Conditions of Use
In addition to doing a good job covering the "usual topics", The American Yawp provides a much more balanced view of American history than many popular hardback textbooks. The text and primary sources focus on marginalized groups that are often... read more
In addition to doing a good job covering the "usual topics", The American Yawp provides a much more balanced view of American history than many popular hardback textbooks. The text and primary sources focus on marginalized groups that are often overlooked in traditional texts. Not only does this teach a more well-rounded version of American history, but it increases student engagement by focusing on Latinx, African American, and Native American histories (and more). The early chapters primarily focus on Native American groups, and when European colonization arrives the text does not ignore the Spanish presence and influence in the region. Later chapters continue this trend by focusing on the early influence of African culture in the Americas and the constant contributions by Native Americans, Spain/Mexico, and African-Americans in shaping the expanding United States. The primary source sections continue this strategy. At the end of each chapter, there are several primary source documents for students to read that include a short introduction to the document. The selection does a great job of presenting the complexity of issues and the diversity of views for the major historical topics....the American Revolution, slavery, and so on. The choices are also of documents that are more engaging and revealing to students...instead of some more traditional "boring" documents. I think the text could go even further in certain chapters, like the American Revolution, but it is a great change compared to other traditional texts. In addition, the structure of the table of contents is easy to navigate. You can click on each chapter, and then within the chapter you have options to click on the different sections, the primary sources, or the reference material.
I found the content accurate and error-free. Regarding bias, as stated above, I found that the creators worked hard to free the textbook of bias...if such a thing is ever possible. Despite having shorter chapters than other books (which I like here), it does a great job of hitting a variety of topics and views in each chapter. For example, the chapter on the American Revolution looks at motivations of various Americans ... and not just the political leaders leading the charge. The chapter and documents examine the motivations of African-Americans and women during this war. While again I think it could take a deeper look at these individuals and expand to other groups, it does take a good first step.
The text does a good job of following current and needed historical shifts that seek to include a more diverse look at history. Additionally, the structure of the book allows for new sections or primary sources to be added, modified, or deleted with ease....and without complicating student access.
One of the things I really like about this textbook is that it provides shorter chapters, but also provides an expanded view on U.S. history. In other books, chapter might be fifty pages and overwhelm students with information. This text manages to shorten the chapters, but focus the material in such a way that is provides a more comprehensive view of history. This results in the students more likely to read the chapters and able to digest shorter sections without feeling overwhelmed by information that, honestly, might not be that essential in a introductory course.
The textbook keeps the same exact structure from the beginning to end. It really helps so once students successfully navigate the first chapter, they know how to navigate the remainder of the book.
As I wrote above, one of the things I really like about this textbook is that it provides shorter chapters, but also provides an expanded view on U.S. history. In other books, chapter might be fifty pages and overwhelm students in information. This text manages to shorten the chapters, but focus the material in such a way that is provides a more comprehensive view of history. This results in the students more likely to read the chapters and able to digest shorter sections without feeling overwhelmed by information that, honestly, might not be that essential in an introductory course.
In addition, the structure of the table of contents is easy to navigate. You can click on each chapter, and then within the chapter you have options to click on the different sections, the primary sources, or the reference material. The historical material is presented in a clear fashion.....again, providing a more expanded view on history but without complicating the chapter structure for students.
I did not encounter any interface issues. In fact, the interface is a major reason I like this text. It is easy for my students to navigate. The main page provides not only a list of the chapters, but a print version of the book (.pdf), teaching materials, and so on. Then each chapter has a clear structure that is broken down by section, primary sources, and reference material.
I have not yet found any grammatical errors.
In addition to doing a good job covering the "usual topics", The American Yawp provides a much more balanced view of American history than many popular hardback textbooks. The text and primary sources focus on marginalized groups that are often overlooked in traditional texts. Not only does this teach a more well-rounded version of American history, but it increases student engagement by focusing on Latinx, African American, and Native American histories (and more). The early chapters primarily focus on Native American groups, and when European colonization arrives the text does not ignore the Spanish presence and influence in the region. Later chapters continue this trend by focusing on the early influence of African culture in the Americas and the constant contributions by Native Americans, Spain/Mexico, and African-Americans in shaping the expanding United States. The primary source sections continue this strategy. At the end of each chapter, there are several primary source documents for students to read that include a short introduction to the document. The selection does a great job of presenting the complexity of issues and the diversity of views for the major historical topics....the American Revolution, slavery, and so on. The choices are also of documents that are more engaging and revealing to students...instead of some more traditional "boring" documents. I think the text could go even further in certain chapters, like the American Revolution, but it is a great change compared to other traditional texts.
My first goal when looking at an OER text was to provide a class where students have easy access, and first day access, to the required materials. Students often fall behind early because they can’t afford a textbook (loan money hasn’t arrived, too expensive, etc.). Eliminating this possible obstacle by providing a free textbook sets the foundation for student success. The American Yawp provides an online link, .pdf copy, and a cheap option if they want a hard copy. I also can't stress enough how nice it will be to allow students to immediately access their book in class. An unfortunate reality about hardback textbooks is the variety of options….which means the page numbers do not match from different versions/editions. Now all students will have the same page numbers, and it will lessen confusion I have witnessed every semester (3rd edition vs 4th edition, bound vs hardback vs combined). This will also carry over to any future situations like our current one involving the stay at home online teaching. I have noticed this semester that students in my OER course have had a much easier time adjusting to this new reality. Students without enough money aren’t left behind because they can’t borrow their friend’s book or access it at CCA’s library. The textbook also provides the necessary primary sources, as well as primary and secondary sources that can be used on their term papers.
Good text that covers most areas of US History. The text covers a bit of American social history, political history and contains a few military events as well read more
Good text that covers most areas of US History. The text covers a bit of American social history, political history and contains a few military events as well
The text covers most, but not all content. It tends to cover more of the "Social" aspects of US history as opposed to more of the usual military and political history
Incredibly relevant to today's world
Clear language and context is used. I liked the organization of the topics and chapters, very easy to use.
Incredibly consistent. Each chapter is easy to follow because of the readings, primary sources and content organization. Really well organized.
The divisibility is what makes this book worthwhile. You can assign shorter/longer sections or topics. As a adjunct that teaches part time, I really appreciated the reading being chopped up in this format.
Organization is what the authors did well with this text. The American Yawp is made for today's online student.
Very visually appealing to the reader
None that I can see
Very cultural relevant text.
As an adjunct instructor, I found the American Yawp text, along with the new teacher resources provided incredibly helpful to me. It is easy to navigate and use. The ease will benefit both students and teachers stay engaged either on a computer or at home using a paper copy.
Overall, this is an excellent choice for most instructors who want to use a textbook for a US history survey course, but also plan to have lectures or discussion activities on top of a textbook. It works well for those uses. It also has... read more
Overall, this is an excellent choice for most instructors who want to use a textbook for a US history survey course, but also plan to have lectures or discussion activities on top of a textbook. It works well for those uses. It also has potential for using chapters as background reading material for upper level courses in early American and antebellum history where the instructor also uses other primary and secondary readings. The text is forward-thinking. It is a crowd-sourced textbook in the sense that each chapter has a different group of authors who are writing about their own period of research. They work together to frame each chapter and to focus it clearly on the insights of more contemporary scholarships, including scholarship not yet in print. The authors are early-career scholars who bring insight and fresh attention to the task of creating an online textbook. While I wish there was more Native American history in particular in this textbook, and more attention to critical issues in race, it does a good job of balancing the many topics different professors are likely to address in the classroom.
It is well-researched and largely error-free.
The content is mostly up-to-date, although it is weak on Native American history and continental historical perspectives. It does better than several competing commercial textbooks, however.
The text is well-written and uses interesting examples frequently.
The American Yawp is a very usable open access textbook for college courses. It is carefully divided into chapters with around 7 subheadings per chapter and about 15 chapters covering a typical one semester-equivalent college course. All of the chapters and subheading generate distinct urls so instructors can use individual sections and link to it from the learning management software they use. In that way, it is thoughtfully laid out for online teaching and for 21st century pedagogies.
organization is nice
The textbook interface works well. Images are frequent and nicely integrated into the text. One strength of this collection is the integrated primary documents for each chapter, which are varied and important.
It is somewhat weak on race, but certainly up to date and not offensive.
The textbook does come with some additional resources for instructors, although far less than a commercial platform or other OER textbooks that come via school subscription. There are basic multiple choice questions available, but it is difficult to import them into course management systems. There are also suggestions for discussion questions and open-ended exam essay questions for the course. Of course, experienced instructors are likely to have lots of essay question wordings of their own in mind. In this day and age of using multiple choice reading quizzes just to encourage reading, more issues-oriented, protected multiple choice questions would be a nice addition to this series going forward.
This text covers a wide range of topics coherently and with an appropriate level of factual detail. There are certainly areas which are less developed than others (gender and sexuality, Native American history), but the text should work well for... read more
This text covers a wide range of topics coherently and with an appropriate level of factual detail. There are certainly areas which are less developed than others (gender and sexuality, Native American history), but the text should work well for a standard US History course.
Overall, I found the text to be accurate and carefully researched.
The authors demonstrate engagement with relatively recent scholarship, as well as an ability to translate that scholarship into a form more easily digestible for the average student. Still, more attention to newer fields of study and more extensive use of research published in the last decade would have been appreciated.
In general, the text is straightforward and at a level appropriate to the college classroom, if sometimes a bit repetitive.
The text flows nicely and maintains a consistent voice, structure, and framing.
The text is well-divided, and could easily be assigned as whole chapters or as subsections. The primary sources at the end of each chapter are also useful, and help supplement some gaps in the main text's coverage.
The sections follow logically from each other and would fit well in a traditionally-sequenced US history class.
No issues that I noticed.
I noticed no grammatical errors in the text.
The authors have worked hard to include a wide range of perspectives, but at the same time, this is still a very traditional narrative of US History. The primary sources at the end of each chapter highlight a wider range of voices, but might have been better incorporated into the text to correct some areas of imbalance.
This text very effectively covers the key themes traditionally included in print texts, from earliest Americans through to Reconstruction. The layout is generally chronological, and each chapter contains about 6 sections of content, each... read more
This text very effectively covers the key themes traditionally included in print texts, from earliest Americans through to Reconstruction. The layout is generally chronological, and each chapter contains about 6 sections of content, each emphasizing a particular topic. At the end of each chapter is a set of primary source excerpts, followed by a recommended reading list. This organization, layout and narrative style is very straightforward, readable and navigable, and I think students will find it far more approachable than many print texts. It is, of course, impossible for any survey text to achieve perfect depth and breadth across every sub-theme, but this text does a commendable job representing the perspectives and experiences of a wide range of people across race, class and ethnicity. I do think that more should be done to increase the presence and contributions of women. To give one example, women’s role in the early republic as Republican Mothers is defined in chapter 7, in one paragraph. This was an important transitional role for women, and the topic could be extended to discuss the ways in which specific women appropriated this role for differing purposes. Throughout the text deeper and more specific examples of women’s political, religious, literary and reform roles should be added.
I found no issues with accuracy, and the content is well footnoted.
The text is very up to date, clearly incorporating recent scholarship.
The organization and layout of the text is easy to follow. The writing is very clear and concise, and the illustrations enhance the narrative nicely.
The organizational framework is consistent throughout. Some minor inconsistencies include the fact that Chapter 6, "The New Nation" is exceptionally long, and could benefit from being divided into two chapters. Also, the level of detail in the Conclusions varies considerably. The better conclusions (such as chapter 5, "The American Revolution") fully reflect and recapitulate the main themes of the chapter. A last inconsistency relates to the primary sources, which, while excellent in and of themselves, could be better aligned with the content of the chapters. For example, there is a primary source about the Salem witch trials in Chapter 2, but the discussion of the trials is in Chapter 3. On the other hand, Chapter 3 has a section, "Riot, Rebellion, and Revolt" that considers King Philip's War, Bacon's Rebellion, and the Pueblo Revolt, but there are no corresponding primary sources. It would be a great modification to more closely align the sources to the content.
The text is very easily divisible into smaller reading assignments.
The text is very logically organized.
The interface is very simple and easy to navigate.
I found no grammar flaws with the text.
As mentioned previously, the text considers the perspectives and experiences of a range of people, but as with most texts, more work can always be done in this area.
This is a great replacement for expensive, print text books.
I thought its was an excellent text for U.S. I. Like any historical narrative, there could always be additional areas of review and exploration, but its a very well done survey of major themes running through most classic U.S. History I text books. read more
I thought its was an excellent text for U.S. I. Like any historical narrative, there could always be additional areas of review and exploration, but its a very well done survey of major themes running through most classic U.S. History I text books.
The book is well vetted and supported by both primary and secondary authority. I saw no obvious errors or bias in the authors presentation of relevant content
The content is a classic example of the core concepts in any traditional U.S. History I survey course. Very relevant and timeless!
The books author seemed to have striven for clarity and functionality. This will serve community college students well without lowering the bar on content and quality.
The book keeps a consistent style and pace throughout its chapter format. Each chapter flows nicely from period to period without awkward stylistic changes or deviations.
Although the book is organized extremely well, I always believe that more subheadings and titled sections help students digest material more readily and it removes some of the intimidation over students tackling long verses of material without breaks or transitional subheadings and subtopics.
The structure of the book is well crafted. It transitions with a clear and contextual relevancy that helps the reader understand the core concepts with clarity and ease.
I witnessed no issues with navigation problems or distracting materials.
There seemed to be no grammatical issues.
This is an area all text books could improve upon. This book does well, but there could be more depth with some of the often overlooked participants in American History!
Overall, I loved it and will adopt it for my course!
Overall the text is a wonderful resource for teachers looking for free online resources for their students. It features an array of supplementary resources that many teachers will welcome. It has some issues however; see criticisms in 'Cultural,'... read more
Overall the text is a wonderful resource for teachers looking for free online resources for their students. It features an array of supplementary resources that many teachers will welcome. It has some issues however; see criticisms in 'Cultural,' below.
More could be done to detail the experiences of women and people of color. This is not to say that there are many errors, but there are some opportunities to detail more of those peoples' experiences
The textbook very helpfully points teachers (and students) to a plethora of additional scholarly works at the end of each chapter. Many of these texts are seminal works in the field which have been compiled alongside some of the more important historiographical additions of the last few decades.
The writing throughout the American Yawp is wonderfully clear and concise; this is a very accessible text.
The chapters are about as evenly divided as any other textbook. In terms of terminology, it would have been helpful if key terms had been highlighted for students in order for them to focus in on those ideas as they make their way through the readings.
Each chapter is broken down into a couple subtopics. There are times when there could have been further divisions in order to keep the readers focused on the main topics at hand. Some chapters could have been broken up into two, such as the American Revolution, which includes the lead-up to, events of, and the consequences of the Revolution all in one chapter. Given that this topic is something that many college professors could spend an entire course on perhaps the chapter could have been divided, though, this is a critique many scholars will have regarding their chosen fields.
Very well organized
Very easy to navigate
This is a wonderful read
This text, while understandably concise, misses out on some important details that would have added more nuance to students' understanding of American history. The chapter on the American Revolution, for example, propagates the misinformed notion that Native Americans served alongside the British alone, making no mention in the text of the various tribes along the eastern half of the continent that served alongside the American forces. This erases those peoples’ claims to helping shape American history. By including that Native Americans also fought alongside the Continental Army (including members of the Oneida, Narragansett, Passamaquoddy, and Wappinger communities and tribes, among others) it would have presented students with a more complicated version of the past than is presented in the text. The fact that some of these peoples continue to live along the east coast today runs counter to the monolithic depiction of indigenous peoples presented in the text when it says "Unfortunately, the Americans’ victory and Native Americans’ support for the British created a pretense for justifying rapid and often brutal expansion into the western territories. Native American peoples would continue to be displaced and pushed farther west throughout the nineteenth century." This lack of detail continues in the chapter on the Civil War, where Native Americans are not mentioned at all. As it relates to the service of black Americans in the Northern forces during the Civil War there are some omissions. While the text notes, for example, that the black members of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment protested that they did not receive equal pay compared to their white peers, it makes no mention of the fact that Congress corrected that wrong in 1864. While the "Recommended Reading" section at the end of each chapter directs readers to further scholarly works, it is apparent that the chapters in question could have benefited from the inclusion of some of those materials. The chapter, "A New Nation," for example, includes an end of chapter reference to Rosemarie Zagarri's Revolutionary Backlash, but the chapter itself makes no mention of her historiographical arguments; women are barely mentioned at all in the chapter text, let alone any details regarding the potential opportunities and disappointments of the post-war era.
Overall this is a tremendous resource and I look forward to using it in my own classes. While it has some omissions, this will be true of many textbooks; it is up to the community to continue filling in those gaps
Overall, this text compares well to other major American History survey texts. It covers a broad range of topics associated with politics, social structures and institutions, cultural attributes and changes, and economic structures, institutions,... read more
Overall, this text compares well to other major American History survey texts. It covers a broad range of topics associated with politics, social structures and institutions, cultural attributes and changes, and economic structures, institutions, and ideas. The scope is impressive, and presented at a level appropriate to a college audience. I did not see either an index or a glossary; some of the supporting documents in the Reader have broken out historical terms which could be adapted into a glossary.
I detected no errors of fact. The broad coverage of social, political, cultural, and economic topics seems free of bias, one laudable result of the large number of contributors. Of course some readers may infer bias merely on the basis of the inclusion of some topics - that is, where some of the less laudable elements of American history are presented, some readers will assume bias on the authors' part. There is occasional overuse of terminology like "changed things forever," or the idea that changes that developed over substantial spans of time were "revolutions." Emphasizing change over continuity can distort how life was for people at the time.
The text seems very logically organized for these purposes. The underlying historiography seems entirely appropriate, and uses well-regarded and -established texts. The division of chapters into sections would seem to make amendments and revisions straightforward, without having to do a lot of extra editing to fit new materials in. The inclusion of well-chosen primary sources at the end of each chapter is appreciated, and it seems like they could easily be added to and/or removed as needed. The chapter bibliographies are also very well done and useful.
This is one of the volume's strong points. The text, presumably from a large number of contributors, has clearly been edited to a high standard. Most sections flow nicely, the level of vocabulary is appropriate for a college audience - some will be challenged, but most will appreciate not being talked down to. It is free of historical or historiographic jargon. Some terms could use clarification; for example, the chapter "The Sectional Crisis" never defines "sectional" in this context; this may seem obvious, but it is not to many students. A glossary would clearly help there.
Another strong point of the text. The chapters and chapter sections are consistently organized, clearly titled, and useful as guides to the contents. Terminology across chapters also is consistent, evidence of excellent editing.
Yet another area of excellence. The Chapters could stand on their own for coverage of their topics/time periods. Sections of chapters could too, though in that case they may need to be supplemented by primary sources. I did not see any explicit internal references, which helps with modularity, I suppose, but could be helpful to students' making connections across time and topics.
Across and within chapters, topics are presented in a logical and clear fashion, yes. The inevitable overlap between chapters is kept to a minimum, avoiding repetition that mars some texts. Within chapters, the sections build over the course of the chapters, so that by the end broad coverage has been obtained. Section conclusions more often than not are connected to following sections, and chapter conclusions are both comprehensive and mercifully brief. The graphics included are very well chosen. They are all easily downloadable, and of sufficiently high resolution that even small text in old political cartoons is readable (though not necessarily in the text; you need to download and magnify). More maps would be good; for example, the chapter on Manifest Destiny, an inherently geographic topic, has only one map, of the distribution of Indians. That is a very useful and well-done map, but students often lack the geographic knowledge to make sense of westward expansion (and other topics in other chapters) in other than very general terms. Though not part of the text itself, the associated American Yawp Reader, found under "Teaching Materials," is a very useful set of primary sources.
Easy to navigate throughout, and consistent across chapters. It would be helpful if the chapter bibliography, footnotes, and Primary Sources listed at the end opened in a new window. As I stated above, the graphics are well done, high resolution, and appropriately situated in the text. More would be better, in fact.
I detected no errors.
I did not encounter any instances of text content, graphical content, or exclusions that might offend readers. In fact, most chapters seem extraordinarily inclusive; for instance, the chapter "Colonial Society" gives European, Native American, African, gender, workers, elites, enslaved, shopkeepers, urban, rural, regional, ethnic, religious, and ideological groups appropriate coverage.
This is as good a textbook as any available on the market. The list of contributors, editors, and advisors is extraordinary. They have done a really excellent job in creating this text and accompanying materials..
This textbook does a fine job of covering all the expected and appropriate areas of early American history. AS with any textbook, some areas receive more coverage, others less, and individual instructors will take issue with some of the choices... read more
This textbook does a fine job of covering all the expected and appropriate areas of early American history. AS with any textbook, some areas receive more coverage, others less, and individual instructors will take issue with some of the choices of the authors. In the section on the American Revolution, for example, the text might have emphasized more the divided loyalties of the American colonists, and the extent to which Parliament, at least early on, tried to conciliate rather than antagonize the colonies. More coverage of the "country" ideology in Great Britain, that served as inspiration for many Revolutionaries, would have been salutary. In chapter 6, a more extensive of women's rights as included (or not) in the Constitution would have provided a greater opportunity to discuss rights, citizenship, and gender during the era. Some attention to the emergence and functioning of the Second Party system would have made the sections on antebellum politics more robust. Similarly, in Chapter 13, a more detailed discussion of the transition from the Second to Third party systems would have better set the stage for the descent into civil war. In chapter 14, on the Civil War itself, discussion of the Union's "hard war" strategy and General Grant's recognition that the war could not be won without heavy losses would bring the conflict's enormous carnage into clearer focus. All in all, though, the text does as good a job of covering the entire scope of the early American survey as any text put out by the major publication houses.
The text had no problems with accuracy. I detected no bias. If anything, the collective authorship's efforts to be fair and unbiased may have foreclosed opportunities for a more forceful exposition of some elements of early American history.
For the most part, the text is up-to-date. Some areas are lacking, however. The material on temperance specifically, and and antebellum reform more generally, in Chapter 10 is dated, and does not reflect recent scholarship in the field(s). American Yawp also fails to incorporate much recent literature on the social and cultural impacts of the Market Revolution on the everyday lives of various groups of Americans. There is room for improvement in these and a few other areas. In addition, greater attention to women and Native Americans would make the text more relevant to current discussions of gender, women's and minority rights, and citizenship. To a great degree, the primary documents reader compensates for these gaps with sources that give voice to all strata of American society.
The prose was clear, lucid and accessible. It avoided jargon or specialized terms, and did not descend into overly technical discussions of crucial areas of early American history. Undergraduates would have no trouble reading and comprehending American Yawp.
Though American Yawp is the product of the collaborative effort of a number of historians, it does not read as the work of many authors. The approach, methodology, and prose style are consistent throughout the text. The text's framework follows a fairly standard chronological division of topics into familiar chunks that cohere nicely.
The text's chapters provide ample opportunities for dividing the work into smaller units to suit varying pedagogical strategies. If anything, I found the chapters a bit short; many could have been expanded slightly to include more detail on significant topics, or to remedy some of the problems noted in the Comprehensiveness and Relevance sections. Certainly, the text's chapters could be reorganized to support different stylistic or organizational approaches to early American history.
The text follows a logical and familiar organizational style. If anything, the organization is a bit too traditional; greater license with when and how to present threads running throughout the period covered (the role of women; race; shifting political systems, etc.) might have added to the accessibility of the material. Successful presentation of familiar and effective patterns of exposition, however, compensate for any lack of innovation. For most early American surveys, American Yawp's organization would work admirably well.
I encountered no interface or navigation problems. Readers could move to various parts of the text from the table of contents quickly and effectively. Images and documents loaded effectively and clearly. There is little possibility of confusion or misdirection for any reasonably attentive user of the online text.
I found no grammatical errors. Proofreading of the texts was comprehensive and effective.
Though not offensive, the text could have paid more attention to questions of race, particularly as they touched on Native Americans. There is little coverage of Indian policy in Chapter 9, which covers politics during the early national antebellum era. Nor is removal in Chapter 10, on the Jackson era. This is either a glaring mistake or a puzzling choice to deal with it elsewhere. In Chapter 12, there is nothing on the intentional attempts by the California state government to exterminate Native Americans during the Gold Rush era. These lacunae seem unintentional; some of the materials related to Native Americans in the primary document reader are quite good, and useful in provoking student discussion.
All things considered, American Yawp is a fine text that holds up well against textbooks published by academic and trade publishers. Given that American Yawp is available free of charge, assigning costly printed texts that at best do a marginally better job at presenting the material does not make sense, pedagogically or economically. While not as well illustrated or colorful as it's more expensive competitors, the text's solid content and presentation make it a logical choice for early American surveys. I found the accompanying primary documents reader as good as anything produced by commercial publishers, and very useful for stimulating student thought and discussion. The only lack from an instructor's perspective is the absence of a teacher's guide, test bank, or study materials linked to the chapters. The addition of theses supplementary materials would make its adoption, in my view, an automatic choice in comparison to costly textbooks that many students will not purchase.
As with any textbook, it’s impossible to be truly comprehensive. The editors acknowledge this difficulty in the introduction: “Should it [a textbook] organize around certain themes or surrender to the impossibility of synthesis and retreat toward... read more
As with any textbook, it’s impossible to be truly comprehensive. The editors acknowledge this difficulty in the introduction: “Should it [a textbook] organize around certain themes or surrender to the impossibility of synthesis and retreat toward generality?” Here, the end result is a rather straightforward chronological narrative that aims to “[incorporate] transnational perspectives, [integrate] diverse voices, [recover] narratives of resistance, and [explore] the complex process of cultural creation.” This noble goal demonstrates definite progress from jingoistic narratives of conquest and oppression of decades past, but of course there’s still work to be done on seeking out and amplifying voices of groups that have historically been ignored. In terms of major events and movements, the book covers the content included in most survey courses. Structurally, the most notable omission is that of an index. Online users could use a text search, but this feature is only truly effective if the reader knows the relevant words to use. For instance, the Revolutionary War might be discussed for several pages without ever using the term “Revolution.”
The text appears no more biased or error-prone than other textbooks. Helpfully, as noted below, a feature lets readers easily report any errors they might find, allowing editors the opportunity to address such problems.
As explained in an introductory note, the American Yawp is updated annually. While the text is not always substantially revised, the latest update (for the 2019-2020 academic year) added two new primary sources per chapter and a “Teaching Materials” section with sample syllabi, discussion questions, exams, key terms, and so on. The editors have also included a helpful feature which allows readers to submit comments tied to specific paragraphs. Here eagle-eyed users can point out errors or make suggestions that are visible to both fellow readers and the editors. Some of these suggested edits may later be incorporated, and it’s fascinating to see how others react to the text.
The text is clear, easy to read, and free from unnecessary jargon and flowery language. Undergrads should have no problems with comprehension.
The editors have done a nice job ensuring that, despite the large number of contributors, the text is consistent in terms of terminology and style.
The chapters are divided into 5 to 11 sections (including an introduction and conclusion), and each of the 15 chapters could stand on its own—most readers should be able to fully understand the material without having read previous chapters. A few sections are rather long, making them appear as a large block of grey. For instance, “Riot, Rebellion, and Revolt,” a section in chapter three, is thirty paragraphs long, and covers events ranging from violent conflicts between British colonists and Native Americans to the Salem witch trials. The material is valuable and interesting, but would benefit from a bit of further division, especially since the heading itself is not terribly specific.
The American Yawp follows a standard organizational scheme, with topics arranged chronologically and based on familiar themes such as “Colonial Society” and “Manifest Destiny.”
The interface is intuitive and navigation is straightforward. Readers can download a single pdf of the volume, or they can click on links to individual chapters to read online. The pdf version is in black and white, a thoughtful touch for those who’d like to print it out, while the online chapters contain color images and links to the previous and following chapters. The online version also lets readers click on a callout number to link straight to its corresponding endnote. Perhaps in later editions the editors could add in-text links to relevant primary sources in the American Yawp primary source reader.
If there are notable grammatical errors, typos, or misspellings, I did not find them. Overall, the text is well-written and well-edited.
The American Yawp, like most modern textbooks, aims to be inclusive in subject matter. For instance, one of the final paragraphs in the Revolution chapter notes that “Ultimately, American independence marked the beginning of the end of what had remained of Native American independence.” This is a great point, but leaves the reader wishing for more than a paragraph of explanation about Native American involvement in the war. Women appear fairly regularly as a collective (enslaved women, white women, middle-class women, etc.), but rarely as individuals. This disparity is most apparent in the list of “Key Terms, Figures, and Events” included in the Teaching Materials section. Of the 300 terms, only three are individual women. The list never claims to be comprehensive, and it’s not directly intended for students, but it does reflect a common tendency to (inadvertently, I hope) minimize women as historical figures in such materials. This is certainly not a unique problem, and it's nice to see that the editors are otherwise working to add more diverse voices to historical narratives. (The American Yawp primary source reader, for instance, includes materials from a wide range of peoples.)
The American Yawp Reader, a collection of primary sources, is particularly handy. Each source has a brief introduction, and the selections include documents and images representing a range of individuals. I do hope the editors add more maps to the next edition. Modern maps would be especially useful in sections on exploration, conquest, Indian removal, wars, and westward expansion. Charts and tables are also noticeably absent, and would be a helpful addition to clarify certain topics. Overall, however, I’d happily adopt it as a textbook, and I’m looking forward to seeing the next round of updates.
The volume includes just about all of the topics that one expects in a comprehensive US history text. It begins with pre-Columbian America, then looks at Western Europe on the eve of colonization. It treats Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, and... read more
The volume includes just about all of the topics that one expects in a comprehensive US history text. It begins with pre-Columbian America, then looks at Western Europe on the eve of colonization. It treats Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, and English colonization, then moves on to the American Revolution, the creation of the American republic, the Market Revolution, the coming of the Civil War, and the Civil War and Reconstruction. Of course some historians would make different choices about inclusion. I was surprised to find only passing mention of Northwest Ordinance of 1787. There is no index, which is a flaw.
If the book contains any factual inaccuracies, I did not spot them. It certainly has a point of view, one with which most faculty teaching US history courses today probably sympathize. It is frank in holding up the costs and horrors of colonization, and emphasizes the inhumanity, and centrality, of slavery in the United States before 1865.
The authors achieve a nice balance in blending traditional themes, such as revolution, nationalism, and the Market Revolution, with recent scholarship. For example, the suggested readings in chapter 11, "The Cotton Revolution," include not only older works by John W. Blassingame and Eugene Genovese, but the work of Edward Baptist, Walter Johnson, and Joshua Rothman.
The authorial voice is quite readable, at times breezy. The text is blessedly free of jargon.
The list of contributors runs over 4 double-columned pages. That makes the consistency of the work all the more impressive.
No faults on this score. The chapters are of reasonable length and divided into sections of 3 or 4 pages. Occasionally the desire for "modularity" means that there is repetition. For example, the Missouri crisis of 1819-1821 is discussed in two different chapters.
The organization is mainly chronological, with some topical chapters: colonial society, religion and reform in the antebellum period, the Market Revolution. These are typical of US history texts.
There are few graphs and charts, and the illustrations reproduce clearly.
The text is grammatically and mechanically correct.
The "great men" of US history are here, and the treatment of them is neither hagiographic nor iconoclastic. Doubtless it will too critical for traditionalists, not critical enough for critical theorists. Examples of individual experiences, male and female, of varied races and ethnicities, abound in each chapter. In the chapter on the Civil War, for example, we find much on Abraham Lincoln, but we also learn about Elizabeth Van Lew.
This is a text thoroughly in the mainstream of US historical scholarship. Its arguments generally reflect views that the overwhelming majority of scholars would accept. When there are significant differences, they are acknowledged. It is also mainstream in including references to just about every major work of scholarship of the past 60 years on this period.
Overall the text is comprehensive in what it includes. It's meets the standard content that is called "The first half of the U.S. history survey course." The hyper-links in the text takes the reader right to the footnotes of which links directly... read more
Overall the text is comprehensive in what it includes. It's meets the standard content that is called "The first half of the U.S. history survey course." The hyper-links in the text takes the reader right to the footnotes of which links directly to the digitized source. It could be improved by adding some political history especially in the Antebellum period. Additional content on New France, New Spain, the Seven Years War and the Mexican American War would greatly improve the comprehensiveness of the historical period.
The text is accurate factually, and not particularly biased from an intellectual or political perspective. Unfortunately, the comprehensiveness of the content doesn't lift the overall narrative away from the perception of the American Revolution and the American Civil War were inevitable. This assumption could be interrogated by including more political history.
American Yawp, Vol. 1, is organized chronologically, making it convenient for scholars to examine and update areas of content that may need a future refresh. The chapters are also constructed broad enough for instructors to present the text thematically with multiple perspectives, all while keeping students engaged in the study of history.
The writing is clear, concise, direct and to- the -point. It balances the narrative and the analysis quite well. The textbook would benefit a lot by including timelines and especially maps. Maps that indicate geographical boundaries, especially in the colonial period, trade routes, transportation routes, battles, forts, migration and Native nations to name a few. Linking out to these kinds of information visuals is not as useful as being able to view and refer to them while reading.
Names, terms, and periodization are all consistent throughout the volume. Students could easily read American Yawp, Vol. 1, as a book of narrative history and not even be aware of the amount of collaboration that went into writing the text.
The textbook content is easily divisible into smaller chunks of information, both chronologically and thematically. the text can be reorganized around multiple historical perspectives or repurposed to be effective under different pedagogical models.
Once the text is accessed, you will find a hierarchy of chapters along with an introduction and conclusion. The rest of the text employs a similar hierarchy within each chapter, providing an introduction and conclusion of a few paragraphs, often set off from the rest of the text by an italicized heading or Roman numerals.
I like that this textbook was designed first as an Open Source textbook, and second as an Open Source textbook that looks like a published paper edition. You know what to expect right when you click on the first page. It makes navigation easier, especially when scrolling through the many pages that comprises standard printed textbooks. The format and style are consistent throughout and chapters are similarly organized. The textbook interface is the same whether your reading it on a laptop or a mobile device. So convenient.
Overall the grammar is excellent. A couple of minor style inconsistencies perhaps, but nothing that negatively impacts the text.
As it stands, the text is carefully written and inclusive overall, but it's not balanced regarding Native Americans and not just the breadth of content, but also the depth. The early chapters still discuss Native Americans in monolithic and oversimplified terms. This is an old complaint, I know. However, scholarship on Native Americans in early American history has exploded over the last twenty-five years. I can only hope future editions will address this oversight.
I that this textbook was designed as an Open Source textbook. It makes early American history more accessible and affordable to a wider audience than ever before. I would like to have seen discussion questions added at the end of each chapter. Students can learn how to think critically, and instructors don't have to develop the questions on their own. Most historians/professors/history instructors in my experience are more likely to adopt a textbook that includes questions than one that does not. In fact, if faced with a choice between including a 'suggested reading list' or 'critical reading questions to consider' - go with the questions.
Table of Contents
- 1. The New World
- 2. Colliding Cultures
- 3. British North America
- 4. Colonial Society
- 5. The American Revolution
- 6. A New Nation
- 7. The Early Republic
- 8. The Market Revolution
- 9. Democracy in America
- 10. Religion and Reform
- 11. The Cotton Revolution
- 12. Manifest Destiny
- 13. The Sectional Crisis
- 14. The Civil War
- 15. Reconstruction
About the Book
In an increasingly digital world in which pedagogical trends are de-emphasizing rote learning and professors are increasingly turning toward active-learning exercises, scholars are fleeing traditional textbooks. Yet for those that still yearn for the safe tether of a synthetic text, as either narrative backbone or occasional reference material, The American Yawp offers a free and online, collaboratively built, open American history textbook designed for college-level history courses. Unchecked by profit motives or business models, and free from for-profit educational organizations, The American Yawp is by scholars, for scholars. All contributors—experienced college-level instructors—volunteer their expertise to help democratize the American past for twenty-first century classrooms.
About the Contributors
Joseph L. Locke