Customer Reviews: Sources of The Making of the West, Volume II: Since 1500: Peoples and Cultures
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on May 8, 2008
Hunt's "The Making of the West" concise edition is a good value. Coming in at under $40 used, it is easily $20 cheaper than the competition... and it's worth the money.

The good: Like the price, this textbook has some things going for it. Unlike larger, wider and weightier "doorstop" textbooks, its "regular book size" and weight fit easily in a backpack, under your arm, or when reading in your easy chair. Color maps, pictures, good online resources, and its general survey of western history make this book a "four star" value.

The bad. This text is general and best suited for AP or college undergraduate survey classes, and not for advanced readers or upper level courses. The suggested readings section doesn't give a historiography of the books it recommends. And, what I find unforgivable is that it doesn't give an introductory essay defining what "the west" is. Also, the accompanying source reader is terrible--poor document selection and too few sources used. Avoid it.

The text is heavy on social and cultural history, and uses lots of art to teach it. It lacks a lot of the standard political/great man treatments of the west that young undergraduates might need. So, if you're looking for a more traditional political/military narrative, you're not going to like this book.

In the final analysis--an OK book for the money, (Lynn Hunt is an excellent scholar) but if you want more weighty, traditional material look elsewhere.
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on July 27, 2012
I've been a graduate for some time now, but am still working on my master's degree. Since the core of my subject is American (and by extension, Western) history, I've come to be somewhat a connoisseur (or at least, an appreciator) of college textbooks on the subject. You can buy used, out of date, textbooks for pennies. That said, I'd like to correct some of the misplaced reviews given for this book. Apart from the service of various vendors, these reviews should be about the book itself. This one is very good. Funny, when I had to read them, they were just work, but now that I'm free, I love them. In particular I like to recommend Chapter 23, Industry, Empire, and Everyday Life. It ties several seemingly separate events together and makes them clear to me for the first time. Good job, author!
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on September 9, 2006
This is a fascinating history of Western civilization that goes beyond the customary emphasis on kings and battles to looking also at changes in the culture and ideas of people over the centuries. It's so enjoyable that it is bedside reading for me, though still very authoritative. The many illustrations, often of period art, add to its appeal. It will tremendously broaden your understanding of how our society came to be what it is today.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 12, 2012
We purchased this book to use for an online homeschool course billed as a World History course. Upon receiving it after ordering it from Amazon sight unseen, we found it is a pretty dry textbook, academic writing, and serious. My 10th grader complained it was a slow read. I read some of it myself and felt it is dry and boring.

Upon further research I realized this text is actually a college textbook. I found Ivy and elite colleges listing this for use in every level: 100 through 500.

I also learned this is commonly used by high school students taking an AP European History class. To learn only the European history, some chapters are left out/not assigned.

There is a textbook (this product) and a source book of primary documents (used in the AP class especially for the essay where they compare primary source documents). There is also a study guide to help students prep for the AP Euro test with this series.

The purpose of sharing these thoughts is to let you know if you are homeschooling and looking for a regular high school level world history text, this is not it. This is a college text or to be used in AP classes. If you are trying to design your own AP course or to study independently before taking the AP test then this is a great fit.

This is a secular book.

This book has the current theories or beliefs such as gender inequality (feminism). It starts off in the Introduction by saying gender inequality was born in the neolithic age when farming for plant fibers expanded and men went out to work the fields with heavy farm animals (instead of women using hand tools) and men leaving women stuck home to breastfeed babies and rear children, and stuck indoors at home spinning and weaving fibers to make cloth. But I hear that theme is in the AP exam too so if that is what you are teaching to, then this will do the trick.

I have NOT read this cover to cover and giving it a star review is difficult. I'll rate it 4 stars = I Like It. The thing about this book is whether it is a right fit for the student depends on their age and grade and for what purpose they are to use it. Since it is a text usually assigned by a teacher there really is no choice but to read it if it's required...
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on August 10, 2016
Even though this was purchased for school, the book is well written with lots of pictures and information. Even if you were to purchase it for the historical content, you would find that it is informative and an interesting read none the less.
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on May 7, 2015
I read a little each night, and feel she is taking me on a journey that has continuity. Pictures and maps add great value. One of my favorite history books, I have learned a great deal, compliments other history reading I do. I intend to read it again, expect to have a solid framework from a West perspective.
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on May 25, 2013
My daughter used this book to study for the AP European History Exam. We don't have a program of AP in our schools here so she did it all on her own with on-line self tests and additional material. This book was beat up as she used and studied from it everywhere she went. I recommend a hard bound book if your kid is serious. She did get a 5 for her effort.
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on December 22, 2011
I bought this to study for the Western Civilization II CLEP test. It was well worth it. It's somewhat compact but covers a lot detail of what I needed to know on the test. Also, not nearly as dry as some other history text books. It included lots of pictures and maps and little side paragraphs to help you get an idea of the how the current event you were reading about related to the other things going on in the world at the time. I learned a lot from this book, and also the previous book covering earlier history in Volume I. One other neat thing is that they have a link to a website where you can study this material and take chapter tests.
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on June 6, 2014
I am not a student of history, but I did enjoy this book. Well written, with a nice variety of imagery for the time period. The kindle version is nice because I can easily search anything in the text, which was very helpful when studying for exams.
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on June 12, 2013
Coming off Prentice Hall textbooks, I absolutely hated this book. I completely stopped reading it after my first exam. I used study guides from the internet to ace the next three tests and got an A+ in the couse overall.

Heres the thing about the Making of the West. It attempts to cover way too much in too little space so there are gigantic chunks of useful things you would need to know to understand the time period missing. It is not very good with including chronology so you are often rather disoriented in what time period or place you are in. It did not help that the way the book splits sections up is a little disorganized. You never really know where you're going to find information about X event. You might expect to find it in section Y and be surprised 30 pages later to find it in tangentially-related section Z. It does a poor job introducing new concepts. There were sections I had to read eight or nine times before I had an idea about what was going on. On top of that, it seemed to ramble about the things it did talk about, many of which were too specific to be useful during a survey course. There are very few visual aids or any of those little textbook sideline sections, something I believe is crucial to keeping students interested and engaged in a broader survey course. I do not recommend this book.
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