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A History of US (10 Vol. Set) 3rd Edition

62 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195152609
ISBN-10: 0195152603
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Editorial Reviews


"A thorough and accurate narrative of our nation's history."--The Philadelphia Inquirer

"This is not your run-of-the-mill U.S. history. It has vivid, fluid writing, extensive use of historical documents, and personal voice--lots of it.... [The] series doesn't just toss out a string of names and dates--it tells stories with facts in them."--The Washington Post

"A refreshing exception in the otherwise bleak textbook scene.... A former schoolteacher and journalist, Hakim was appalled by the dullness of the textbooks she saw and decided she could do a better job herself.... While virtually all the other textbooks are written by committees in as neutral a tone as possible,... Hakim tried to make storytelling central to her work."--Alexander Stille in The New York Review of Books

"Hakim has accomplished the seemingly impossible in producing this well-researched and beautifully presented revision of her overview of our nation.... The 11 compact volumes in the History of Us series are packed with photographs, graphs, maps, and other illustrations.... Hakim's writing style is easily accessible by middle-school students yet sophisticated enough to engage the interest of older students as well. Her research is thorough.... Give these titles to students who think history is dull and boring!"--VOYA

"One of the best nonfiction series of the decade just got better.... Hakim fine-tunes her uniquely lively account of our country's history with new feature essays and updated surveys of late 20th-century science and culture. The final volume contains all or major portions of over 90 significant primary documents.... The pages have been redesigned for more visual appeal, but the previous edition's wide margins, with their plethora of well-placed definitions, comments, and quotations, remain. Volumes 1-10 end with a time line and an annotated bibliography; each one is packed with the large-scale movements and events that provide a framework for history, as well as the personalities, anecdotes, wild coincidences, and vivid detail that bring that history to life.... Impossible to put down... Belong[s] in every reference collection."--School Library Journal

"The books are very well written, presenting history more as story than the recitation of facts."--Christian Home Educators' Curriculum Manual

"The liveliest, most realistic, most well-received American history series ever written for children."--Los Angeles Times

"For kids who think United States history is merely sleep-inducing, author Joy Hakim offers an antidote."--Publishers Weekly

"Merits every accolade, starting with the most personal: I couldn't put it down."--Washington Post Book World

"The best American history written for young people that I have ever seen."--David Herbert Donald, Harvard University

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Joy Hakim has done the impossible. She has students all over the country reading American history... for fun! When she writes about our country's past, she makes it an exciting and suspenseful adventure because she tells stories--great stories--from factual history. The dates and events, characters and complexities, heroes, heroines, and villains are woven into the great drama of American history, and students are reading and responding with enthusiasm. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Series: A History of US
  • Paperback: 2000 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 3 edition (November 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195152603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195152609
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,638,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I started my career as an author with a ten-volume U.S. history: A History of US, published by Oxford University Press in 1993, and now in a third updated printing. I had no idea the history would end up in ten books, or that it would be so much fun to write. A History of US has been awarded a bunch of prizes. David McCullough commented, ". . .the idea that history might ever be thought of as a chore has clearly never crossed her mind." In testimony before the Senate Education Committee he called the series "superb." People Magazine described me as "the J.K. Rowling of the history world." (Umm, that would be nice. But the books have sold 5 million copies.)

Mine are narrative history books that attempt to set literary standards. I mean for them to be exciting to read. They're meant for young readers, and their teachers and parents, or for anyone without a deep background in U.S. history. These are books that can be found in bookstores, on Amazon, and in schools. Oxford and Hopkins have done teaching materials for those who want to use the books in academic study.

That series was followed by: Freedom: A History of US (published in 2003), the companion to a 16-part PBS series of the same name that was narrated by Katie Couric, with voices by a host of Hollywood figures, from Tom Hanks to Robin Williams. The videos are available to schools from PBS. And the book spawned a terrific website: (

I then turned to The Story of Science, a three-book series jointly published by Smithsonian Books and the NSTA (National Science Teachers Association). The series focuses on the quest to understand the universe--from ancient Greece to today's expanding universe. The first volume is Aristotle Leads the Way; the second, Newton at the Center; the third book, Einstein Adds A New Dimension, attempts to explain quantum theory and relativity with black holes and space travel too. Writing in the New York Times, Natalie Angier called the books, "richly informative." Alan Alda raved. These books have won prizes too. Science writer Timothy Ferris said he wished he had them when he was a boy. Educators at Johns Hopkins and NSTA have developing coordinated teaching materials for classroom use (available from NSTA or Amazon). Reading guru Lucy Calkins, of Teachers College, Columbia, has called my books the "gold standard" in the field.

I've just published my latest title, Reading Science Stories, which celebrates non-fiction reading through tales of some of history's greatest explorers.

And I'm currently working on two books that put biology into a narrative framework.

Before I began writing books, I was an associate editor, editorial writer, and business writer for The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk's morning paper) and a general reporter and photographer on the staff of The Ledger-Star (Norfolk's afternoon paper. I did a whole lot of freelance writing while raising three kids. And I was an assistant editor of World News, a foreign news service at McGraw-Hill.

Writing and teaching seem to be two faces of the same need to explain things. Which may explain why I've had dual careers--as writer and teacher.

I've taught elementary school (Omaha, NE), high school English (Virginia Beach, VA), special education in a middle school (Syracuse, NY), and English composition and American literature at a community college (Virginia Beach). I initiated and taught a writing course for high school teachers of English through the University of Virginia.

I do a lot of speaking, especially to education groups. For three years I worked with a group of history teachers in Los Angeles under a TAH (Teaching American History) grant. I've spent some of my time in an inner-city school where most of the students speak Spanish at home and reading English doesn't come easily.

As to my schooling: I earned a B.A. from Smith College after high school in Rutland, Vermont. Then I received a M.Ed. and an honorary doctorate from Goucher College. Smith gave me the Smith Medal (2000); the Matrix Foundation, the Edith Workman Award (2003); I've taken graduate courses in journalism and in geography at New York University, child psychology at Johns Hopkins, and courses in American history and science at Brown, Harvard, Cornell, and Cambridge University. My website is: You can also connect with me on Twitter: @joyhakim_joy.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 120 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 20, 1997
Format: Paperback
Joy Hakim has accomplished something close to impossible: a readable, thoughtful, even-handed narrative of American history, from the pre-Columbians to the end of the Cold War. The book is fun to read. Hakim tells her stories without stuffiness, pomposity, or self-rightreousness -- and she tells hundreds of stories! Illustrations are almost all from the period being discussed. Marginal comments explain difficult words and concepts. Sidebars print excerpts from diaries, speeches, letters, literature and histories of the time. Hakim relies heavily on biography and anecdote to convey a sense of the times she discusses. She manages to convey a sense of enthusiasm for this country throughout her warts-and-all account of its history. Periodically, she stops to discuss how historians know what they know and to encourage her readers to arrive at their own evaluations.
My wife and I started reading this series to our son when he was eight years old. We marvelled at how well it communicated history and its lessons (clear and ambiguous, simple and complex) to him. We found ourselves wishing we'd had books like these when we were first learning U.S. history
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Thomas H Steinberg on February 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
My son and I read through the entire series of books, but skipped most of the sidebars. He is now a confirmed history nut, and I learned many things. We both had a wonderful ride: when my son was asked to bring in his favorite thing for a class picture sesion, he brought one of these volumes. There are a good many facts, set pieces, thumbnail biographical sketches, but the focus is on the highlights, especially as they illustrate the few basic themes that underly who we are. The manner in which these themes recur throughout the series reinforces them and ties everything together. Reductionist yes, but on target for the audience. I was impressed with the evenhanded interpretation of difficult events and people, and ended up feeling strongly that this is the way I want my children to understand our past.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 29, 1997
Format: Paperback
One of those "children's" books you will be reading to yourself after the children are asleep.
I first heard about these books through an interview with the author on NPR. I was impressed by how she worked extensively with children to learn what interested them, what worked in telling these stories, and most significantly, her obvious respect for her audience (a pathetically rare quality in K-12 texts). These books communicate effectively to my children (10 and 13) without compromising the complexity, harshness, beauty, and vitality of history. Many "imagine you were..." type examples help put the reader into the history of our nation.
I bought one in the series and am now buying the rest.
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70 of 81 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Ms. Hakim's History of Us collection is what first nurtured my now overwhelming love for history. A rich interpretation of American history, each book presents a new time period in a child-friendly chronological format consisting of brief, focused chapters with sidebars and insets adding definitions, quotes, speeches, letters, diary excerpts, and other documents as deemed appropriate. Fact is set apart from the opinions of historians and the author as thought-provoking questions abound, and everything is retold in such a way that you can imagine being an unsuspecting "fly on the wall" as the events that have shaped our country unfold.
Critical parents and educators alike may look down on the politically correct atmosphere the series holds and the biased opinions the author sometimes presents, but the story-telling quality these books possess will have even the most uninterested child turning pages and retaining what is a sometimes excessively brief look into American history. I would recommend this as a great starter course in U.S. history for children of elementary and middle school age, but would most certainly progress into more information-heavy books in hopes that the reader's own independent opinions will not be formed from only what Ms. Hakim shares within her unique interpretations.
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By John Cloyd on October 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
A thought provoking journey through pre-history to the present. Ms Hakim has done an outstanding job pulling together a very readable story of the United States. My 10 year old promptly took possession of book 2 and reads a couple of chapters each night. (I had already appropriated book 1). On more than one occasion I have found her reading this book after "lights out".
The chapters are bite-sized; presenting an idea, concept or event in a way that makes it easy to get your arms around. The story proceeds basically chronologically, but can be read in any order without loss of enjoyment or knowledge transfer. The vocabulary & writing style is comfortable for middle school - while still engaging for me as an adult.
Book 11 contains an amazing collection of some of the great source documents that are important to our country.
The author presents the good, the bad, and the ugly of our history fairly (I think). She differentiates between fact, opinion and supposition and constantly challenges the reader to think about what they are reading.
I am pleased with these books, and hope that 13 years from now when my last child is college-bound they will be dog-earred and marked up from school projects and idle-time reading. Early indications are that I won't be disappointed.
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