the examination of the French and Indian War in chapter seven. The authors take great steps to examine the role of key individuals involved in this conflict, including George Washington, as well as their specific actions that first led to the war, expanded its scope, and finally led it its conclusion and aftermath.
Another example of the thoroughness of this text is in the examination of the case of Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831) which all too often is only briefly cited in many texts, this edition take the time to explore the case and its importance to the broader subject of Indian removal.
However, there were a couple of glaring omissions that were unfortunately left out of this book. first, the book seems to almost entirely skip over the Virginia Resolves, which were an essential part of the colonial opposition to British taxation in the years leading to the American revolution. Another example of this is when the authors discuss the Boston Massacre in chapter seven, they don't refer to any of the specific British soldiers by name and despite the ample detail and evidence provided in other sections, they are lacking in this subject.
Overall I would consider this textbook to be very comprehensive and thorough in the various items that it covers. I believe that this text covers enough important material, and at enough of an in-depth manner, to be highly valuable and useful as a college level resource.
The content of this book is not only comprehensive but appears to be very accurate. The authors, on many occasions, endeavor to make use of primary source documents in their writing, sometimes as large block quotations and other times as small quotes incorporated into the text to provide substance and credibility to the points that are being made or alluded to. One example of this can be found in chapter three on page 79 where the book reads:
Columbus went on to remark that the people were “mostly naked” even
the women, though he admitted that he had seen only one woman. The
natives appeared to have few weapons and, in fact, lived a very simple
life. Not only had they no weapons, they apparently had not seen any, as
Columbus remarked that when he “showed them swords…they grasped by
the blades, and cut themselves through ignorance. They have no iron, their
javelins being without it, and nothing more than sticks, though some have
fish-bones or other things at the ends.”7 The experience of the Spaniards on
the other islands in the Caribbean was similar. In his entry of October 13,
1492, Columbus recalled that “The natives are an inoffensive people, and so
desirous to possess anything they saw with us, that they kept swimming off to the ships with whatever they could find.”
It seems helpful for the reader to have both the large block quotations that aid the learner to independently judge the meaning and spirit of the text as well as the in-text quotes to provide greater veracity and strength to the assertions being made.
There is one statement that stood out to me in chapter twelve concerning President Jackson's Indian removal Policy, the authors, in making a historical case that many native Americas in the Southeast at this era had indeed assimilated to United State culture, stated that "most Cherokee lived and dressed like the average American." I think this is a broad and overly general statement that is very difficult to quantify. Overall though I would conclude that this is a solid textbook in terms of accuracy.
This book seems to be very up to date and incorporates much of the contemporary thinking on the historical analysis. In the first chapter the authors do a nice job of examining terminology and also the practical challenges of studying the pre-Columbian Era. The authors also examine foundational mythology and scientific studies to provide context to the inhabitants of the Americas prior to the Fifteenth century.
Although overall this book does a nice job of being relevant to contemporary readers, there are a couple of points where more effort could be made. for example, in chapter 7, when discussing the Boston Massacre, the authors mention the role of Crispus Attucks in this event and they cite him as being a "black man of Wampanoag and African descent." The authors also correctly stated that he was one of the first individuals who died in this episode. I believe that this was perhaps a missed opportunity for the authors to discuss the role of Attucks and the plight of other African Americans living in New England at this time. Instead the authors only state that he is a "black man of Wampanoag and African descent," and provide no further context or analysis into the subject.
This textbook is written in a clear and lucid manner that is easy to understand and also provides good context to help explain and illustrate points. It also appears to be generally free from technical terminology or jargon that would be difficult to understand.
A separate observation on the subject is that key terms, ideas, policies initiatives, major figures, etc., could be highlighted or underlined. Although this may seem a bit juvenile, it may actually be helpful for students, especially at the freshman level, to be able to readily identify said key terms and ideas. Two brief examples of where this could apply is in chapter ten, when discussing Hamilton's Report on the Public Credit and chapter twelve in citing the Indian removal Act of 1830.
The consistency of this text is very good.
This book is very easy to divide into smaller units.
This book is organized well and in a clear and logical fashion.
Strangely enough there was a hyperlink in chapter 12, page 539, for the election of 1824. The link appeared to direct the reader to a Wikipedia page.
The text overall seems to be very well written and free from any major grammatical errors. However, one typo I did come across was in chapter twelve, at the top of page 547, in the PDF format, the text refers to "Jefferson" where it should have said Jackson. This identical mistake is made a second time a few paragraphs down on the same page and it begins to make the book appear unprofessional.
This book does not appear to present any culturally offensive material.
As a survey of the Pre-Columbian period through Reconstruction, the authors provide comprehensive coverage of the main ideas and concepts in American history. The text is quite lengthy around 850 pages, with some chapters going into more depth... read more
As a survey of the Pre-Columbian period through Reconstruction, the authors provide comprehensive coverage of the main ideas and concepts in American history. The text is quite lengthy around 850 pages, with some chapters going into more depth than others. I appreciated the efforts in the first early chapters to firmly place American history within its global context, which is often glossed over in other surveys.
An index or glossary is not built-in. The key terms at the end of each chapter are helpful. However, it would be more beneficial if these terms were highlighted within the text making it easier for students to locate.
The text presents the facts accurately, and the scholarship is sound. A bibliography and end notes are included at the end of each chapter. The text does not seem biased. When dealing with contentious issues, the text includes a variety of viewpoints, for example, the inclusion of Gavin Menzies’ controversial theories on Chinese exploration in Chapter 2, and the variety of opinions in assessing how radical the revolution was in the Sidebar 8.1 in Chapter 8 (which is a great tool for discussion).
The text contains the standard account of early American history, and content is current. It does appear that edits and updates should be fairly straightforward, however, the links in the bibliography will need to be updated periodically.
The writing is clear, and the topics are articulated coherently. All terms, and key ideas are lucidly explained and expanded upon. I liked the annotated Declaration of Independence, and U.S. Constitution, these are helpful learning aids.
This textbook is accessible for most college students. However, based on the length of the text, it may be difficult for English language learners to navigate.
The text maintains a consistent structure and style, each subsection is followed by a “Before You Move On” segment, and small quizzes which serve to reinforce key ideas and concepts. The end of each chapter contains “Critical Thinking Exercises,” key terms, and a chronology of important dates, which again reinforce the content learned. After reading the first few sections, there are no surprises for the reader in terms of layout and representation. As a non-military historian, I appreciated the fact that the battles of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War were simplified into the same format, and easily digestible. The terminology is consistent throughout the chapters.
Each chapter of the text is provided as a separate PDF download, and can be easily linked or attached to a course module in an LMS without the reader leaving the LMS. Due to the organization of the text into sections and subsections, the text can easily be broken up into smaller reading units and assigned at different points without disrupting the reader. The “Before You Move On…” segment and short quizzes serve to reinforce the modularity of the sections.
The text is well organized and logical. It follows a standard chronological format for the first half of the US survey. The topics covered in the text are clearly presented, and logically ordered into sections, with subsections delineating key concepts. The “Before You Move On…” segments are a helpful supplement in recounting the main ideas in each section of the chapters.
The interface is a standard ubiquitous PDF file, no bells or whistles, which is a good thing – the simpler the better. I did not experience any problems accessing, downloading and navigating the text. It is easy to use. The PDF format is editable – it allows the reader to add annotations (text and stickies), and highlight text sections. A great tool for students and instructors.
The text was also accessible on my phone (Android), and there were no issues in viewing it in the phone’s browser, or downloading the individual chapter PDFs to the phone (Could this be the reason for the sparing use of images in the text?) The images were generally clear, and presented no problems.
The text is free of major grammatical and spelling errors.
I did not find the text to be culturally insensitive or offensive. Race, ethnicities, gender, and backgrounds are discussed broadly, but there is more weight given to political history. The early chapters set the expectation for inclusivity, but diversity, class and gender are painted with a much broader brush in the later chapters.
It is impossible for a textbook to please everyone, and the authors have done a great job of putting together a text that is accessible, well written, and organized. The text is a great resource for the survey courses, and I would recommend it.
The textbook covers Pre-Columbian America through Reconstruction and it is certainly comprehensive in terms of the subjects it addresses and the depth and detail that it includes, overall. At 850 pages, it bucks the trend among textbook... read more
The textbook covers Pre-Columbian America through Reconstruction and it is certainly comprehensive in terms of the subjects it addresses and the depth and detail that it includes, overall. At 850 pages, it bucks the trend among textbook publishers to reduce the length and depth of a textbook with each new edition. Perhaps there can be too much of a good thing, though. I question whether students will read such a large textbook over the duration of the semester. Even the most committed students who approach the readings with gusto early in the semester might forego them as the semester intensifies. At the same time, searching for particular terms and subtopics proves challenging. If there is a comprehensive index, I could not find it. Each chapter contains a list of key terms, but the list does not include page numbers and students would need to know in which chapter a term might appear. That said, the larger topics that I would expect to see in a U.S. survey textbook are here and the chapters are arranged logically. Looking at the text on a chapter level, however, it becomes clear that the book lacks balance. Some topics are presented in much more depth than others and while that is true in most texts, the variations stand out in this one due to its overall length. Moreover, there seems to be a heavy emphasis on political and military history to the detriment of social and cultural history.
The text is accurate and devoid of bias. The endnotes and bibliography included in each chapter support the content, particularly on controversial issues, and should prove useful to students. The presence of endnotes is a nice touch compared to most textbooks, which don’t include them.
Published in 2015, there are areas in which this textbook is outdated. Although the text focuses on American history up to the Reconstruction Era, it should be updated to reflect recent social and cultural movements within America that have changed the way history is viewed and presented. Moreover, the traditional emphasis on political and military history, something from which many textbook authors/publishers have shifted away, contributes to some neglect—or limited conceptual development— in the areas of race, class, and gender.
The writing is solid. Terminology is defined or explained to readers. There are some clunky sentences and passages that would benefit from editing. In some areas, the detail may lead students to lose sight of the bigger picture. Overall, though, the authors present the information in a clear and understandable way.
The text is consistent in terms of its framework. Each chapter concludes with critical thinking exercises, key terms, a chronology of events, an extensive bibliography, and endnotes. The bibliography incorporates primary and secondary sources. The chapters also include “Test Yourself” sections that offer a handful of multiple-choice questions. Answers are provided at the end of each chapter, but without explanation. That said, the length of the chapters varies dramatically. For example, chapter one has 28 pages, chapter three has 43 pages, and chapter sixteen has 79 pages.
Chapter titles and numbered headings and subheadings within each chapter make it easy to assign readings in sections smaller than a whole chapter. Shifting the order of readings to fit a particular course should not prove problematic for students or faculty. Assigning by page number would be problematic, though. A download of the entire text created an end product in which the page numbers varied based on the application used to read the file. Using iBooks, for example, resulted in a textbook with 1,322 pages.
The chapter topics are organized similarly to other textbooks. Some of the subtopics within the chapters are organized differently from traditional texts, though. Thinking about my own course, I was concerned that the organization of some topics may lead students to miss the context of historical events. For example, chapter six, entitled “Growing Pains in the Colony,” contains a subsection on “Colonial Conflicts and Wars” that covers Metacomet’s War, Bacon’s Rebellion, King William’s War, Queen Anne’s War, and King George’s War. In real life, these conflicts were separated not only by their causes, but also by 70+ years. I would much rather see these conflicts presented within a larger topical context, for example discussing Metacomet’s War with the settlement and development of New England and Bacon’s Rebellion with the growth of Virginia and the Chesapeake Region. I think that lumping these events together as wars/conflicts will make it difficult for students to understand their context.
I did not experience any significant interface issues. The text was consistent in font type, color, and size and it was relatively easy to navigate, whether viewing a single chapter or viewing a download of the entire textbook. I did have trouble clicking the link that was supposed to lead to the answers for the “Test Yourself” exercises, though. Note that the textbook is only available in one format: a PDF download. It is not available in online or hardcopy formats.
I encountered few grammatical errors and nothing that interfered with a readers’ understanding of the material. The textbook is clearly written.
Broadly speaking, the textbook is inclusive of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. There are sections devoted to the Anasazi, the Aztecs, the Algonquians, and other Native people, for example. That said, discussions of these groups often seem to be from a European perspective rather than a Native perspective. The text discusses various religious sects from Huguenots to Anglicans to Puritans to Quakers, and more. The role of women is discussed in various sections, as is the slave trade, slavery, and enslaved Africans and African Americans. I found the text to be heavy on political and military history though, in terms of both the content and the context that it provides. As a social historian, I would prefer to use a text with a stronger emphasis on race, class, and gender. So while the text is not necessarily insensitive or offensive, its handling of social and cultural history could be and should be much stronger.
Overall, this textbook is clearly written, detailed, organized, and accessible. The authors undoubtedly put a tremendous amount of thought and time into planning and writing the text. I’d have trouble assigning such a lengthy book to my students, though. It’s a lot to read in a regular semester and virtually unmanageable in an abbreviated summer course. Moreover, although there are images and maps in the book, it’s really very text heavy. Adding images to the text would serve to break up the reading for students, but would also better support visual learners. Additionally, I was struck by the absence of primary sources, which are often incorporated into traditional texts. There are some primary source excerpts and the bibliography lists primary sources, but I would like to see some inset primary sources for students, in keeping with the movement to ground students in primary sources. Lastly, I found some of the topic headings slightly troublesome. chapter one is entitled, “United States History before Columbus,” but replacing “United States” with “American” would be more accurate. Columbus did not land in the U.S., the Aztecs were not in the U.S., etc. and so I think that terminology gives students the wrong impression. The section in chapter seven entitled, “The Downward Slide to Revolution” also seemed problematic. In trying to show students the community building that took place prior to the Revolution and the colonists’ response to various taxes and acts of Parliament, I would not like the textbook to present the Tea Act and the colonists’ response to it along with the resulting Coercive Acts as a “downward slide.” From my perspective, it’s misleading, and discussing just the “Tea Party” in Boston represents a missed opportunity to show unity among the colonies. While some of the headings are straightforward (Massachusetts Bay, Cash Crops, the Great Awakening, etc), others, like the ones noted above, raise some issues of concern. If you are looking for a text with a solid foundation in social history, this might not be your best option. If, on the other hand, you are searching for a textbook that takes a more traditional approach with a focus on political and military history, this might be a textbook to consider.
Adequate attention paid to pre-colonial period augurs well for this book as a basic text for the 21st century, not the 19th. read more
Adequate attention paid to pre-colonial period augurs well for this book as a basic text for the 21st century, not the 19th.
The text is careful with truth-claims (e.g. lots of "it seems that," etc.), and offers evidence as perspective rather than as determinative. Perhaps inevitably in a survey text, it's a little light on details.
On-topic, with an appropriately multivalent approach.
It can be difficult to be both clear and summary in history. This text seems to do a fairly good job of balancing that.
17 chapters is just awkward, regardless of length of school term.
Seems to avoid organizing material by war or "Great Man," perhaps the most common problem with survey texts like these.
Easy to navigate in PDF browser.
Grammatically clean and generally easy to read.
As noted elsewhere, precolumbian material is given appropriate prominence. African-American contributions in the Civil War still struggle with granting agency, as opposed to treating populations as objects manipulated by other social forces.
As an educator, I welcome the lack of graphic materials. I'm pretty sure that many of my students wouldn't agree with it, though. They're already intimidated by reading material generally, and long stretches of unbroken text has the potential to inflame that.
That said, I would consider this textbook for adoption, though the Foner text I currently use is benchmark stuff. This text, appropriately, leans heavily on Foner's work where it's relevant, which is a good thing. Basically, my considerations would come down to a cost-benefit analysis. I wouldn't be concerned that the text is substandard, though it is perhaps a bit terse-- a common tension, as noted elsewhere.
It's generally nice work!
History in the Making is among the most comprehensive survey texts that I've encountered. This is perhaps both its virtue and its vice. For a survey, I tend to think this book is more detailed than is necessary. read more
History in the Making is among the most comprehensive survey texts that I've encountered. This is perhaps both its virtue and its vice. For a survey, I tend to think this book is more detailed than is necessary.
The books presents a range of topics accurately. It does include theories that most scholars dispute; I suspect it does this to ensure that a variety of viewpoints are represented. But again, for a survey text this strikes me as arguably unnecessary. In its quest for comprehensiveness, I do believe that the text loses any ability to present a cohesive narrative and is instead a reserve of material.
I don't see any content that I would propose is out of date. There are, however, views expressed (Salutrean Hypothesis, for example) that are not widely held by the scholarly community. This reflects an attempt by the authors to present an array of theories.
The book presents the material in a generally straightforward jabber, but the prose and volume of the material is at times turgid.
I appreciate how each chapter generally has a uniform number of sections and are typically equal in length. The text includes useful learning objectives and break out text boxes that reinforce the material. The text is generally more global in its analysis in the earlier chapters than the latter ones.
The text is generally well written and broken into sections. The length of the text is, however, holding it back. It could also use a more coherent thematic approach that ties the material into a clearer narrative.
The textbook adheres to a standard chronological organization for a U.S. history survey textbook. It presents a logical starting point (the populating of North America) and a conclusion, the 1877 election and the demise of Reconstruction. The material presented in between is standard and in line with what one would expect to find in a survey.
The textbook contains lengthy stretches of text that could be broken up with the inclusion of more images, maps, or other visual material. The visual material that is included is not always of the highest quality or resolution. I'd suggest that this aspect of the book be improved upon.
The book is well edited with minimal errors. The writing is sometimes clunky and could use additional editing.
The book makes an effort to use current, acceptable language.
This text is impressively documented and composed but not without problems that would likely prevent me from adopting it in my course. For one, the book is far too long and attempts to cover too much material for a typical semester-long survey. It could be significantly edited by at least a third. The first chapters include too much global context. The latter chapters don't include enough. While it's admirable that the authors have presented American history in such a globalized context at the onset, much of the narrative gets muddied and suffers from the lack of a coherent theme or narrative. That the global contours of the text are reduced by the latter half leaves it rather uneven. In addition, the book spends unnecessary time explaining various ideas and theories that are beyond mainstream historical consensus. One example, among others, is found on page 56 where the authors write: "Although a few historians have suggested that Zheng He’s fleet voyaged as far as Australia and the Americas, compelling documentary evidence for this is lacking." There are other examples where the authors seem to include various plausible theories but provide caveats. I understand that the authors are presenting a range of scholarship, but for a survey course I don't find the overabundance of material and content presented in such a way as to be pedagogically effective for most students. I'd encourage the authors to take a 'less is more' approach and edit the volume rather significantly, allowing the strongest prevailing scholarship to more fully buttress the respective chapters. I'd also encourage the authors to tether the narrative to a few key themes or arguments that they sustain throughout the text in a coherent and consistent manner. Still, there is much material here and much of it is presented clearly. I appreciated the text boxes, sections, and quizzes that allow the student to gauge her/his comprehension of the content.
The textbook is comprehensive, though some chapters go much further in depth than others. For example, in ch. 4 there is quite a bit of discussion about the specific ships that explorers and colonists sailed on, but in ch. 8 the discussion of the... read more
The textbook is comprehensive, though some chapters go much further in depth than others. For example, in ch. 4 there is quite a bit of discussion about the specific ships that explorers and colonists sailed on, but in ch. 8 the discussion of the American Revolution is not similarly detailed. For an introductory textbook, I thought the latter approach to comprehensiveness was more effective.
I did find a few typos but the content was error-free and unbiased, in terms of how we conventionally tell the story. There is some effort in some chapters to discuss matters of historiography, though it does not appear in every chapter (and I wish it did).
As an introductory, survey textbook, the text sticks to the conventional story, while giving a nod at times to relevant debates among historians. The text also discusses events that relate to popular culture or popular understanding of history, without making references to movies, etc. that become irrelevant. For example, ch. 4 has an in depth explanation of Pocahontas' "rescue" of John Smith, without referring to movies that have cemented those legends in the popular imagination.
The text was clear and readable and defined relevant terms.
The text is somewhat uneven in how it approaches the overall story. Some issues are discussed very thoroughly, to the point that the reader is convinced that the topic will be a major theme going forward, but then the theme disappears in later chapters. For example, the discussion of Native Americans is very specific and thorough in ch. 1, but by the time we get to Pontiac's rebellion in ch. 7, that complexity has fallen away.
The text is divided with headings and subheadings. I especially appreciated the formatting of the discussion of battles in chs. 8 and 16. The "before you move on" sections provide a good check for understanding, and it is nice that you can click to easily jump to the answer key. The book has 17 chapters, which is a lot for a traditional semester (or a shorter summer class), and some of the chapters are quite long (ch. 4 is over 80 pages).
The organization is traditional for the survey course.
On my computer, the text was not uniform. In the first half in particular, some lines of text were darker (almost bold) and some lines were normal. The images were pretty low quality. There are a few instances where a word or phrase is linked to an outside website to display a picture. It would be better if these opened in a new window.
I did not notice grammatical errors.
I did not find anything offensive. I did not see an effort to discuss men and women equally. Some famous women get a nod.
As I was reading, I was thinking a lot about whether I could make the switch to this textbook from the one I currently use (Foner, Give Me Liberty). My current textbook is cheap and it has a lot of the bells and whistles that students are accustomed to. On the other hand, using a free textbook would allow me to assign other books for students to purchase. However, would my students read this book? I was concerned that in the early chapters especially, the text is too long and in depth for students to keep scrolling. For the later chapters, the book works well as a reference, since the narrative seems quite conventional. There might not be enough maps, pictures, sidebars, spotlights, etc to keep students interested in reading the text all the way through, but I think sections could be assigned strategically.
I think the stronger sections of this book are the early chapters which focus on global colonization and Native American societies, although it still fits within the traditional framework of European “discovery.” Chapter Four provides a thorough... read more
I think the stronger sections of this book are the early chapters which focus on global colonization and Native American societies, although it still fits within the traditional framework of European “discovery.” Chapter Four provides a thorough discussion of the topics I cover frequently in my U.S. History survey and therefore would pair well with class discussions about Roanoke, Anne Hutchinson, and the Salem Witch Trials. The sections covering the New Republic and Antebellum era, however, are less comprehensive. In my courses I tend to focus more on the lives of average people (including social movements, labor movements, women, people of color) and this text does not provide extensive coverage of those topics. In particular, I would like to see more emphasis placed on the lives of enslaved people and how, through the “terrible transformation,” the labor of enslaved people became a prominent feature in the politics and economics of early America. Obviously historians can (and should) disagree about what constitutes a comprehensive discussion of U.S. History but if your course focuses less on political and military history and more on social history, or histories of race and gender, this book would not be “comprehensive” for your course.
Yes, the facts presented in this book are accurate. It contains end notes and primary documents that instructors and students could utilize to verify the facts. My main concern, as noted above in the Comprehensiveness section, is that by choosing to emphasize some facts over others that it could be considered less than fully “accurate” overall and therefore provide a biased view of American history.
Since this text discusses a set of historical facts it would not necessarily become obsolete, and any necessary updates could be easily implemented. I think the interesting question of historiographical relevance, however, could be more clearly integrated into the book if they authors included “recent scholarship” or “recent debates in the field” sidebars. Of course doing so would require more regular updates but it would also prevent it from feeling dated.
The text is clearly written and is accessible for entry-level college students who would presumably be reading this as part of an introductory U.S. History survey course. Terms are defined in each chapter and some documents are annotated to increase clarity for students who might struggle with reading sources from the colonial era. I do think clarity could be increased by including more visuals such as graphs, maps, and tables.
This textbook is quite internally consistent. Each chapter features a similar design and students will easily be able to find their way through each component. Instructors can benefit from the consistent framework by directing students to certain aspects such as the “Before you Move On” section halfway through each chapter, and the “Key Terms” section at the end of each chapter.
This text is organized into clearly labeled modules that instructors could easily assign as sub-divisions if they desired. Instructors could also utilize modules such as the quizzes or chronologies to help students review.
This text is clearly organized in a chronological manner, as one would expect from a history survey text. The second half of the book focuses more on political events so instructors wishing to focus on social movements might need to pick and choose which sections to assign. With that said, however, the organization follows a standard U.S. history text and would pair well with primary document readers.
The text does not have any interface issues. Navigation is simple and the images/charts display correctly and will not distract the reader.
The text does not contain grammatical or typographical errors.
This book has a good start as it devotes several chapters to Native Americans and their later interactions with European settlers and explorers, so instructors wishing to focus on those topics would have material to assign. However, I have some concerns that this book would not fit into a pedagogy that is culturally relevant. Students of color, especially those interested in the history of enslaved people in the United States, would not find their history centered in this book.
The comprehensiveness is a mixed bag. There is an admirable effort early in the book to create a global context for colonization in the Americas which is a welcome addition. However, for the book as a whole, the authors examine American history... read more
The comprehensiveness is a mixed bag. There is an admirable effort early in the book to create a global context for colonization in the Americas which is a welcome addition. However, for the book as a whole, the authors examine American history primarily through a political and military lens with limited social and cultural history. This seems an outdated approach that overlooks several decades of dramatic shift in the historiography. Students or professors who wanted analysis that integrated ordinary people, racial and ethnic minorities, women, etc. would be largely disappointed. The book is also heavy on details and anecdotes and light on analysis. For example, in the section on the abolition movement, there is no effort to explain WHY the movement emerged in this period. It's troubling to have a history textbook fail on issues of historical context. Moreover, the textbook gives limited coverage to topics that are key to the time period. For example, almost every major textbook on this time period has chapters devoted exclusively to the Market Revolution and Antebellum Slavery. This book has several pages on each. There is more coverage on the struggles of Martin Van Buren's presidency than on the Market Revolution which dramatically affected all aspects of American society in the nineteenth century.
The books seems accurate in its "facts" but not an accurate depiction of how modern scholars interpret and analyze American history.
I think this book already reads as very dated and old-fashioned with its dominance of political and military leaders and issues.
The actual writing is accessible for a student population. However, sections often are detail heavy with limited analysis for students to understand the significance of those details.
Book seems to be generally consistent in its format.
The authors have included many places in the book as a whole and within chapters where instructors could break them apart into smaller sections. However, this modularity also can give the chapters a disjointed feel with too many hard breaks that interrupts the flow of the chapter and can make it difficult for students to understand the big picture of the chapter.
The chapter organization has major variations. Some chapters are 15 pages long; others are 90. The "before you go" sections summarize material several times throughout chapters. The constant summaries interrupt the flow of the chapters, and seem redundant and simplistic. It's also easy to imagine students only reading those summaries and ignoring the more extensive material in the chapter. The authors confusingly chose to cover runaway slaves and federal policies about them during the Civil War in the Reconstruction chapter instead of the Civil War one. Without strong coverage on slavery in the nineteenth century, it's hard to understand its significance in Western expansion, sectional conflict in the 1850s, the Civil War, etc.
Mostly the interface was fine. Occasionally there are images with blurry text that make it difficult to read and there are some images that would benefit from being a large size to allow students to analyze in great detail. More maps would be helpful throughout the text.
There did not seem to be an inordinate amount of typos or errors.
The language isn't offensive but the interpretation of American history in this book is clearly one where elite white men made important contributions in the country and groups such as African Americans and women are only afterthoughts or tacked on. When they do appear, it's often as examples of an individual, more of an anecdote than analysis of these groups and their experiences and significance in American history.
In the beginning of the book with the Native American and European contact material, I had high hopes for this book. But ultimately was hugely disappointed by it. It replicates an older style of history the profession as a whole has moved away from for many years with its focus on political and military leaders. That is problematic on many fronts: it overlooks important historiographic trends, continues the marginalization of many groups in historical representation and significance, and comes off at times as details and anecdotes without analysis or significance. For example, in the Civil War chapter, the chapter starts out with military activity and the authors attribute the end of the war to military reasons. Only then, after the war is "over" in the chapter, do the authors turn to home front issues of the war. Civil War scholars have increasingly focused on the significance of home front and civilian issues on the war as a whole. That doesn't come across in the chapter. There is a decently long section on the bread riots in the Confederacy, which could be an important place to examine the role of ordinary people and women during the war as well as how the civilian suffering hurt the Confederacy's ability to win the war. Instead it comes off as just interesting details instead of significant to the war effort.
No history textbook can possibly address the entire range of experience within a national history. This one does an admirable job of including non-European perspectives in its early chapters. One is half-way through the book's 852-page content by... read more
No history textbook can possibly address the entire range of experience within a national history. This one does an admirable job of including non-European perspectives in its early chapters. One is half-way through the book's 852-page content by the time ratification of the Constitution is discussed. The text then settles quite firmly into a traditional political history of the nation with a smattering of other topics, like economics, Native removal, and international factors.
Based on my familiarity with the subjects (minor, not major field) the authors have done well presenting an accurate collection of historical accounts.
The past is a matter of record and experience, but history is a matter of interpretation and value; history is always written for those reading in the present. Because the authors make a point of working conflicting views and interpretations in historical literature into the text, the work is likely to remain relevant without changes for a generation.
The text is produced at an appropriate level for entry-level undergraduates, and is sufficiently straightforward that reading comprehension should not be difficult. The text is supplemented by small illustrative photographs and maps, most reproduced under a CC BY or CC BY SA license and the rest from federal sources. These present a bit of a patchwork in terms of style and presentation, since the publisher did not draft maps specifically for this volume. Read straight through, the text can seem a bit choppy, with paragraphs set down as declaratory statements; could use a careful edit to smooth out the style. Each chapter concludes with a section listing “key terms,” but the list contents remains undefined and readers will have to search the chapter to locate the terms in use.
The volume is structurally consistent, with each chapter having the same elements in the same order, and in approximately the same numerical count or length, and at a consistent content level.
This volume is structured to serve as a text for the first half of a two-course US history survey series (to 1877). The seventeen chapters each have 4-8 parts, an introduction and three or more thematic sections, which subdivide the text into consumable chunks for students within a three-, four-, or five-credit course. Each section provides a “key concepts” summary and a brief list of multiple-choice questions (and answers, later in the section) specifically inviting students to test their comprehension.
Chronologies provide an outline for historical sequence. Each chapter ends with a bibliography and notes to works cited or discussed in the text (mostly secondary literature).
Like most history texts, this one is organized chronologically, with the chapters matching well with common divisions imposed by shifts in national politics. A genuine effort is made to address circumstances across the geographic subregions that would become the US. Notably, Africa and Asia are included in the chapter on exploration, providing a better background in world systems and transculturation than strictly Eurocentric histories.
The authors selectively cite the work of writers proposing different interpretations within the literature, demonstrating to students how professional literature is a formal discussion between practitioners.
I cannot assess the interactive versions of the text. My students used the text in print and in page-image (PDF), at their choice. Links within the file make it possible for a student to move from the study questions list to the answers list within the chapter. I found very helpful the authors' practice of citing not only secondary literature and primary documents, but also providing HTML links to publicly accessible sources, where the item was available digitally.
I found few minor quirks in prose style or grammar, most of which can be attributed to author voice and none of which compromise the text. Minor errors are expected in a work of this size and complexity.
There are no overt cultural errors or references that would be commonly perceived as insensitive or biased, nor does there seem to be bias or insensitivities in inadvertently made references, description, or interpretations. The only critique for bias may be one of failing to include cultural perspectives that readers feel is important. Choices an author makes in framing a story is not bias; no text can tell a national story from every perspective.
I used this book in conjunction with the OpenStax "US History" textbook, to provide a balance of discussion for students. It also allowed me to ask students to discuss why one group of authors chose to include or omit material from their version of the national narrative. Made for some interesting discussions.
The Text is comprehensive in coverage of key ideas and concepts related to US History to 1877. The index and glossary are solid. The key terms list at the end of each chapter was particularly helpful and impressive. read more
The Text is comprehensive in coverage of key ideas and concepts related to US History to 1877. The index and glossary are solid. The key terms list at the end of each chapter was particularly helpful and impressive.
I did not find an accuracy issues with the text. It is not overly biased in any way and appears to be based on solid scholarship.
On the whole, as noted above, the accuracy was solid. At the same time, however, it was hard to detect any new patterns or trends in the historical scholarship. Although such inclusions can often date books, they also lend a sense of creativity that this text may lack or fall a bit short. There should not be any problems with updating given the organization and large number of chapters. In any future additions, I might suggest the author’s keep up to date on another open source repository of history, the Gilder Lehrman cite as I find many of the top historians continually contributing their ideas to mini-narratives on sub-themes that are part of US History, thus keeping the cite fresh and innovative
The text was definitely lucid and accessible for students. Jargon and technical terminology was kept at a minimum and the key terms list was extensive.
The text was definitely lucid and accessible for students. Jargon and technical terminology was kept at a minimum and the key terms list was extensive.
If anything, this text was almost broken into too many modules. I found the chapter division appropriate in that it had the right number of chapters with the correct length. Within the chapters, however, there were many sub points to the effect I thought I was reading a European academic book that is often broken down to point 5.4.2. This can be a bit boring in the overall flow as the authors are trying for clarity and presentation of as much material as possible while the student are always thirsting for a good narrative.
Overall organization other than my point made in the previous question. I really liked the sections “Before You Move On.” They can easily be used by students to foreshadow what they need to gain from the readings, or as a self- There were no problems with the check for understanding assessment.
The interface and navigation was fine. I do realize copyright restrictions might be a hindrance, however, I would like to see the authors use more images and maps.
The grammar appeared solid throughout the text.
I believe a good deal of thought was put into the book’s cultural relevance. There was a nice balance and strong geographical scope. Chapter two set up the concept of “Three World’s Meet” quite well and I was impressed with the geographical balance once the main part of the focus came to North America.
Overall a comprehensive textbook and a sound go to source for students to add contextualization to their US History survey. Instructors using the text, however, will have to use other sources to underscore skills related to either historiography, or use of primary sources.
One other addition I would really like the authors to pay attention to is the introduction of the chapters. Even though the text is tilted toward information at the expense of narrative, the introduction of each chapter is a good place to use an image, biography, or other type of primary source with a narrative write-up as a hook to the chapter. This is one of my favorite things about history textbooks and I often like to compare author selections. I strongly feel the open source format, with the ability to swap out images or introductions in future additions is one way open source could work much more nimbly than traditional textbooks. For these reasons, I would encourage the authors to consider the hooks to the chapters as a gateway.
I understand that this question is meant to deal with the comprehensiveness of the content, however, I would like to highlight the absence of primary source selections. I think including short primary texts would improve the effectiveness of this... read more
I understand that this question is meant to deal with the comprehensiveness of the content, however, I would like to highlight the absence of primary source selections. I think including short primary texts would improve the effectiveness of this book. In addition, additional maps would be beneficial for the textbook. For example, the book outlines the various “hundreds” and settlements in Virginia but does not provide a map. The spatial/geographical information is important if students are to understand contemporary and future events in colonial Virginia.
Again, in Chapter 7, the addition of a map with the known settlements and the proclamation line would be very helpful.
I did not find substantial inaccuracies. In some places, the authors choose to quote or highlight the work of historians but not in others. I found this a bit troubling in the section on Pocahontas and the “adoption” of John Smith. Considering that the authors say that the event was “probably not” spontaneous, this section would have benefited from reference to scholarship on this point. I’m thinking particularly that a brief mention of Richter’s work might be helpful. I know it is a textbook for an introductory course, but this is an area in which historical analysis and scholarly work is particularly relevant. Similarly, a reference to the archaeological discoveries in Jamestown would help to illuminate the discussion of the Starving Time (also in Chapter 4).
My biggest concern regarding longevity is the continued accuracy of the first section on the peopling of America. As I have to revise my introductory lecture each semester to reflect new information that has been published since the previous year, I am doubtful that this section will have a long life in terms of its accuracy. It would also be nice to have some links or connections to recent works/archaeological finds.
The material is presented clearly and is well-pitched for the introductory survey.
I found Chapter Four to be somewhat inconsistent. The portion on New England is much more visually compelling and complete (it has maps!) and also integrates more primary sources than the portion on Virginia and Maryland.
The timeline at the end of Chapter 4 does not include Bacon’s Rebellion- this is a major oversight (Sandys’s Reforms are also left out) but Bacon is included in Chapter 6- perhaps this is an organizational issue. The timeline in Chapter Four extends to Salem but then Chapter 6 goes back in time. This choice to extend chronologically and then retreat may be a bit confusing to student readers.
Quite good! the subheads were well titled, marked, and designed. It is well-suited for assigned readings for the student.
Excellent. I like the timeline and the short summary at the end of each chapter. The one exception is the treatment of the 17th century mentioned above.
I would greatly prefer if it was easier to access - if it functioned as webpages, clickable from the main table of contents, rather than as one enormous pdf. I do like the clickable contents at the beginning of each chapter. I did have trouble with the true/false test yourself sections in each chapter. The “click here for answers” did not function for me using the Firefox internet browser.
Some images could certainly be improved. I’m thinking of maps like
“Figure 2.3 Zheng He’s Seventh Expedition.” Better labels (national borders, perhaps?) and some color rather than grayscale might help.
None noted. The writing is accessible and well-composed.
I’m delighted that the textbook starts by establishing context in the Americas, Europe, and Africa but am disturbed by the assertion of a European discovery narrative. The word “discovery” is, of course, inaccurate unless the authors are assuming the primacy of the European experience. In other words, the language contradicts the structure. In addition, in Chapters 4-6, the experiences and perspective of Native Americans gets lost in favor of the British perspective. In addition, it would be useful in Chapter 8 to mention what happened to those enslaved people who fought for the British in exchange for emancipation. I always cringe a bit at the side-barring of marginalized groups as in when they place a discussion of women’s rights and suffrage in the sidebar in Chapter 9. Similarly, the portions of Chapter 13 devoted to abolitionism and women’s rights could/should be expanded.
This text comprehensively covers political and economic topics, and includes religious, social and cultural topics and needed. The text is more comprehensive than the "compact" versions of the texts I currently use. The index is detailed and... read more
This text comprehensively covers political and economic topics, and includes religious, social and cultural topics and needed. The text is more comprehensive than the "compact" versions of the texts I currently use. The index is detailed and allows the students quick access to the relevant portions of the text. Each chapter has a "Key Terms" section.
The book's content is accurate, error-free, and unbiased. On contentious issues the authors cite specific books and historians to support the book's arguments. The text is (chapter) end noted and a bibliography follows each chapter.
As this is the first half of the US Survey, the book should not need revision or a new edition for some time. I cannot foresee any fundamental change in material any time soon. The chapter bibliographies do include websites, so these will need to be checked and updated from time to time.
The text is accessible for the first generation college, immigrant, and foreign student population that is making up an increasing percentage of the student body. Key Terms are defined in each chapter and other terms (globalization) are defined in text. Some curious word choices. I love the "annotations" of certain articles of the Constitution. Why not also annotate the Bill of Rights?
It is clear that an instructional designer was involved with the book's design. Each chapter follows the same design, Learning Outcomes are stated at the beginning of each chapter, that could be easily adopted to online learning modules. Students will quickly learn the rhythm of the chapters
Chapter subsections are clearly marked. Subsections stand alone, some chronological, some thematic. Orders of some subsections could be switched with no loss of comprehension or learning.
I very much like the combination of thematic and chronological presentation. At some points the thematic coverage sets up the chronology, at others the chronology sets up the theme. The text maintains an analytical approach and seldom bogs down into straight narrative. A number of topics are grouped together in a very effective way (Enlightenment-Great Awakening).
Text displays well and loads and paginates quickly. I did have some trouble clicking on chapter headings in the Table of Contents and not accessing the selected chapter, but the title page (a default?). I do not know if this is a browser issue or text software issue.
I found no grammatical errors in the text.
The text is culturally relevant and quite evenhanded. This can be seen in the coverage of the conquests of the Aztec and Inca empires, intercultural relations, "transculturation," and especially in the "Perspectives" section that shows how the North and South differed on the slavery question before the Civil War. I normally have to teach "outside" the textbook to make the points that were made efficiently and effectively in text.
I think the way in which the authors cover battles in the various chapters is very valuable, and can serve as a model. the necessary and significant information is given, but in a "clumped" form that does not interrupt the flow of the chapter or turn into too much narrative. Students want battles, as many are familiar with them, but often that coverage takes valuable space from other, more needed, material and topics. I feel this text gives the the essentials of US History to 1877, and allows me room and free rein to compliment and add as I see fit. Personally I am glad that a lot of social history (marriage, family, etc.) was left out. there is nothing wrong with that material, but it tends to interrupt the flow and takes valuable space from topics more in need of development. For a World or West Civ course the marriage-family coverage makes some sense, but too little happens in our centuries to really demand inclusion. I think the book will work in both online and face-to-face courses.
The work is very comprehensive. A great deal of space is allocated to the coverage of extra-American developments (i.e. Asia, Europe & Africa in Chapter 2; of the English Civil War in Chapter 4, etc). This coverage is relevant, helpful, and... read more
The work is very comprehensive. A great deal of space is allocated to the coverage of extra-American developments (i.e. Asia, Europe & Africa in Chapter 2; of the English Civil War in Chapter 4, etc). This coverage is relevant, helpful, and could only be objected to on the basis of assigned student reading load. Of course, not every section of every chapter needs to be assigned, and an instructor has much more of this kind of freedom, I would argue, in a course in which the text is free. (When students pay for a text, they expect to use a great deal of it).
Virtually error-free; the only quibble I had was one of nuance, rather than fact. In this the text was much more successful than one I am currently using in a World Civ course, which contained a number of howlers.
I am very impressed with the historiographical accuracy of the text. It covers, appropriately, some controversial debates, ones that are necessary to raise even at the introductory level. It does so with great clarity, and in a manner that shows a strong awareness of recent work.
This text ought to have a good shelf life. It is written with a strong awareness of recent important debates. Because of its digital nature, it would be obviously easy to update, but even more than that, a straightforward and clear chapter structure would assist in future additions.
Of course the most obvious way in which the text avoids obsolescence is by the simple fact that obsolescence has not been built in!! Too often (particularly in the supporting apparatus of primary source documents, 'further thought' questions, etc.) publishers deliberately load their products with a current modishness in order to facilitate the need for a second edition. That is not the case here.
The text is clear and readable, but not in any way superficial or vague. A strength of the narrative is the attention to explanation, detail, and example.
No problems here.
Effective use of sections has been made. Given the overall comprehensiveness and length of some of the chapters (e.g. those on the colonial period), it occurred to me while reading that reading of the sections could be productively divided among a class, and then used to stimulate discussion of the differences between the Southern, Mid-Atlantic, and New England colonies.
A real strength of the work is the fact that instructors can selectively assign whatever parts they wish, without concern for the cost to students.
The logical progression of chapters and content is fine.
The text's interface is fine.
None that I observed: the style overall is consistent and clear.
Issues in this area are handled well.
I would recommend this book to my colleagues, and I would consider assigning chapters and sections in colonial era courses that I teach. Given its price (free!) and its quality (high), I can't see any reason not to recommend it for extensive use in US surveys.
This text is quite thorough, and it takes into account a variety of perspectives on American history. The book is an effective text for use in survey-level courses at the university level, and it can serve as a useful primer for someone seeking an... read more
This text is quite thorough, and it takes into account a variety of perspectives on American history. The book is an effective text for use in survey-level courses at the university level, and it can serve as a useful primer for someone seeking an introductory overview of the subject.
Generally I find the text to be historically accurate, and it is relatively free from unnecessary bias. It contains a variety of types of history (political, social, economic, military, cultural, intellectual) and it discusses some elementary historiographical issues, such as the discussion of interpretations of the colonial history of the Puritans. There are a few places where I might question the text's analysis of particular events, but this is true of every history textbook.
This text covers the colonial period through 1877, so there is little reason to think it will be out of date. In places where the text asks students to engage in comparative analysis to the present, the language is sufficiently free from potentially anachronistic references, such as this passage from page 573: "How do the Democrats and Whigs in the second party system compare to the Democrats and Republicans today?"
Students should find the prose to be accessible, and while it covers sophisticated and intellectually advanced content, the text is written in a way that survey-level undergraduates should be able to comprehend.
The text has a consistent voice, despite having multiple authors. Students should pick up on the terminology quickly, and it is consistent across the text. As much as possible jargon is eschewed in favor of plain language.
The chapters follow patterns that are fairly standard for themes and time periods typically used in survey U.S. history courses. The division of chapters lends itself well to typical semester lengths in colleges and universities.
The book follows a chronological approach in its structure, which is easier for students to follow. However, individual chapters are presented thematically, allowing for the text to be used in conjunction with a course that follows specific themes.
The book has internal hyperlinks to carry readers back and forth throughout the text. External links are provided to Internet sources and content. Images and graphics are clear and relevant.
I did not encounter grammatical issues, punctuation problems, or any other errors.
The textbook is inclusive in its approach, and ethnic and racial minorities are adequately represented in the text. Contributions of women can be found in each chapter, and while this text might benefit from greater representation here and there of specific groups, it is clear that the authors intentionally designed a text that tells a richer and more diverse history of the American experience than traditional textbooks.
Excellent open source resource for the first half of the U.S. history survey at the undergraduate level!
This textbook is ambitious. Perhaps too ambitious. At about 850 pages, it manages to pack an enormous amount of detail into almost every chapter. But the biggest concern I have is that this amount of information is simply overwhelming for the... read more
This textbook is ambitious. Perhaps too ambitious. At about 850 pages, it manages to pack an enormous amount of detail into almost every chapter. But the biggest concern I have is that this amount of information is simply overwhelming for the typical undergraduate. To provide one example, the battles of the Civil War receive 20 pages of coverage whereas postbellum Reconstruction gets only 20. This imbalances lead students to believe that the military history of battles is of greater importance than the legal and constitutional history of Reconstruction. That seems to be a major interpretive problem.
There are occasional oversights, but it is generally accurate. One example of my quibbles: I found myself puzzled by the discussion of the creation of the US Constitution. "The 1787 Constitution had both national and federal features. In terms of nationalism, Congress was given broad powers..." (p. 408). This one-two punch is deeply misleading. The entire Constitution was and is federal. Nation is not a legal category. And "nationalism" does not refer to Congress' constitutional "powers" but instead to pro-national thought among citizens and perhaps officers of government. One might also observe that even as scholars have recognized the immense pro-slavery tilt of the Constitution of 1787-8, this book offers precious little coverage of that area. The same is true of the treatment of the Federalist era--thus indulging the same mistake that David Brion Davis called out Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick for ignoring slavery in their Age of Federalism.
The general chronological arrangement is fine, but I worry about the text's ability to stay current with a rapidly changing historiographic paradigm that is currently wrestling with major questions of periodization, structural change, and normative significance. The title itself is quite telling in this regard. "A History of the People of the United States of America" is just inaccurate. The majority of the book is about British imperial subjects. "United States History before Columbus," the title of Chapter 1, plays into this same trap. This is not just semantics. Historians have tried to problematize historical narratives told solely through the lens of national governments but this book employs a deeply teleological model: the idea that past was prologue to the American national story.
The book is fairly clearly written although the second half of the book is much more so than the first. I did find some of the pull out boxes and visuals to be a bit odd. For instance: the slightly bizarre presentation (pp. 334-5) of snippets of the Declaration of Independence has only fragments of the real document and paragraphs of "annotation." Why bother with a primary source if the authors want to overlay such a strong interpretive voice? Should not students read the document and figure out what it says?
It is generally consistent but again, the imbalance in terms of the relative length of chapter somewhat undermines this.
I have already commented on the somewhat odd imbalance in coverage.
The organization/structure/flow is ok, putting aside my oft-repeated complaint about the coverage imbalance for some topics. Here the length of the text comes back into play though. It is just too long to have a "flow" in any significant way. No student will be able to sit down and power through several chapters in a short period of time.
In general it is ok, but I have already noted the problem of the pull out boxes and charts.
The grammar is at a fairly high level.
The authors put a lot of effort into this but slip into some old habits of hero worship, as in the handling of Columbus and the so-called 'Founders' of the US.
I want to commend the authors for putting so much effort into this. Unfortunately I just do not think I can assign it in my survey just yet. It is too long in some areas, too short in others. Hopefully subsequent versions of this book correct some of these issues. I remain hopeful!
The book presents a well written narrative of the first period of American History. I haven't seen many texts for survey US History include such an in-depth description of the civilizations in Africa beyond the West Africa during the period of... read more
The book presents a well written narrative of the first period of American History. I haven't seen many texts for survey US History include such an in-depth description of the civilizations in Africa beyond the West Africa during the period of European contact as discussed in chapter 2 of this text. I would have liked to see more discussion on how the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619. I think this subject is largely neglected, considering there is documentation available to support more discussion (Chapter 4.)
I think the book does a good job in providing an accurate description of American History based on the current research. I did think it odd, however, not to have mentioned that fact that Chief Justice Taney himself was a slave owner in the Chapter Fifteen discussion of the Dred Scott decision
The authors have arranged the book in such a way that as any new research findings become available, adjustments can be made without great difficulty.
The text is written in such a way that students at all levels can access the history being presented. The Terms and usage is appropriate for time period and the context of the subject.
The writing quality is consistent throughout the text. The text provides equal treatment to the diversity of topics covered.
I am quite comfortable with the way the text divides sections and subsections. My experience is that students tend to read in smaller units of information rather that attempting to digest large sections at one time.
This text follows a clear and logical organization based on the chronology of United States history and other parts of the world at varying times during and prior to America's rise.
I have not seen any significant problems with the interface of the text. The text, charts, maps and tables appear very clearly throughout the PDF file. This makes the text easy to read on Tablets and other mobile devices in addition to a desktop pc.
I did not come across any grammatical errors in my review of the text.
I think the text generally presents an inclusive narrative.
I was generally impressed with all aspects of the text, with a few small exceptions as noted in previous responses. I would use this book in one of my US History survey courses.
The text covers the history of the United States from the arrival of the people of the First Nations, though European settlement, the Revolution, the Early Republic, the Sectional Crisis, the Civil Wat, and Reconstruction. It covers key political,... read more
The text covers the history of the United States from the arrival of the people of the First Nations, though European settlement, the Revolution, the Early Republic, the Sectional Crisis, the Civil Wat, and Reconstruction. It covers key political, social, and economic developments effectively.
The text makes effective use of current historiography and is comprehensive and accurate.
The text is up to date and should remain relevant for quite some time. Its thoughtful organization should make it easy for the authors to update it as necessary.
The text is written in clear and understandable prose, as is appropriate to the subject matter. It steers clear from jargon, and clearly explains all technical terms and concepts.
The text is well ordered and consistent from chapter to chapter. Each chapter is well organized and clearly outlined. Support materials such as study questions and critical though exercises are provided for each chapter and are consistent throughout the text.
The text is well organized and each chapter follows the same format with makes it easy for students to navigate through the text and find materials as needed. The instructor could easily assign specific sections to suit their course needs.
the text is well organized chronologically and thematically, as is suitable and desirable in a history text.
The text is easy to navigate and well formatted. Illustrations are clear and legible. Features are well designed and do not distract from the flow of the main text.
I did not find any grammatical errors in this text.
The text handles a wide range of potentially controversial topics such as slavery and the treatment of native peoples very well. the text is inclusive and thoughtful/
This book is well suited for survey courses covering the United States from its founding through the Civil War and Reconstruction. It is comprehensive and effective. It lays out clear learning outcomes and provides materials and exercises necessary to achieve its desired outcomes.
The book is overly exhaustive in some baffling areas and entirely leaves out many vital subjects. At over 800 pages it is at least twice as long as it needs to be. Almost no student will read it all and very few instructors will use most of it.... read more
The book is overly exhaustive in some baffling areas and entirely leaves out many vital subjects. At over 800 pages it is at least twice as long as it needs to be. Almost no student will read it all and very few instructors will use most of it. There certainly is no need for details on every single colonial government. The military history could also be reduced to almost nothing and the book would be stronger for it. The book spend several pages on the useless Battle of New Orleans fought after the war ended, notable only for its propaganda use to make Jackson a hero.
Yet the book leaves out huge areas. Pre Columbian history is greatly undercovered, though this is sadly not unusual in its Eurocentric POV. What is inexcusable is ignoring hundreds of Native tribal histories that describe migration by boat and hundreds more describing Natives in America long before the Ice Age & Bering Strait Theory.
The book also leaves out proven migrations by Australian Aboriginals and Polynesians, documented by indigenous accounts, DNA, and archaeology. It does describe East Asian history pre-Columbus, but leaves out two of three possible though unproven Chinese explorations of the Americas.
Its worst omissions are refusing to discuss genocides. Columbus's atrocities killing from three to eight million Taino and Arawak Indians, are completely ignored. There is no excuse for censoring and frankly whitewashing mass murders. The authors describe violence between Natives or against colonists in explicit detail.
But there is a clear double standard based on race in this book. Violence by Europeans and colonists are omitted. After Columbus, the worst omission is California Indian genocide, hundreds of thousand of deaths, mass rapes, and mass enslavement carried out by Anglo American gold miner militias, subsidized by the state of California.
Another huge omission in the book is discussing Confederate atrocities as well as white southern atrocities both before and after the war. Slave punishments are omitted, slave revolts barely mentioned, and maroon communities absent. Confederate state terrorism is unmentioned. CSA political prisoners and mass executions of dissidents, censorship, and mass resistance to CSA tyranny are all absent. Massive white supremacist terrorism in Reconstruction gets minimized as "social violence" that was inevitable when Blacks dared to seek equality.
Very mixed with regards to accuracy. There are some admirable parts of the book that debunk popular myths, the sections on the Articles of Confederation, Constitution, women's history, and religious history.
But there are some huge errors, starting with assuming only western archaeology knows anything pre Columbian. Hundreds of Native tribal histories are dismissed in outright bigoted fashion as just myths. The Bering Strait Theory is presented as ironclad fact instead of the highly disputed theory it's always been, one coming from Christian Creationism and today rejected by half of scholars. Hundreds of Native history accounts of migration by boat are never mentioned. Instead, boat migration is falsely presented as part of the BST.
Some errors are just sloppy. The text claims we can't know how many Blacks fought for the British during the War for Independence. False, we know pretty well, since they were placed in all Black units like the Royal Ethiopians. We know they outnumbered Blacks fighting for the colonists by at least three to one.
Some errors are inexcusable, especially leaving out two entire genocides, Columbus's on Hispaniola and California Indian genocide. How can one plausibly ignore 3,000,000-8,000,000 and 150,000-300,000 deaths, respectively?
Slave punishments are omitted, slave revolts barely mentioned, and maroon communities absent. Confederate state terrorism is unmentioned. CSA political prisoners and mass executions of dissidents, censorship, and mass resistance to CSA tyranny are all absent. Massive white supremacist terrorism in Reconstruction gets minimized as "social violence" that was inevitable when Blacks dared to seek equality.
The text is very out of date on a number of striking matters.
1. It assumed the Bering Strait Theory is unassailable instead of increasingly challenged by Native accounts and communities, linguistics, DNA, and archaeological sites.
2. It failed to mention proven migrations of Australian Aboriginals and Polynesians.
3. The many pages on military history are already out of date by 30 years, anywhere outside of a military academy.
4. Multiple choice quizzes have no place in a history course. They are already fading away in both universities and even many high schools in favor of essays.
5. The Civil War and Reconstruction sections still argues the Myth of Southern Unity, making it inaccurate and already 30 years out of date.
The first third of the book is not well written. The latter two thirds are far better.
The framework is consistent but in the worst ways, consistently Eurocentric, Anglocentric, with the latter two thirds practicing primarily the history of elites, overly focused on presidents' terms.
Large parts of the book will almost never be read or used, at least half. Archaeology, Europe Asia and Africa prior to invasion of the Americas, details of each of the 13 colonies' founding, military history, and economic financing during the Civil War, will all likely be ignored.
The structure is clear, nearly all chronological in an old fashioned way, grouped primarily around European intrusion into America, and then presidents' terms.
Clear and consistent grammar.
The Pre Columbian sections are openly contemptuous of hundreds of Native history accounts. Text uses very outdated cultural groupings. Text also ignores two genocides, Columbus's and California Indian genocide. Authors also use a racial double standard with atrocities, since they describe only violence by Natives, far more rarely by Europeans and colonists. The text also downplays violence under slavery, violence by Confederates, and violence by white southerners both before and after the Civil War. Essentially the text is concerned only with not offending white southerners, and is likely to offend or be dismissed as irrelevant or dishonest by most others.
Only the sections on Articles of Confederation, Constitution and its convention and passage, and women and religious history can be recommended. The remainder of the book seems to have been written before the civil rights era.
The textbook offers readers a very comprehensive examination of American History from before European contact through the Reconstruction Era. Additionally, the textbook covers all areas and ideas relating to U.S. History appropriately, and each... read more
The textbook offers readers a very comprehensive examination of American History from before European contact through the Reconstruction Era. Additionally, the textbook covers all areas and ideas relating to U.S. History appropriately, and each chapter within the textbook provides readers with a bibliography, end notes, key terms, and a chronology list of important dates and events. Unfortunately, the textbook does not include an index or glossary, which would allow students to students to search for various topics within the textbook.
The textbook's content is accurate, and it is presented in an unbiased manner.
The textbook's content is up-to-date for any instructor who is wanting to teach the first half of American History (pre-1492 to 1877). However, if any updates or additional historical information is needed within the textbook, the text is written and organized in a way that updates can be easily added to the textbook.
The text is clear and concise throughout the textbook, and the authors offers readers detailed explanations and context regarding any jargon or technical terminology used in the textbook. For example, the authors do a remarkable job of placing the United States in a global context. Therefore, students are aware of how international affairs and events impacted the early history of the United States.
I believe that the text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework. For example, each chapter offers readers a bibliography, end notes, key terms, and a chronology list of important dates and events.
For an instructor who is teaching the first part of U.S. History (pre-1492 to 1877) the text can be easily divided into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course. I believe that the textbook's modularity is a tremendous benefit for students because they can easily be overwhelmed with too much information. Additionally, each of the chapters includes a "key concepts" section, which reinforces the chapter's main ideas and subjects. And, the textbook also feature "test yourself" sections, which serve as a wonderful assessment tool for students to gage their understanding of the material.
The textbook is well organized, and the information is presented in a clear and logical fashion throughout the book.
While a majority of the text is free of significant interface issues, some of the images and maps appeared slightly distorted while I was reading the PDF version of the text. However, I believe that these slightly distorted imagines would not distract nor confuse a reader.
The text does not contain any grammatical errors.
I was very impressed with the book's cultural relevance. For example, the first two chapters of the textbook examine the backgrounds and cultures of early Native American civilizations prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus and Europeans in the New World. Additionally, the authors offers readers a global perspective of history by exploring the role of Asia, Europe, and Africa in the early modern era.
History in the Making: A History of the People of the United States of America to 1877 is a solid textbook, and any instructor who is teaching American History would find this book to be an amazing resource for their students.
It is too comprehensive. The pre-17th century history is too detailed and of marginal relevance, e.g. Asian and African history. More is not better, even if an electronic textbook makes itcheaper. read more
It is too comprehensive. The pre-17th century history is too detailed and of marginal relevance, e.g. Asian and African history. More is not better, even if an electronic textbook makes itcheaper.
I found the work generally accurate. The authors include much military history of which they have a light grasp. Some examples: Governor Berkeley hanged twenty-three leaders of Bacon's Rebellion, a shocking act of repression; Braddock's defeat is the Battle of the Monongahela, not "Wilderness"; Lexington/Concord should draw on David Hackett Fisher's PAUL REVERE'S RIDE, and Trenton on WASHINGTON'S CROSSING; There is no mention of King's Mountain, the role of the militia in the war, and Greene's southern campaign, 1781-1783; The northern campaigns of 1813-1814 need more attention; The Civil War battles need to be explained as part of campaigns. See Millett, Maslowski, and Feis, FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE: THE MILITARY HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 3rd edition (2012).
Unknown. Is it politically correct? No, thank goodness. Its relevance and longevity are limited by the fact that its length will probably mean that few will read it.
The book is one-third too long and includes too many historiographical asides. It would benefit from more maps and graphs on non-political events like population, types of economic production, transportation, and frontier movement.
The second half of the book is more focused and analytical.
The book meets this requirement. Each chapter is divided into stand-alone sections.
In addition to being too long and dense for classroom use, the book includes all sorts of educational devices that are jejeune for college students and interrupt the narrative.
No special problems, except too few visuals
I would rate the mss. high as a composition with the exception of length. It has too much "nice to know" information. It is dense with information and light on interpretation. The sentence structure is Germanic.
I think the mss. handles gender, religion, and ethnic issues well. The authors have the courage to focus on political history with contemporary implications. I think the biggest challenge is to make the first two chapters more readable and focused on Meso-American cultures. What happened to Nordic expeditions? The European background needs more compact explanation. Economic issues need more attention, e.g. Importance of North American wood and forest products to the Royal Navy and British merchant marine.
The rivalry of England and France in the early 13th century involved far more than Normandy. It involved much of France.
The discussion of the Reformation should add Calvin and Knox and their influence in the Great Britain-to-be.
The geographic portrayal of the African slave trade ignores the Arabs and Muslim East Africans as slavers. African slaves replaced dead Native Americans. Keep the chronology straight.
Since pre-Spanish horses in North America had no important impact, "reintroduction" of horses is a misrepresentation. The conquistadors' mounts had dramatic impact on nomadic tribes and often determined tribal warfare with horses as prizes. Mounted warriors could use recurved, compound bows with great lethality. Also, torture and mutilation had spiritual impact, the passage of moral power from the victim to the victor.
Europeans did not bring these "ways of war" to North America.
Excellent Comprehensive coverage of U.S history from Pre-Colombian era to 1877. A nice touch in the first chapter consists of coverage of indigenous "origin stories" vs. scientific theories and plugging the Age of Exploration into World History... read more
Excellent Comprehensive coverage of U.S history from Pre-Colombian era to 1877. A nice touch in the first chapter consists of coverage of indigenous "origin stories" vs. scientific theories and plugging the Age of Exploration into World History with coverage of Ming Dynasty explorations and short history of Africa. A neede change from the Eurocentric view of U.S. history.Good strong coverage of material through seventeen chapters consisting of almost 900 pages
Books accuracy seems correct, I didn't see any errors and the historical narrative seems to reflect unbiased "points of view" of events
Content appears up- to- date and the textbook should be relevant for the foreseeable future as a survey course text. The chapters are arranged in the standard U.S. history survey class and any needed changes should be straight forward.
The text is written in a clear and concise manner that flows as a good narrative history and reads well for a textbook. Not overdone with jargon or technical terminology.
Text is consistent and the presentation of material flows in a rational manner suitable for survey course level
I feel this is one of the strengths of this textbook. The history flows in well accepted framework of presenting U.S. history for the student, the chronology is not skewed and the chapter and sub-unit readings are very readable and flow well.
Good strong organizational flow of topics. Logical coverage of events and themes in U.S. history, clear and consistent. I particular agree with the presentation of Civil War military history whereas 6 battles were chosen as examples a manageable way to cover a massive topic. Again a good narrative flow of events and themes. Each chapter has an into of key concepts. short multiple choice quiz and critical thinking exercise
straightforward presentation nothing that really distracts or confuses the reader
I didn't notice any grammatical errors and feel that the text reads well
The text does a good job of being inclusive and I appreciate that there is a separate chapter on the global context of exploration.There could be more first person accounts from a larger varieties of ethnic backgrounds ( such as slave narratives). However the text works as intro- survey course material
I would recommend this book for a survey course as a solid middle of the road coverage of U.S. history and very readable narrative . It could possibly use more primary documents and in-depth maps
Table of Contents
- Chapter One: United States History Before Columbus
- Chapter Two: The Global Context: Asia, Europe, and Africa in the Early Modern Era
- Chapter Three: Initial Contact and Conquest
- Chapter Four: The Establishment of English Colonies Before 1642 and Their Development Through the Late Seventeenth Century
- Chapter Five: English Colonization After 1660
- Chapter Six: Growing Pains in the Colonies
- Chapter Seven: The Road to Revolution, 1754-1775
- Chapter Eight: the American Revolution
- Chapter Nine: Articles of Confederation and the Constitution
- Chapter Ten: The Federalist Era
- Chapter Eleven: The Early Republic
- Chapter Twelve: Jacksonian America (1815-1840)
- Chapter Thirteen: Antebellum Revival and Reform
- Chapter Fourteen: Westward Expansion
- Chapter Fifteen: The Impending Crisis
- Chapter Sixteen: The Civil War
- Chapter Seventeen: Reconstruction
About the Book
This textbook examines U.S. History from before European Contact through Reconstruction, while focusing on the people and their history.Prior to its publication, History in the Making underwent a rigorous double blind peer review, a process that involved over thirty scholars who reviewed the materially carefully, objectively, and candidly in order to ensure not only its scholarly integrity but also its high standard of quality.This book provides a strong emphasis on critical thinking about US History by providing several key features in each chapter. Learning Objectives at the beginning of each chapter help students to understand what they will learn in each chapter. Before You Move On sections at the end of each main section are designed to encourage students to reflect on important concepts and test their knowledge as they read. In addition, each chapter includes Critical Thinking Exercises that ask the student to deeply explore chapter content, Key Terms, and a Chronology of events.
About the Contributors
Catherine Locks is an instructor and also an instructional technologist/designer from Richmond, Virginia. She received her BS in history from Longwood University(1986) and her MA in history(2000) and MEd in instructional technology from Georgia College & State University(2002). She teaches online courses for the University System of Georgia’s eCore program, and face-to-face courses for Fort Valley State University. Her areas of interest include pre-history, ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and Rome, medieval English history, and colonial American history, particularly of the mid-Atlantic region.
Sarah K. Mergel, PhD. received her BA in history and sociology from Boston College (1997) and her MA and PhD in history from The George Washington University (2002/2007). She works as an Assistant Professor of History at Dalton State College in Northwest Georgia teaching both face-to-face and online classes. She specializes in American political, intellectual, and diplomatic history since the end of the Civil War. Much of her work in History in the Making: A History of the People of the United States of America to 1877 focuses on political and economic developments in the Colonial Era, the Federalist Era, the Jacksonian Era, and the Civil War Era.
Pamela Thomas Roseman, PhD. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Pamela T. Roseman received her BA from Florida State University, did her MA work at Florida State and Georgia State Universities, and received her PhD from Georgia State University in 1980. Her fields of concentration include American Intellectual history, Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Tudor-Stuart England, and U.S. and Latin American colonial history. Her Master’s Thesis explores Puritan motivation in the settlement of New England; her dissertation is entitled Millennial Expectation Among Southern Evangelicals in the Mid-19th century.
Tamara Spike, PhD. Tamara Spike is a historian of colonial Latin America and the indigenous peoples of the Americas. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of History, Anthropology, and Philosophy at the University of North Georgia. Dr. Spike earned her MA and PhD in History from Florida State University, and holds a dual BA in Anthropology and Classical Archaeology. She has worked as a professional archaeologist on historic and prehistoric digs throughout Florida. From 1999-2010, she was a staff member of the Guadalajara Census Project, a group which works to analyze censuses from the city spanning the years 1790-1930, and to digitize these censuses for use by scholars, genealogists, and the public. She is the English language editor of both Volume I and II of the published databases of the Guadalajara Census Project. Dr. Spike’s publications include “Making History Count: The Guadalajara Census Project (1791-1930)” in the Hispanic American Historical Review, “Si todo el mundo fuera Inglaterra: la teoría de Peter Laslett sobre la composición de las unidades domésticas vs. la realidad tapatía, 1821-1822,” in Estudios Sociales Nueva Época, “St Augustine’s Stomach: Indian Tribute Labor and Corn in Florida, 1565-1763” in Florida’s Labor and Working-Class Past: Three Centuries of Work in the Sunshine State, and “Death and Death Ritual among the Timucua of Spanish Florida,” in From La Florida to La California. Her research focuses on the ethnogenesis and cultural reconstruction of the Timucua Indians of Spanish Florida.