October 16, 2018 at 3:14 PM #52706
I’d like some feedback on what you are using for high school United States history. Also does anyone have a list of books that they might use while teaching US History in high school.
October 16, 2018 at 8:01 PM #52707
I use a secular text called History of a Free Nation, published by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. It’s about 20 years old by now, but I don’t mind because most of US history happened more than 20 years ago. 🙂 It’s a reasonably well-written, comprehensive text. It is very evenhanded towards religions and ideologies, with an obvious and pretty successful attempt to avoid bias. My only philosophical objection is that there’s a persistent, implicit faith in progress, that humanity in general and American civilization in particular are continually improving. My only other complaint is that this textbook is just too big, including all kinds of things that the teacher has to cut out if there is to be any hope of hitting US history’s most important points in the course of a school year.
Regarding other books, I’m a big fan of Page Smith’s 8-volume A People’s History of the United States (not to be confused with Howard Zinn’s similarly-titled book). This would be useful for growing a teacher’s background knowledge more than for giving to students as supplemental reading, but a teacher will find many insights and stories to bring to his classroom.
October 22, 2018 at 12:22 PM #52767
I enjoy reading Daniel Boorstin’s writings on American history. His three-volume series titled The Americans includes The Colonial Experience, The National Experience, and The Democratic Experience.
He goes far beyond the typical “politics, wars, economics” themes to explore the great variety of developments that Americans experienced. For example, he chronicles the rise of the newspaper, the development of the balloon frame house and the skyscraper, the department store, the invention of packaging (along with its associated “strategy of desire”), the changes in American speech and clothing, the growth of black churches in the South, the mythologizing of George Washington, how the camera and recording helped create repeatable experience and “pseudo events.”
American history teachers should be sure to trace the variety of religious issues that infuse the story. I’ll post an outline of some of these issues and a list of resource books on the Dock under “school subjects–American history.” One helpful resource is a variety of back issues of the Christian History periodical, available online.
October 25, 2018 at 4:57 PM #52792
The outline Jonas mentioned is here:
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