Customer Reviews: The American Pageant: A History of the Republic Advanced Placement Edition
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on December 11, 2006
From: An AP student.

For my APUSH (AP U.S History) class, our homework usually consists of reading and outlining ten pages of this masterpiece. From the first ten pages, I was hooked. The descriptions of pre-Columbian America are very beautiful.

And that is why it is criticized. Many feel that it is too much opinion than fact, it's too flowery, too fanciful, too novel-esque. But that is why I enjoy it so much.

For example, when we completed the section on the American Revolution, I felt a sense of happiness and resolve that has never happened in previous history classes.

What other text book can do that? The author decided to sacrifice a collegian tone to one that brings history to life, therefore allowing the audience to enjoy it and appreciate history. For that, he must be respected.

This is a really enjoyable read, if you don't mind Columbus being the "World's greatest successful failure" or the North and South being compared to "Siamese twins, bound inseparably together", then you'll see why this book is such a wonderful read!
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on February 21, 2007
The American Pageant: A History of the Republic is my third U.S. history textbook. I used one in middle school and am using another in my current A.P. U.S. History class. In order to start reviewing for the A.P. exam in May, I borrowed this book from a friend. I find that reading this book is much more enjoyable than my current text, and the author does a much better job forming connections between specific events in History.

Some may not enjoy this textbook. Its depiction of U.S. History is presented in a novel-esque fashion, but there is clearly great substance to this text. I have always detested History classes, but I find myself re-reading chapters in this text purely out of interest.

Due to its amount of content and its enjoyable presentation, I recommend David Kennedy's textbook to anyone interested in U.S. History or preparing for the A.P. U.S. History Exam.
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on December 9, 2012
Well not really, but his wit kept me chuckling through each era of American History (New England was built on "cod and God" and many other witticisms). The content is mostly unbiased, and fairly representative, but check out Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen for specific criticisms. As far as American published American History books go, it's pretty accurate.
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on October 10, 2007
I have had this book for barely over a month, but it is by far the greatest history book I have ever used. Every word flows very effectively, and it is easy to understand. At the beginning of the year, I thought preparing for the AP Exam would be very tedious and boring. This book has made it a lot easier, as I find I can read a lot in one sitting, as it keeps you interested - almost like a good novel. The book I had last year, The American Journey, was by far the worst I have ever had. Boring, mundane text filled the pages, forcing me to stop after every 1-2 pages. This book more than makes up for that, as I cleared up some issues from last year quite quickly and effectively with it. Any US History course should make this book a requirement, as it is one of, if not the best out there.
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on October 11, 2014
While this book is informative and all, more so, it's annoying.
Some people enjoy flowery description and lyrical syntax, I don't.... which is why I loathe this stupid textbook.
It's unbearable. The book likes to run around and doesn't get to the point, it strays from it entirely.

I would rather have the book be more boring then it already is, but get straight to the cold. hard facts then do what it is doing now: jumping around in dates, telling me Thomas Jefferson "urged the impeachment of an arrogant and tart-tongued Supreme Court justice, Samuel Chase, who was so unpopular that Republicans named vicious dogs after him." If you enjoy reading lines like so, carry on and purchase this book, but as for me? I don't have time to read over glittery lines. I need facts not a damn poem. Sometimes a really annoying book needs a good chucking across the room, well, my walls have multiple dents.
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on July 13, 2014
I took my AP US History class last year and read and study from this book cover to cover. What most gripes me about this book are the countless metaphors on every single page, several of which are extremely ambiguous, and others make outdated references which went right past my head. In order to complete an idea, some of these metaphors are necessary to understand. If you can't understand it, tough luck.

I may agree with some points, I may disagree with some points, that's not the point. The nice flowing logical process is constantly interrupted by certain literary devices, giving a sketchier and sketchier image when trying to pull away and grasp the general idea of a given section.

That is not to say that the book is bad at creating the general idea. With study, it starts to get interesting once you finally piece together events in a linear fashion and understand all the causes and effects. I only think that the transition from individual event to general idea is greatly prolonged due to the authors writing style.

I have met several students that have no problem using this book and understanding it. If you are a poetic thinker who is willing to embrace some of the informalities, this may be a great book. But if you want everything presented with directness and transparency, look for something else.
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on January 22, 2015
Opinionated, ambiguous, and far too unpolished. The silly, purple prose-like descriptions are ludicrous and obstruct learning. It very rarely accurately reports the US's successes and focuses on its failures instead. Anti-government sentiment has never been so clear.
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on July 14, 2013
The AP book list said to buy The American Pageant, AP Edition, 13th edition, (not the brief edition) so I bought this book. My son did the reading, but was unable to find the questions at the end of each chapter that he was supposed to answer. Apparently there are TWO The American Pageant AP Edition,13th editions; this one, with "A History of the Republic" before the AP Edition and one without.

Really? This has been terribly confusion and frustrating, don't make the same mistake we made!
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on December 11, 2014
As both a student and a person who genuinely enjoys history, I find this book nearly intolerable.

Some have written that the book helps history to come alive—but it does not. It brings to life a distorted, biased view of history rather than the often harsh realities of society. The book is littered with unnecessarily clichéd metaphors (nearly everything is the [insert overly florid adjective] [insert metaphorical noun] of [history-related noun]), and, too often, it presents opinion or mere speculation as fact. The book's biases—while I acknowledge that each has his or her own perspective—are apparent throughout the text, and it is saddening to see what could be more accurately described as theories taught instead as reality. But history is not a one-dimensional subject; presidential elections are not battles between god-like characters (as the book seems to make them out to be), and American History is not a collection of heartwarming stories that fuel one's inner nationalistic fire. And while I appreciate the book's attempts at humor, its usually-irrelevant anecdotes do little in the way of serving history's real purpose: to make students informed citizens rather than blind followers.
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on June 13, 2009
As strange as this might sound, this textbook will keep you entertained because of the weird, snappy comments scattered throughout the book (if you don't believe me, check facebook - there are at least three tribute groups to the textbook). I managed to do pretty well on the AP exam and very well on the SAT II, which I attribute mostly to having this as a textbook.
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