History in the Making: A History of the People of the United States of America to 1877
Catherine Locks, Fort Valley State University
Sarah Mergel, Dalton State College
Pamela Roseman, Georgia Perimeter College
Tamara Spike, University of North Georgia
Pub Date: 2013
ISBN 13: 978-0-9882237-3-8
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No history textbook can possibly address the entire range of experience within a national history. This one does an admirable job of including 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 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 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 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 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 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. 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 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 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 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. 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.
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 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
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 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.
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.