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U.S. History

(40 reviews)

P. Scott Corbett, Ventura, California

Volker Janssen, Fullerton, California

John M. Lund, Keene, New Hampshire

Copyright Year: 2015

ISBN 13: 9781938168369

Publisher: OpenStax

Language: English

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Reviewed by Thomas Little, Professor, Emory and Henry College on 7/17/23

"U.S. History" is a comprehensive textbook that does a good job of telling the whole story of American history. The authors effectively weave U.S. social and cultural history into the framework of political, military, and diplomatic events,... read more

Reviewed by Charles Irwin, History Professor, Des Moines Area Community College on 12/20/21

The text works well for a survey-level course as it covers the major themes in U.S. history. The information is organized logically and easy for the students to follow the material. Since the text is basic in its interpretation of U.S. History... read more

Reviewed by Laura Palmer, Adjunct Lecturer, New York City College of Technology on 4/7/21

This is a fairly comprehensive textbook that outlines the history of the United States, beginning with an overview of the forces that led to colonialist expeditions from European nation-states, outlining some general aspects of pre-colonial North... read more

Reviewed by Greg Hansard, Instructor, John Tyler Community College on 1/20/21

The text is very comprehensive, and it covers all of the appropriate subjects for United States History I and II. The table of contents clearly illustrates the major themes and topics in United States History. read more

Reviewed by Susan Kwosek, Assistant Professor, South Carolina State University on 7/9/20

The book is extremely comprehensive and includes a glossary for the words selected to be defined and included in it. The problem is that the glossary at the end of each chapter is labeled "Key Terms," but it includes a mixture of what I would... read more

Reviewed by Judith Osborn, Instructor, Umpqua Community College on 6/23/20

In comparison with commercial textbooks, the range and coverage are good. The authors clearly worked diligently to include the major points of the history necessary for an introductory text. The Index needs to be more comprehensive, it is too... read more

Reviewed by David Trowbridge, Associate Professor, Marshall University on 5/19/20

On its face, the text appears to mirror the topics one sees in a typical commercial textbook. However, when you dig a little deeper the book lacks the narrative and interpretive quality of recent commercial textbooks such as the popular text by... read more

Reviewed by Chris McGraw, History Instructor, Central Louisiana Technical Community College on 5/2/20

The text is very comprehensive, and its 32 chapters give a broad overview of American history from Pre-Columbian times to the end of Barack Obama's presidency. The chapters are organized both chronologically and thematically. The chapters do not... read more

Reviewed by Robert Carlock, Adjunct Instructor, Bowling Green State University on 12/22/19

This text breaks American history into typical chronological and thematic chapters. There are also consistent themes emphasized throughout the chapters, such as women's history, Black history, and Mexican-American history. read more

Reviewed by Evan Casey, Assistant Professor, Marian University on 12/18/19

This text covers US History brilliantly. The depth of research and care in including pertinent information is well done. read more

Reviewed by Ian Beamish, Assistant Professor, ULL on 11/10/19

The books covers the political narrative relatively thoroughly, but skews its attention to England and Europe over other areas of the Atlantic World in early chapters. The book is weakest in terms of coverage pre-1650 and post-1968. read more

Reviewed by J Bates, Assistant Professor, Minnesota State University System on 10/28/19

This textbook does an exceptional job of providing a comprehensive though still nuanced portrait of US history. I was particularly impressed with the colonial era and the authors’ devotion to setting up the complex interplay between African,... read more

Reviewed by Kevin Rucker, Senior lecturer, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 10/24/19

I found that the text does broadly covers significant historical events and people in a broad overview. While there is not a lot of depth in the chapters, it makes a great overview do use if the instructor adds supplemental readings. The review... read more

Reviewed by Jeannie Harding, Adjunct Instructor, James Madison University on 7/8/19

One of the strengths of this text is its comprehensiveness. It covers all of US History, beginning with the status of Africa, the Americas, and Europe pre-Columbus. The text hits all of the major topics in American history that one can find in a... read more

Reviewed by Michael Garcia, Adjunct Professor, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 5/24/19

The text addresses significant historical points, but without great depth. Though limited in content, the organizational framework/index of the text serves as a sufficient "guide" for a general survey course; however, it will need to be... read more

Reviewed by Ben Alexander, Adjunct Associate Professor, New York City College of Technology on 4/8/19

While it's impossible to cover everything, this book does an admirable job of going into detail about important topics. The opening chapters provide a breathtaking panorama of the early origins of human life in the Americas and the global scene... read more

Reviewed by Stuart Tully, Assistant Professor , Nicholls State University on 4/4/19

The book is comprehensive, perhaps to a fault. It covers a wide spread of concepts and historical elements but never goes into too much depth. This sort of surface-level examination of material is suitable for a survey-level course, but unless the... read more

Reviewed by Daniel  Morales, Assistant Professor, James Madison University on 2/13/19

The textbook covers most of the areas of US history, perhaps too much as some points and not enough in others but overall is comprehensive in covering political history. It is limited though in a lot of social history and history of the Southwest... read more

Reviewed by Jessica Taylor , Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech on 1/10/19

This textbook hits all the major points necessary for a US survey class, with particular emphasis on political history. The key terms demonstrate a commitment to all the "Greatest Hits" no survey would miss (carpetbaggers, the Sons of Liberty, the... read more

Reviewed by Dan Allosso, Assistant Professor, History, Minnesota State (Bemidji State University) on 12/14/18

Like most contemporary US History textbooks, this text begins before 1492, setting the scene for Iberian and later French, Dutch, and English colonization of the Americas. As an environmental historian, I think magnitude of the native depopulation... read more

Reviewed by Gwen Tarbox, Professor, Department of English, Western Michigan University on 12/11/18

US History is certainly comprehensive: the task of tracing the development of the United States from pre-colonial times to the second term of President Barack Obama is a daunting one. I think that the text might work better in a history course... read more

Reviewed by Beth Fowler, Senior Lecturer, Wayne State University on 12/1/18

Overall, this is one of the most comprehensive and engaging textbooks I have ever read! The vast majority of events, issues, and themes that I introduce in class and want my students to think about were covered, or at least introduced. The way the... read more

Reviewed by Brian Leech, Associate Professor, Augustana College on 11/18/18

Periods: Overall, good work by the authors. The text does fairly well with the pre-European contact period, although I’d still prefer more attention to North American Indians. The text is not unusual in this respect. It also would sure be nice if... read more

Reviewed by Kathleen Pannozzi, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies, Rhode Island College on 6/19/18

This US History text is certainly comprehensive. In its 32 chapters all phases of the development of the American nation are addressed. In some cases there are multiple chapters on one era. The period of 1760-1790 is explored in chapters 5, 6... read more

Reviewed by Morten Bach, Associate Lecturer, Ohio University - Zanesville on 2/1/18

The text certainly aspires to be comprehensive with thirty-two chapters moving from the pre-Columbian context to Barack Obama’s second term. For the most part, it compares favorably to the commercial text I’ve been using in my U.S. history survey... read more

Reviewed by Jonathan Rees, Professor of History, Colorado State University - Pueblo on 2/1/18

It's comprehensive, but the depth of coverage is uneven. There is far more detail on the pre-1945 period than the post-1945 period. In the earlier period, the same years are (rightfully) covered in multiple chapters. In the post-1945 periods,... read more

Reviewed by Arlene Reilly-Sandoval, Associate Professor, Colorado State University-Pueblo on 2/1/18

This text covers Pre-Colombian U.S. to the 21st Century. It is comprehensive in that it covers not just the major wars or conflicts, but also the industrialization, struggles of indigenous populations, and the development of a nation. This book... read more

Reviewed by Matthew Whitlock, Adjunct Instructor, Tidewater Community College on 8/15/17

The textbook is very comprehensive, covering pre-contact to the 21st Century in 32 chapters. The authors provide thorough details in 1052 pages. Providing some additional primary sources into some of the chapters would be great. read more

Reviewed by Leah Hagedorn, Professor of History, Tidewater Community College on 8/15/17

This promising textbook would benefit from greater comprehensiveness and greater depth. The book is easily searchable. In considering the text for community college use, at least twenty percent of community college students have disabilities and... read more

Reviewed by John Haymond, Adjunct Instructor of History, Riverland Community College on 6/20/17

I was most interested in the portions of this text that dealt with events from mid-19th century to the First World War, but I still read through sections bracketing that date range. In its aim to cover the entire sweep of American history from... read more

Reviewed by Tom Nejely, Instructor, Klamath Community College on 6/20/17

I am reviewing this text from the viewpoint of a community college survey course, whose students may or may not be at college level writing. This population has certain needs and behaviors that influence the way I'm going to review the text.... read more

Reviewed by Thomas Woodhouse, Instructor, Riverland Community College on 6/20/17

This textbook is comprehensive. It covers events from pre-1492 through the last years of President Obama's administration. It looks at social, economic, cultural, political, racial, gender and military history, and it often goes beyond those... read more

Reviewed by Kurt Kortenhof, History Instructor, Saint Paul College on 4/11/17

The US History text is organized into 32 chapters that adequately present an outline of American history from pre-contact to 2014. The book is also easily adaptable to the two US History survey structure most colleges and universities follow.... read more

Reviewed by Gerd Horten, Professor of History, Concordia University--Portland, Oregon on 2/15/17

The coverage of this textbook is very comprehensive. The 32 chapters are very similar to many other textbooks which are commercially available, and they are well suited for two-semester and three-term surveys of US history. Especially in the... read more

Reviewed by David Jamison, Visiting Assistant Professor, Miami University -- Middletown on 8/21/16

At 1052 pages, "U.S. History" is nothing if not comprehensive. Maybe comprehensive to a fault. Although it fulfills its duty as a history textbook by including fairly detailed recountings of events (with some exceptions to come), the editors are... read more

Reviewed by Caryn Neumann, Lecturer, Miami University of Ohio on 8/21/16

This book is an acceptable replacement for any U.S. History textbook by a major publisher. To save costs, the publisher used open source material for images. The book is not as polished-looking as a "normal" textbook. However, the quality of the... read more

Reviewed by Charles Young, Associate Professor, Umpqua Community College on 8/21/16

The textbook is quite comprehensive in covering key ares and ideas. For example, I was quite impressed with the well written and broad details concerning "John Winthrop and the Puritans" in Chapter 3 and with "The New Nixon," "The Domestic... read more

Reviewed by Joe Austin, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee on 8/21/16

NOTE: My comments apply ONLY to the post-1865 chapters (16-32). I'd judge this book's comprehensiveness to be about average or a little better. The chapters prior cover the material prior to the 1960s (chapter 29) are more comprehensive than those... read more

Reviewed by Matthew Lindaman, Professor, Winona State University on 8/21/16

Very comprehensive in scope and coverage. If possible, I would like to see a few more primary sources. However, perhaps they could be located in an appendix as the flow is strong "as is." read more

Reviewed by Robert Maloy, Senior Lecturer, University of Massachusetts Amherst on 1/7/16

The book is impressively comprehensive. Its 1052 pages include 32 chapters, beginning with the “Americas, Europe, and Africa Before 1492” and ending with the “Challenges of the 21st Century.” The first eight chapters explore colonial America,... read more

Table of Contents

  • The Americas, Europe, and Africa Before 1492
  • Early Globalization: The Atlantic World, 1492–1650
  • Creating New Social Orders: Colonial Societies, 1500–1700
  • Rule Britannia! The English Empire, 1660–1763
  • Imperial Reforms and Colonial Protests, 1763-1774
  • America's War for Independence, 1775-1783
  • Creating Republican Governments, 1776–1790
  • Growing Pains: The New Republic, 1790–1820
  • The Industrial, Market, and Transportation Revolutions, 1800–1850
  • Jacksonian Democracy, 1820–1840
  • A Nation on the Move: Westward Expansion, 1800–1860
  • Cotton is King: The Antebellum South, 1800–1860
  • Antebellum Idealism and Reform Impulses, 1820–1860
  • Troubled Times: the Tumultuous 1850s
  • The Civil War, 1860–1865
  • The Era of Reconstruction, 1865–1877
  • Go West Young Man! Westward Expansion, 1840-1900
  • Industrialization and the Rise of Big Business, 1870-1900
  • The Growing Pains of Urbanization, 1870-1900
  • Politics in the Gilded Age, 1870-1900
  • Leading the Way: The Progressive Movement, 1890-1920
  • Age of Empire: American Foreign Policy, 1890-1914
  • Americans and the Great War, 1914-1919
  • The Jazz Age: Redefining the Nation, 1919-1929
  • Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? The Great Depression, 1929-1932
  • Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, 1932-1941
  • Fighting the Good Fight in World War II, 1941-1945
  • Post-War Prosperity and Cold War Fears, 1945-1960
  • Contesting Futures: America in the 1960s
  • Political Storms at Home and Abroad, 1968-1980
  • From Cold War to Culture Wars, 1980-2000
  • The Challenges of the Twenty-First Century

Ancillary Material

  • OpenStax
  • OpenStax
  • OpenStax
  • About the Book

    U.S. Historycovers the breadth of the chronological history of the United States and also provides the necessary depth to ensure the course is manageable for instructors and students alike. U.S. History is designed to meet the scope and sequence requirements of most courses. The authors introduce key forces and major developments that together form the American experience, with particular attention paid to considering issues of race, class, and gender. The text provides a balanced approach to U.S. history, considering the people, events, and ideas that have shaped the United States from both the top down (politics, economics, diplomacy) and bottom up (eyewitness accounts, lived experience).

    OpenStax College has compiled many resources for faculty and students, from faculty-only content to interactive homework and study guides.

    About the Contributors


    Senior Contributors

    P. Scott Corbett, PhD - Ventura College

    Volker Janssen, PhD - California State University-Fullerton

    John M. Lund, PhD - Keene State College

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