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on September 1, 2011
I gave this book to my 12 year old son to read as part of his non-fiction summer reading requirement for school. He has the attention span of a mosquito, so when he came to show me interesting facts he'd learned and the funny parts he wanted to share, I was delighted that the book was entertaining enough to capture his attention.

The authors present the material in fun, bite-size bits that make the learning indistinguishable from the fun of reading it. PERFECT.
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on August 6, 2011
So, what's the problem that I am the first to review this book substantially after publication. The authors obviously need to market on some of those obscene girl shows.
This is really an entertaining and informative offering. Do you know why we are never going to have cordial relations with Cuba? Do you know what qualifies (or not)one of the authors to be the anti-Christ? Spooky, is it not? Hundreds of facts included.
It would not hurt high school social studies students to read "Americapedia" along with texts approved by Texas. Silly, goofy, and verrrrry incisive. Filled with talking points, and even a brief action plans for folks who wish to change the status quo.
So, turn off your television and give this book a read, tell some one about it, and consider doing something about the way things are.
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on December 7, 2012
I am a 13-year-old girl who first saw this book last year and automatically decided I wanted to read it. It is awesome! It gives lots of information on civics and current events, and also has a few irreverent references, just to keep us entertained.

One reviewer has said this book is leftist. It is not. Really it is nonpartisan. In case you haven't noticed, in the "Hot Buttons" section, it tells what people think on both sides of the issue, and in the back, it has websites for both more liberal and more conservative sides of the issue. So, you say that they state global warming as a fact. Practically every scientist in the world knows global warming exists. Do you really need a reference for that? Plus, there are sources in the back of the book.

This book got me thinking about things. It was awesome! It has, among other things, a guide to the Israeli-Palestine conflict, a list of past scandals, and even the Top 5 Presidential Dynasties! It's funny, interesting, and downright awesomesauce. I brought it to school today to show to one of my teachers, and my politically-informed friend found it so interesting at lunch that she forgot to get food until I reminded her! Then, my teacher said she wanted to buy that book. It really draws people in. So, if you're a teen interested in civics, or maybe even if you're not, GO READ THIS BOOK!
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on August 17, 2011
I loved this book! I grabbed an ARC copy at a book convention and started flipping through it. I think the publishing rep saw my facial expressions as I read it, because she let me have her copy. This book was the perfect mix of facts and quirky odd ball information. I actually learned things about our American history that I never knew before. I've thought about putting my copy out on the coffee table, but I don't want it to get messed up! One day I'll buy an extra copy to put in my classroom. I think my middle school students would love this book. It makes American history more accessible to a younger generation.
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on September 1, 2011
"Americapedia" is sliced bread for the meals of America's students. While well fed with the gossip of their friends and mass media materials, our young are starved for knowledge about their government or the adult world they will soon enter. Civics and history courses are rarely offered, much less required in many schools. Newspapers are neither bought nor read. The mass media are saturated by shouting matches of ideologues who, themselves, are uninformed. Here is a book that fills the gaps. It is smart, witty, informative. It discusses important issues often mysteries to our teens, such as the creation and current problems of Israel or even the origins of our Constitution. It is filled with facts, figures - - and fun. If you know a young teen, buy this book for him or her as a perfect holiday gift.
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on January 13, 2012
This book will cause the pablum-fed high school student to question the shibboleths -- Left and Right. This is especially important in a state like Texas where a handful of cranks have disproportionate influence on the selection of history and social studies texts.
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on January 2, 2012
Where to start. . .

First of all, the format is completely insulting to kids. The authors criticize shows like "Teen Mom" for spoon feeding dribble to kids, but this is even worse. Do we really think so little of our youth that we assume they will only read a picture book with pop culture references (NSync on the list of the world's most ruthless dictators, really?) and outdated slang every third word. I teach middle school and can tell you that kids know when a bunch of 35 year-olds are trying to patronize them. America is great subject matter! Tell an engaging story, present the subject matter in an engrossing way and kids will respond positively.

If the author's intention is to present a completely leftist, revisionist version of American history and current events, then mission accomplished. This is certainly not a new concept. Howard Zinn has been doing it for years. I have no problem with authors writing from a particular viewpoint. What I have a problem with is marketing those ideas to students as absolute fact, and suggesting that if kids believe anything but what the authors say, they are ignorant, uninformed, or dumb. Being informed doesn't mean buying into everything in a book hook, line, and sinker. It's realizing that there are multiple sides to each issue, and knowing how to find those answers for themselves. It's also knowing that intelligent, educated, well-meaning people can disagree on issues and that doesn't make anyone bad, stupid, or even wrong. Don't just say that a law is wrong, provide evidence, encourage readers to actually read the bill itself. That alone would make them more informed than most of congress. Don't just say global warning is absolute fact, tell why you believe that. Giving your student a book (any book) is not going to make them an informed citizen. Talk to them about what is going on the world! Watch the news with them- MSNBC, Fox, and everything in between! Talk about the differing opinions and let your teen form their own opinion. Read primary source documents like speeches, letters, newspapers. Take them to town halls to meet their representatives, watch documentaries together. There is no magic bullet. Learning takes work and committment.

I understand that the authors want to make things simple and easy to understand. The fact is that most topics that the authors attempt to cover in one or two paragraphs aren't that simple. Reading a mock-facebook page for Jesus will not teach you about Christianity, and is actually quite offensive. Read the Bible! Read the Quoran! Visit different places or worship and meet people of different faiths before you make assumptions. Just about every picture of President Bush (43) shows him looking like an idiot, and they even refer to him as "W." My husband, a two time Iraq war vet, was extremely insulted by the section on the War on Terror, and my wonderfully devout mother-in-law was upset about the condescending and disdainful section on the Catholic church. When they talked about how angry people get about issues, they mentioned Bill O'Reilly and Toby Keith, but not Bill Maur, Rosie O'Donnell, or Alec Baldwin, liberals who are equally opinionated.

This is America and these folks can write with whatever point of view they would like. Readers and parents, however, should be aware that this book is not objective and teaches the liberal worldview as fact. To each his own, but as a parent I would want my student to have a balanced education in history and a sense of respect for the differing ideas that people have about the issues. Whether it's the Kardashians, Snooky, Lady Gaga, Glenn Beck, Jon Stewart, or even these authors, blindly believing any one person or source is generally a bad idea.
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