Indifference to history isn’t just ignorant, it’s rude. It’s a form of ingratitude



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AP US History Book Review Assignment

1st Quarter – Mr. Voss

“Indifference to history isn’t just ignorant, it’s rude. It’s a form of ingratitude.”

– David McCullough


Reading is absolute essential in order for you to be successful in college and in your future. It is also necessary for you to be a generally well-informed person. History is made up of millions of fascinating, funny, exciting, and (enter your favorite superlative here) stories. Simply put, history is the great story of people, and how we have become who we are. I believe it is important to your experience of history for you to do some in-depth reading in United States history. Therefore, you are required to write a book review this quarter.
Step #1: Locate a proper selection (can be one of the harder parts of the assignment). I am looking for a sophisticated, nonfiction American history selection covering the period from 0-1816. This includes Native American history, Colonial America, the Revolution, the Early National Period, the Constitution, and the period leading up the Civil War (the presidencies of everyone from George Washington to James Madison). Do NOT judge the quality of a book by the amount of pages. Challenge yourself. Bring in three or four possible selections for me to preview and help you make a wise final decision. No more than two people per book will be allowed. Biographies are also permissible. The sooner you have an accepted choice, the sooner you will be able to begin the assignment. The assignment is worth 150 points.
Step #2: While reading, take a minimum of 10 pages of notes. These notes will be given a point value. They will also give you some concrete material to refer to when writing your review. Please include page numbers on your notes where applicable.
Step #3: Keep in mind, this is a book review assignment, not a book report. Yes, you can establish the content of the book in your review, but do not retell the story. Instead, use that content to analyze the author’s style, purpose, and historian’s abilities. The key word is analyze. This will take some critical thinking on your part. Criticism can be both positive and negative. You make the call. However, make sure to back up, support, and substantiate your evaluation, reasoning, and analysis. This is a critical part of achieving a good grade. You must use exact quotes from the book in at least two instances. Please supply the page number when you do. All proper and correct writing mechanics are expected.
Step #4: Type a one-page “top ten” notesheet for your book. This may contain information that the rest of the class can use to help review for final exams and the AP exam or the top ten most interesting quotes, or almost anything else. You may make this however you want, but it should be in a format that is easy to read and useful.
Step #5: Selections need to be finalized by ______________________________. After that day, you will automatically lose 10 points, plus 1 point for each additional day late. The assignment is due on __________________________________. After that day, 25 points will be deducted per day.
Step #6: Paper should be a minimum of three printed pages and please no more than five. Keep in mind that this is a formal paper and I want to see your best thinking and writing skills. Paper should be double-spaced, standard font (Times New Roman, 11-12), and standard margins (1 inch). A title page should also be included. Good luck.

AP US History Book Review Assignment

2nd Quarter – Mr. Voss

“Indifference to history isn’t just ignorant, it’s rude. It’s a form of ingratitude.”



– David McCullough
Reading is absolute essential in order for you to be successful in college and in your future. It is also necessary for you to be a generally well-informed person. History is made up of millions of fascinating, funny, exciting, and (enter your favorite superlative here) stories. Simply put, history is the great story of people, and how we have become who we are. I believe it is important to your experience of history for you to do some in-depth reading in United States history. Therefore, you are required to write a book review this quarter.
Step #1: Locate a proper selection (can be one of the harder parts of the assignment). I am looking for a nonfiction American history selection covering the period from 1828-1900. This includes the Jacksonian Era, Civil War, Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, industrialization, the Old West, and the presidencies of Andrew Jackson through William McKinley. Do NOT judge the quality of a book by the amount of pages. Challenge yourself. Bring in three or four possible selections for me to preview and help you make a wise final decision. No more than two people per book will be allowed. Biographies are also permissible. The sooner you have an accepted choice, the sooner you will be able to begin the assignment. The assignment is worth 150 points.
Step #2: While reading, take a minimum of 10 pages of notes. These notes will be given a point value. They will also give you some concrete material to refer to when writing your review. Please include page numbers on your notes where applicable.
Step #3: Keep in mind, this is a book review assignment, not a book report. Yes, you can establish the content of the book in your review, but do not retell the story. Instead, use that content to analyze the author’s style, purpose, and historian’s abilities. The key word is analyze. This will take some critical thinking on your part. Criticism can be both positive and negative. You make the call. However, make sure to back up, support, and substantiate your evaluation, reasoning, and analysis. This is a critical part of achieving a good grade. You must use exact quotes from the book in at least two instances. Please supply the page number when you do. All proper and correct writing mechanics are expected.
Step #4: Type a one-page “top ten” notesheet for your book. This may contain information that the rest of the class can use to help review for final exams and the AP exam or the top ten most interesting quotes, or almost anything else. You may make this however you want, but it should be in a format that is easy to read and useful.
Step #5: Selections need to be finalized by ______________________________. After that day, you will automatically lose 10 points, plus 1 point for each additional day late. The assignment is due on __________________________________. After that day, 25 points will be deducted per day.
Step #6: Paper should be a minimum of three printed pages and please no more than five. Keep in mind that this is a formal paper and I want to see your best thinking and writing skills. Paper should be double-spaced, standard font (Times New Roman, 11-12), and standard margins (1 inch). A title page should also be included. Good luck.

AP US History Book Review Assignment

3rd Quarter – Mr. Voss

“Indifference to history isn’t just ignorant, it’s rude. It’s a form of ingratitude.”



– David McCullough
Reading is absolute essential in order for you to be successful in college and in your future. It is also necessary for you to be a generally well-informed person. History is made up of millions of fascinating, funny, exciting, and (enter your favorite superlative here) stories. Simply put, history is the great story of people, and how we have become who we are. I believe it is important to your experience of history for you to do some in-depth reading in United States history. Therefore, you are required to write a book review this quarter.
Step #1: Locate a proper selection (can be one of the harder parts of the assignment). I am looking for a nonfiction American history selection covering the period from 1900-1960. This includes the Progressive Era, World War I, Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, Korea, any cultural movements of these decades, and the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt through Dwight Eisenhower. Do NOT judge the quality of a book by the amount of pages. Challenge yourself. Bring in three or four possible selections for me to preview and help you make a wise final decision. No more than two people per book will be allowed. Biographies are also permissible. The sooner you have an accepted choice, the sooner you will be able to begin the assignment. The assignment is worth 150 points.
Step #2: While reading, take a minimum of 10 pages of notes. These notes will be given a point value. They will also give you some concrete material to refer to when writing your review. Please include page numbers on your notes where applicable.
Step #3: Keep in mind, this is a book review assignment, not a book report. Yes, you can establish the content of the book in your review, but do not retell the story. Instead, use that content to analyze the author’s style, purpose, and historian’s abilities. The key word is analyze. This will take some critical thinking on your part. Criticism can be both positive and negative. You make the call. However, make sure to back up, support, and substantiate your evaluation, reasoning, and analysis. This is a critical part of achieving a good grade. You must use exact quotes from the book in at least two instances. Please supply the page number when you do. All proper and correct writing mechanics are expected.
Step #4: Type a one-page “top ten” notesheet for your book. This may contain information that the rest of the class can use to help review for final exams and the AP exam or the top ten most interesting quotes, or almost anything else. You may make this however you want, but it should be in a format that is easy to read and useful.
Step #5: Selections need to be finalized by ______________________________. After that day, you will automatically lose 10 points, plus 1 point for each additional day late. The assignment is due on __________________________________. After that day, 25 points will be deducted per day.
Step #5: Paper should be a minimum of three printed pages and please no more than five. Keep in mind that this is a formal paper and I want to see your best thinking and writing skills. Paper should be double-spaced, standard font (Times New Roman, 11-12), and standard margins (1 inch). A title page should also be included. Good luck.

A.P. U.S. History

Book Review Assignment

Writing Tips


Here is how I recommend writing your book review.
The book review should be in three parts.
Part 1: This should be a brief summary of the content of your book. It is necessary for you to write this in broad generalizations. Your paragraph should give the reader a good idea of what the book is about and what the author believes about the subject. In other words, discuss the themes and thesis expressed by the historian. For example, in a book about the causes of the American Revolution, the author’s thesis is that the revolution and war were unavoidable. Or, in a book about President Kennedy’s foreign policy, the author’s thesis is that his policy was unsuccessful because Kennedy was so busy trying to appear tough, that he was unwilling to seek compromise.
Part 2: This should be a critical analysis of the book as a resource for understanding history. Or, as I like to ask, does the book have any value to us? Should it be used to understand the subject? In this section, you should discuss things like the author’s objectivity, the author’s approach to the subject, the use of citations, the usefulness of the bibliography or index, assumptions made by author, the methods or types of research used by the author to prove the main thesis, the helpfulness of pictures, maps, graphs, etc, and any other factors that determine the quality of the book as a historical resource. In other words, explain if the author is successful in supporting the thesis and themes and describe if the book is informative, reliable, and helpful for someone who desires to begin an in-depth study of the topic.
Part 3: This is the area where you make your own subjective comments about the book. You should definitely include what you specifically liked or did not like about the book. You should not just say “it was confusing.” Instead say something like, “The author went into so much detail about the military background of all the officers in the battle, that the events of the current battle were unclear.” Another thing you might include in this part of the review is what you learned from the book that was important. You could point out areas in which you disagreed with the author, or things that the author should have added to make the book more complete.


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