Apush outside Reading Assignment



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Ms. Densley

Outside Reading List



APUSH Outside Reading Assignment

The second quarter of each semester this year will be dedicated in part to an outside reading assignment. Some of these books are available for free on the kindle, others you will need to borrow from a library, or me, or you may need to purchase. Please consult with your parents before choosing a book due to the mature content of some of these books.

1st semester – book report due January 9th 2013, your book must be from general history or 1600-1900

2nd semester – book report due May 29th 2013, your book must be from general history or 1900-2000

You may choose a book from general history for only one semester, the other must be a book from that time period. You may also choose a book from the given time period for both semesters. If there is a book you think should be on the list, see me and I will consider adding it for you if it meets the criteria.

The Assignment

1. As you read your book, write down important dates and events. Create a timeline (minimum of 20 dates for non-fiction books). For fiction books create a list of characters with a list of key events that take place in the novel (minimum of ten events).

2. In your commonplace book, write a 5-10 sentence (1/2 page) summary for approximately every 20 pages.

3. In your commonplace book, write quotes or dialogue from the book with the page number. Why did you choose this quote or dialogue? Who said it and what significance and/or importance does it have to the story or event? (minimum ten)

4. Create a vocabulary list – write the word and page number as well as the definition and the source of the definition (minimum 20 words).

5. After you have finished the book, write a 2 page evaluation of it. Typed, 12 point font, double-spaced. Answer all the questions listed below.



  • Write a brief summary of the book, what was it about?

  • Evaluate the writing style (was it interesting to read?)

  • Would you recommend this book to others? Why or why not?

  • Do you have any questions about what you read? If so, what are they (note the page numbers)?

  • What questions would you ask the author if you had the opportunity?

  • What did you learn by reading this book?


General U.S. History

(May be used for either semester, but only one semester)
Out of Our Past, Carl Degler - This general history of the main forces which shaped U.S. history written in an lively and provocative style. Degler looks primarily at social and intellectual history. 

A People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn - A new left history of the U.S. written from the perspective of the people at the bottom. His controversial interpretations make interesting reading. 

The American Political Tradition, Richard Hofstadter - Hofstadter's book has been required reading in most college history courses since it was written. It looks at U.S. history by analyzing the fives of individuals who characterized or shaped American political thinking. This caustic, daring book was written in response to the liberal views of Progressive historians which dominated historiography in the 1930s. 

A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, Ronald Takaki - Takaki retells U.S. history in this powerful narrative of the people who came together from different "points of departure" to compose the nation.

Born for Liberty, Sara Evans - Comprehensive history of women in America, it is both readable and admirable.

There is a River, Vincent Harding - This narrative of the black experience in American covers 1620 to 1875. It focuses on the tradition of black protest. 

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown, editor - A collection of statements and recollections by American Indians which gives their point of view on the settlement of the West.

500 Anos del Pueblo Chicano: 500 years of Chicano History, Elizabeth Martinez - An exciting, bilingual text on the history of Mexican-Americans in the Southwest.

Books That Changed America, Robert Downs - Provides a quick look at the twenty-five books that most influenced American history.

American Diplomacy, 1900-1950, George Kennan - The "realist" view of U.S. foreign policy by the man who helped shape the U.S. policies in the Cold War.

Strangers from a Different Shore, Ronald Takaki – this blend of narrative history and personal recollection, and oral testimony, covers the history of Asian-Americans, from early settlement on the California coast, to the interment of Japanese-Americans in World War II, to the present.

Colonial Period and the American Revolution (1607-1789)

(May be used for only 1st semester)

Red, White and Black, Gary Nash - One of the first works to look at early American history as an interaction between three distinct cultures.

The American Revolution, Edward Countryman - A brief synthesis of recent scholarship on the origins and aftermath of the American Revolution.

The Minutemen and Their World, Robert Gross - Social history of the Revolutionary period, this book is based on a reconstruction of life in 18th century Concord, Mass.

Liberty's Daughters, Mary Beth Norton - This book, by the principle editor of our text, looks at the effect of the American Revolution on women.

Miracle at Philadelphia: Story of the Constitutional Convention, Catherine Drinker Bowen - Readable history of the day-to-day events of the Summer of 1787 and the writing of the Constitution.

The Cow Neck Rebels, James Forman - The story explores the loyalties of six members of the same family and how they were affect by the Revolutionary War.

The Unvanquished, Howard Fast - The winter at Valley Forge as seen though the eyes of the common foot soldiers. Also Citizen Tom Paine

Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757, James Fenimore Cooper - Story takes place during the French and Indian War and sheds fight on the relationships between the French, Indians, British and American colonists.

The Prospering, Elizabeth Speare - Settlement of Stockbridge, Mass. Looks at religious philosophies in the late colonial period (First Great Awakening).

Witnesses, Marcy Heidish - Anne Hutchinson's struggle for freedom in Puritan New England.

The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne - Portrays the moral climate in colonial New England.

Oliver Wistwell, by Kenneth Roberts - An account based on the treatment of pro-British royalists during the American Revolution (Also, any other book by Roberts)

Building of a New Nation (1789-1850)

(May be used for only 1st semester)

A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard. Based on Her Diary 1785-1812, Laurel Thatcher - The author provides a fascinating window on women and early American society, especially work, courtship, marriage and family life.

The Age of Jackson, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. - Classic history of the Jacksonian era, defines the concept of liberal reform and sees Jacksonian Democracy as the first major liberal reform movement in U.S. history.

Jonathan Dearborn, Esther Forbes - The story of an American privateer during the War of 1812, it reveals the lack of support for the war in the U.S.

The Confessions of Nat Turner, William Styron - This book recounts the 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner.

Orphan Train, James Magnuson & Dorothea Petrie - A group of orphans are shipped to the Midwest where it is hoped that new homes can be found for them.

The President's Lady, Irving Stone - Andrew Jackson courts Rachel in the turmoil of the early 19th cent.

Black Thunder, Arna Bontemps - Story of a major slave rebellion, Gabriel's Rebellion, and the political climate of the times.

Sally Hemings, Barbara Chase-Riboud - The life and times of Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson's forbidden love who was also his slave. Looks a black-white relations from the American Revolution until the 1830s.

Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

(May be used for only 1st semester)

Reconstruction, America's Unfinished Revolution, Eric Foner - This is the most comprehensive history of Reconstruction demonstrating "the centrality of the black experience." It's wonderful, it's difficult and it's long, but if you get through it you will know Reconstruction. 

Celia: A Slave, Melton McCaurin - A compelling account of a slave woman's trial for murdering her white master after continued sexual abuse.

Twelve Years a Slave, Solomon Northup - One of the few slave narratives which provides significant insight into plantation life in the Deep South.

A Stillness at AppomattoxGlory RoadMr. Lincoln's Army, Bruce Catton - Bruce Catton brings the people of the past to such vivid life that he.is the most widely read historian in the U.S. A Stillness at Appomattox won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He is THE Civil War historian. 

The Peculiar Institution, Kenneth Stamp - Stamp's book helped to redefine the history of slavery during the 1950s and 60s.

Autobiography: My Bondage and My Freedom, Frederick Douglas - Douglas describes his life as a slave, his escape and the prejudice he encountered in the North.

Jubilee, Margaret Walker - Through the experiences of a slave women, the lifestyle of slavery and the struggles of blacks during and after the Civil War are depicted 

Killer Angels, Michael Shaara - Fictional account of the Battle of Gettysburg from both sides.

Andersonville, MacKinley Kantor - describes the living conditions and treatment of war prisoners in the Confederates' largest prison camp during the Civil War.

The Friendly Persuasion, Jessarnyn West - Lifestyle of a family of Quakers living in Indiana and how their lives are affected by an incident during the Civil War.

Midnight Rising, Tony Horwitz –The raid on Harper’s Ferry, one of the events leading up to the Civil War.

Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane - Characterization of a Union soldier experiencing his first action at the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863.

Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe - Influential book written in the 1850s about the harsh life of blacks under slavery.

Lincoln, Gore Vidal - Highly rated fictional account of the man who led the Union through one of the great crises of US history.

Freedom Road, Howard Fast - Fictionalized account of Reconstruction
Early Twentieth Century Through the Depression and WWII

(May be used for only 2nd semester)
The Jungle, Upton Sinclair – the muckraking masterpiece The Jungle centers on Jurgis Rudkus, and Lithuanian immigrant working in Chicago’s infamous Packingtown. Instead of finding the American Dream, Rudkus and his family inhabit a brutal, soul-crushing urban jungle dominated by greedy bosses, pitiless con-men, and corrupt politicians.

The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History, John M. Barry - In 1918, a plague swept across the world virtually without warning, killing healthy young adults as well as vulnerable infants and the elderly. Hospitals and morgues were quickly overwhelmed; in Philadelphia, 4,597 people died in one week alone and bodies piled up on the streets to be carted off to mass graves.

Teapot Dome Scandal: How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the Country, Laton McCartney - Financial journalist McCartney meticulously describes the systematic corruption of Warren Harding's White House in The Teapot Dome Scandal.

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, Timothy Egan - The dust storms that terrorized the High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since. Timothy Egan's critically acclaimed account rescues this iconic chapter of American history from the shadows in a tour de force of historical reportage.

Black Rain, Masuji Ibuse – This powerful novel shows the horrors of the atomic bomb from the perspective of a Japanese woman who was caught in the “black rain” that fell after the bombing of Hiroshima.

When the Emperor was Divine, Julie Otsuka – This novel captures the events leading up to the internment of Japanese-Americans in WWII. Both subtle and poigniant, it gives a dramatic look into discrimination and one of the most shameful moments in American history.

MAUS: volumes I and II, – Art Spieglman – This graphic novel includes a close look at the holocaust and it’s aftermath, following the story of a young American man interviewing his survivor father. MAUS captures the horrors of the holocaust in a very different way, and the graphic novel nature of this account allows for exercises in satire that are not present in most accounts of this horrific event. (if you choose this novel, you will need to see me, as you will have a different assignment than your classmates)

Post World War II


American Diplomacy, 1900-1950, George Kennan – The “realist” view of U.S. foreign policy by the man who helped shape the U.S. policies in the Cold War.

Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (1987), Kenneth T. Jackson - This first full-scale history of the development of the American suburb examines how "the good life" in America came to be equated with the a home of one's own surrounded by a grassy yard and located far from the urban workplace.

Silent Spring, Rachel Carson - The outcry that followed its publication in 1962 forced the government to ban DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water.

The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan - Here is the book that jump-started the modern women's movement, filled with ideas and inspiration as vital to women today as when it first appeared. More than three decades later, the issues raised by Friedan still strike at the core of the challenges women face at home and in the workplace.

13 Seconds: A Look Back at the Kent State Shootings, Philip Caputo – Through many first hand accounts and extensive research, Caputo recaptures the events of the tragedy at Kent State in May of 1970, highlighting the frustrations of the American citizens at the Vietnam War.

All the President's Men, Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward – Beginning with the story of a simple burglary at Democratic headquarters and then continuing with headline after headline, Bernstein and Woodward kept the tale of conspiracy and the trail of dirty trick coming – delivering the stunning revelations and pieces in the Watergate puzzle that brought about Nixon’s scandalous downfall

Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, Lawrence Write – For most American, al Qaeda began to exist on September 11, 2001. Since then, we’ve been frantically piecing together shards of information about this secretive extremist movement. But connecting the dots isn’t always easy. Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower translates data into meaning by tracing the rise of the group through the lives of four men: two terrorists and two men who tracked them.

Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq (2005), George Packer - Recounts how the United States set about changing the history of the Middle East and became ensnared in a guerrilla war in Iraq.

Fiasco: the American adventure in Iraq: Thomas E. Ricks – Pulitzer Prize-winning author for the Washington Post, Ricks covers the planning and execution of the war in Iraq through mid-2006, from the most successful moments to the most tragic failures.




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