Most helpful critical review
It's pretty good, the online tests suck
on August 11, 2013
As a book alone I would give it about 4.5 stars. The online tests bring the score down.
I'm currently a social studies secondary ed. student and had to use this book for one of my low level history courses. It was nice to get a good overview of American history because all of the high level courses are very specific (an entire class can be about WWII or the cold war).
I put that I'm a secondary ed. student for a reason. I had a class on testing (assessment and evaluation) and something that really bothered me was the idea that if students get too many questions right then the test is flawed. The online tests definitely follow this paradigm. I know because after you take a test you can check on the answers you got right and wrong and almost all of the ones I had wrong were very vague.
ex. why was the civil war so bloody compared to previous wars? I found in the book were it said because of the mix of newly industrialized weaponry and repeating old battlefield tactics; both of those answers were available, but not together so I was left guessing and got it wrong.
I still got an A in the course, but that's not really the point. Students shouldn't have to guess at all on a test.