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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It's amazing to me to read reviews of people who tout this book as "liberal propaganda" when it merely tells the truth about history. If you wanted the whitewashed version of history we were taught in high school, where Christopher Columbus had pure motives in the new world and didn't rape or enslave the native population, where the Native Americans were savages who were domesticated by the pilgrims who so graciously shared a Thanksgiving feast with them, where Woodrow Wilson's racism and hatred of women isn't mentioned...why did you bother taking a college history course, or bother going to college for that matter, at all? Pull your heads out of the sand! If you truly believe this book is socialist propaganda, I recommend you start doing your own research of America's past without using any high school or college textbook as a source of information - you'll find that this particular textbook has one of the truest pictures of American history available.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
Let me start off by saying that I am liberal. But I have absolutely no patience for intellectual dishonesty, especially not from those teaching history to others. They have a duty to give a fair account of history, as what they teach becomes truth in the minds of those taught history. The perspective of the authors is anything but fair. The authors of this book should be ashamed. Before reading this book for a history course, I read the reviews here. I was hoping that the reviewers claiming this to be liberal propaganda were simply misguided conservatives who take offense at anything conflicting with their world view. Turns out they were right. I realize that many wrongs have been committed by the white majority of society in American history, but this is not all of what history is about.

The authors of this book are staunch supporters of conflict theory. They spend an unfairly large portion of each chapter on the plight of the underprivileged, and especially on minorities and women. The authors seem to view all of society's problems as the fault of the social/governmental/economic system. The concept of personal responsibility apparently is a lost cause. The authors seem to not only subscribe to the social belief of equal opportunity, but also equality of outcome.

Almost every chapter has a large amount of text devoted to the plight of minorities and women. Minorities are always blameless in this book, and the big bad white men can never seem to do anything with moral integrity.

The first chapter of this book, "The Union Reconstructed", is intended to tell the history of the Reconstruction Era, or post Civil-War era. It ends up talking more about the plight of blacks than it does on actual Reconstruction. Every single photograph/painting in this chapter, save for one, has to do with the plight of blacks, usually in the form of being exploited by whites. Ridiculous.

While most other chapters are not this bad, it still sets a tone that will last throughout the book. Near the end of the book, the authors even have the audacity to claim that opposition to affirmative action is rooted in racism (page 1087). If that's not an unfair account of history, then I don't know what is. The authors let their bias cloud the truth, and it is a travesty.

I would also like to note that this last chapter (which tells of the history from 1992-2002) spends not even a full three pages talking about the economy, and then goes on for almost five pages talking about the plight of minorities. Actually, let me break down, page by page, what this chapter discusses, just so you can see how people can get the impression that this isn't a history book, but liberal propaganda. 1074-1077 talks about immigration into the US. 1077-1079 talks about the Census of 2000, where it spends much time talking about... you guessed it, women and minorities. 1079-1081 talk about the economy. 1081-1082 talks about the plight of the lower classes. 1082, 1083, and 1086 talks about "Aging and Illness", which deals with the increase in the elderly population, the health concerns and social pressures that come with that, and the AIDS epidemic. (pages 1084 and 1085 are one of the "Recovering The Past" features which serve to break up the pace of the text a little bit) 1086 to 1092 talks about, what else, minorities and women! A paltry two pages is then spent on the revival of the Democrat party with Bill Clinton. 1093-1095 deal with some general political history. 1095-98 deal with the rise of George W. Bush. 1098-1102 deal with foreign policy. And then a paltry two pages are spent on September 11th, the War of Terrorism, the Afghanistan War, and the impending conflict in Iraq. And, that's the end of the chapter. It's almost as if little happened in the 1990s except blacks getting persecuted! Sounds like a fair telling of history, doesn't it?

Other examples of flagrant unfair history telling is in Chapter 17. The Native Americans are portrayed as this collection of nice little idyllic, Utopian societies that was suddenly torn to pieces by the evil white men. The whites slaughtered the Native Americans while the Native Americans were not guilty of any atrocities. Sorry, this isn't how it happened. There were atrocities on BOTH sides, and yet not once does this text mention any atrocities committed by any Native American tribes. I will concede, however, that the white settlers were probably more at fault than the Native Americans, but the Native American tribes were by no means blameless like this book would like you to think.

"But their bravery and skill could not permanentally withstand the power of the well-supplied, well-armed, and determined U.S. Army." (page 592) Their "bravery and skill"? Give me a break. Another quote: "The [buffalo slaughter], which had claimed 13 million animals by 1883, was disgraceful in retrospect. The Indians considered white men demented. " - page 592. A historian should always strive to have a neutral point of view, not call things "disgraceful".

This book is just completely unbalanced history telling. It conveniently neglects any facts which do not corroborate the authors' racist views. Not enough time is spent on what happened outside of the suffering of minorities and women. The history text that is here skips over all sorts of events, trends, people, and dates so it can fit in more diatribes about the persisting ills of society.
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14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
Some of the reviews posted here are just bizarre - did they read the book? Yes, the book writes minority groups and women into the story - where they belong (gay Americans are not mentioned at all in the pre-Civil War volume; in the full edition they are not mentioned until the 1970s gay rights movement!). The book discusses farmers, urban artisans, and everybody else in early America. It also does NOT ignore the traditional subjects of history - politics, leaders, diplomacy, economic development. Events and dates? of course, with timelines at the end of each chapter. Good maps. The only flaw is that it tries to work too much material in, gets too dense. Recommended.
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25 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book tries to teach history without actually including any concrete information. It outlines general trends without emphasizing the historical facts on which the trends are based. While it's certainly important to recognize progressions in history, it's extremely difficult to learn about them based only on the text's vague, 50-page summaries, all of which fail to mention any form of historical evidence.
As a student, I found this book's approach to teaching history disastrous and mildly insulting. First of all, it fails to convey even the most cursory knowledge of history by shunning, at all costs, cruel Old Regime teaching methods that might require DATE memorization or familiarity with historical FACTS. With nothing to "Lock On" to, it's very hard to retain anything. Even worse, however, are the implications of the book's approach. I like History because I enjoy being able to look at a set of evidence and trying to figure out, based on otherwise stale information, what *actually* happened, what life was like. Somehow, I got the sense that by describing outright "what life was like," the book implies that to force students to learn INFORMATION is useless, that students are unable to think for themselves and interpret historical information with any accuracy.
I think I should comment, also, on one reviewer's dismissal of this book as "Nouveau History." I come close to BEING one of the "Tenured Radicals" this reviewer had so much disdain for, and I still hated this book. I would hate it if I were communist. There's so much wrong with it that to criticize it for its left-wing perspective is plain silly.
I would recommend "The American Promise," by James L. Rourke, Micheal P. Johnson, and a few others instead.
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on November 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
I studied history in school and I teach history now. This was the first U.S. history book I used in school, and I still use it as a guideline. It explains history very clearly, and it reminds me how exciting and interesting history is. It not only explains political events correctly, but also provides the experiences in the eyes of the minority and the ones that had to fight for their rights. Liberal? Are you kidding? This book tell you what actually happened, and that's how any history book should be.
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on July 21, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Exactly what we ordered. Very fast shipping and delivery.My daughter received a book from school, which is brand new and needs to be returned at the end of the school year. She needs to make her own "Highlights", so we ordered this one and she couldn't be happier.Amazed by the quick delivery.
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on August 30, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
The book is in pretty good shape but if must have had some damage from liquid because several of the pages in the first half of the book are stuck together. However, if you are careful, they do separate so the book is usable.
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on December 20, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
If you are assigned this book, that sucks for you because the timeline jumps around everywhere. It is not a very good text book and even our teacher agreed.
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Format: Paperback
I was looking for a book that would help me to understand the American Society, and this was an excelent option to acomplish it.
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on August 10, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
good book The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society
Gary B. Nash
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