Summer 2013 Reading Assignment
APUSH Ms Sukol
Here it is! Just what you've all been waiting for: a chance to get a head start on your junior year. Our school year starts in early September. On the first day of class, you must bring with you the following assignments which may not be graded, but which must be completed in a satisfactory manner.
1. Go to the College Board’s website (listed below). Skim through the entire site and read thoroughly one essay and the student responses. Write out a written summary of the question and what constituted a “good” essay.
AP Essay Evaluation (see docs page)
2. Historical Fiction and Non-Fiction Reading Assignment:
Unfortunately, most of us associate reading history with reading textbooks. Let's avoid having this be our first reading experience in APUSH.
This summer, read one book from either the fiction list or one book from the non-fiction list. Please choose your books based on your interest in the topic rather than the book's length.
For each book, do the following in a 2-3 paged, double-spaced and typed essay.
a. Get parental permission to read it.
b. Summarize the key elements of the book with an emphasis on the historical time period rather than on the plot.
c. What is the author's thesis? (Yes, works of fiction also have a thesis. Thesis statements may be explicit or implied) Also, Identify five major pieces of evidence the author uses to support the thesis, and explain their connection to the thesis.
d. Did you find the thesis convincing? What evidence did you experience that convinced you of the argument's validity/invalidity?
e. As a result of reading the book, explain insights you gathered on the question, "Why Study History?"
Historical Fiction (Roughly Chronological/ By Time Period)
Some of the reviews have been summarized, paraphrased, copied from a number of sources including Amazon.Com, Booklist, Kirkus, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Books with * mark I highly recommend.
Ishi's Journey: From the Center to the Edge of the World
By James A. Freeman
This amazing historical novel is the dramatic retelling of the true story of Ishi, the last "stone age man" in North America and the sole survivor of the northern California tribe called the Yahi. Ishi's Journey from the Center to the Edge of the World is a story of heartbreak and hope akin to the Anne Frank saga and the sequestering of her family during the Nazi regime. Ishi's incredible story needs to be heard again today. In the words of one of his best Anglo friends, Dr. Saxton Pope: Ishi "looked upon us as sophisticated children-smart, but not wise. We knew many things and much that is false. His were the qualities of character that last forever. He was kind; he had courage and self-restraint, and, though all had been taken from him, there was no bitterness in his heart. His soul was that of a child, his mind that of a philosopher."
By Marcy Heidish
Anne Hutchinson's struggle for religious freedom in Massachusetts during the 1630's gets her banished to Rhode Island. At first glance, Hutchinson appeared to be an admirable Puritan matron. She was the daughter of a clergyman, the wife of a successful merchant, and the mother of several children. But Hutchinson was very different from the matrons around her. She could read and write, and she had been trained by her father to interpret the Scriptures. She was different from most Puritan men as well, for she was brilliant, eloquent, witty and scholarly.
By Alex Haley
When Alex Haley was a boy growing up in Tennessee, his grandmother used to tell him stories about their family, stories that went way back to a man she called "the African" who was taken aboard a slave ship bound for Colonial America. As an adult, Alex Haley spent twelve years searching for documentation that might authenticate what his grandmother had told him. In an astonishing feat of genealogical detective work, he discovered the name of "the African"--Kunta Kinte, as well as the exact location of the village in West Africa from where he was abducted in 1767.
While Haley created certain unknown details of his family history, ROOTS is definitely based on the facts of his ancestry, and the six generations of people--slaves and freedmen, farmers and lawyers, an architect, teacher--and one acclaimed author--descended from Kunte Kinte. But with this book, Haley did more than recapture the history of his own family. He popularized genealogy for people of all races and colors; and in so doing, wrote one of the most important and beloved books of all time.
By Gore Vidal
Burr is a portrait of perhaps the most complex and misunderstood of the Founding Fathers. In 1804, while serving as vice president, Aaron Burr fought a duel with his political nemesis, Alexander Hamilton, and killed him. In 1807, he was arrested, tried, and acquitted of treason. In 1833, Burr is newly married, an aging statesman considered a monster by many. Burr retains much of his political influence if not the respect of all. And he is determined to tell his own story. As his amanuensis, he chooses Charles Schermerhorn Schuyler, a young New York City journalist, and together they explore both Burr's past and the continuing political intrigues of the still young United States.
Daughter of Joy
By Joann Levy
With her large, unbound feet, Ah Toy travels to California during the booming Gold Rush days of the late 1840s with her master, who intends to sell her when they land; however, he dies on board ship, leaving the young Chinese woman at a loss. "Who will tell me what to do?" she wonders. When Norman As-Sing, the self-titled head of San Francisco's Chinese community, assumes ownership, she balks at his lowly merchant status, a cake seller who warrants no claim to her. With few choices of support, she becomes a prostitute, or a "daughter of joy." Due to her profession and As-Sing's continual interference, Ah Toy learns firsthand about the U.S. judicial system. She believes firmly that justice prevails and tries to convince other daughters of joy that courts here are different from those in China. Levy based this fictional tale on historical characters, particularly Ah Toy, the first Asian woman to stand up for her rights in a U.S. court.
*Uncle Tom's Cabin
By Harriet Beecher Stowe
This is one of those books that everybody has heard about but few people these days have actually read. It deserves to be read - not simply because it is the basis for symbols so deeply ingrained in American culture that we no longer realize their source, nor because it is one of the bestselling books of all time. This is a book that changed history. Harriet Beecher Stowe was appalled by slavery, and she took one of the few options open to nineteenth century women who wanted to affect public opinion: she wrote a novel, a huge, enthralling narrative that claimed the heart, soul, and politics of pre-Civil War Americans. It is unabashed propaganda and overtly moralistic, an attempt to make whites - North and South - see slaves as mothers, fathers, and people with (Christian) souls. In a time when women might see the majority of their children die, Harriet Beecher Stowe portrays beautiful Eliza fleeing slavery to protect her son. In a time when many whites claimed slavery had "good effects" on blacks, Uncle Tom's Cabin paints pictures of three plantations, each worse than the other, where even the best plantation leaves a slave at the mercy of fate or debt. By twentieth-century standards, her propaganda verges on melodrama, and it is clear that even while arguing for the abolition of slavery she did not rise above her own racism. Yet her questions remain penetrating even today: "Is man ever a creature to be trusted with wholly irresponsible power?"
By Gore Vidal
To most Americans, Abraham Lincoln is a monolithic figure, the Great Emancipator and Savior of the Union, beloved by all. In Gore Vidal's Lincoln we meet Lincoln the man and Lincoln the political animal, the president who entered a besieged capital where most of the population supported the South and where even those favoring the Union had serious doubts that the man from Illinois could save it. Far from steadfast in his abhorrence of slavery, Lincoln agonizes over the best course of action and comes to his great decision only when all else seems to fail. As the Civil War ravages his nation, Lincoln must face deep personal turmoil, the loss of his dearest son, and the harangues of a wife seen as a traitor for her Southern connections. Brilliantly conceived, masterfully executed, Gore Vidal's Lincoln allows the man to breathe again.
By Upton Sinclair
This cornerstone of American literature has had a greater impact on American society than any other 20th-century novel. Sinclair said that he "aimed for the public's heart but by accident hit it in the stomach." His portrayals of the horrors of the Chicago meatpacking industry so offended the American public that it resulted in the pure-food legislation of 1906 and the establishment of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Few works of fiction have had the impact of this powerful work.
By Wallace Stegner
Wallace Stegner's novel attempts to strip away the layers of mythology created around songwriter, artist and organizer Joe Hill. Taciturn Swedish sailor, fervent Wobbly, possible murderer, victim of conspiracy and, ultimately, willing martyr - all these aspects of the legendary Trade Unionist are explored in an effort to get to grips with the "real" Joe Hill. Stegner has tried to penetrate the conventional IWW mythology around Hill, refusing to accept the simplistic interpretation of an innocent man fitted up by the law. Instead, the Joe Hill he writes of is human, multidimensional - possibly guilty but a flawed hero nonetheless. Stegner explores the creation of a martyr and the creation of a myth. Reading the story of Hill adds a poignancy and human dimension to the formulaic elegies of folksong and tradition.
The Big Rock Candy Mountain
By Wallace Stegner
Bo Mason and his wife and two boys live a transient life of poverty and despair; drifting from town to town, the violent, ruthless Bo seeks his fortune. Stegner has created a masterful, harrowing saga of a family trying to survive during the lean years of the early 20th century. Touted as a "realistic western that provides the antidote to our romantic view of the cowboy culture."
By Louise Erdrich
The time is the early twentieth century. Epidemics, harsh winters, and the greed of white men are rapidly destroying the land and its Native American people. Tracks is the story of the Chippewa Indians and in particular one woman, Fleur, told through two voices of two opposing Native American viewpoints. Nanapush, respected male elder, relays to Fleur's rebellious daughter the history of her people and the power of her mother. But to awkward and rejected Pauline, who latches on to Catholic doctrine and twists her life into one of mortification and revenge, Fleur is an evil woman who couples with the water spirit in the lake. Aware of each other but always speaking to others, Nanapush and Pauline's alternating voices rise and clash like the two ways of life they represent. Whose representation is correct? Where does knowledge of the earth and its mysteries end and magic begin? And what is the fate of the Native American people in the midst of these different ways of knowing? This is a lyrical and passionate novel about belief, and about love for nature and individuals.
By Denise Giardina Annadel, West Virginia, was a small town rich in coal, farms, and close-knit families, all destroyed when the coal company came in. It stole everything it hadn't bothered to buy -- land deeds, private homes, and ultimately, the souls of its men and women.Four people tell this powerful, deeply moving tale: Activist Mayor C.J. Marcum. Fierce, loveless union man Rondal Lloyd. Gutsy nurse Carrie Bishop, who loved Rondal. And lonely, Sicilian immigrant Rose Angelelli, who lost four sons to the deadly mines.They all bear witness to nearly forgotten events of history, culminating in the final, tragic Battle of Blair Mountain -- when the United States Army greeted 10,000 unemployed pro-union miners with airplanes, bombs, and poison gas. It was the first crucial battle of a war that has yet to be won.
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
By Earnest J. Gaines.
Novel by Ernest J. Gaines, published in 1971. Set in rural southern Louisiana, the novel spans 100 years of American history--from the early 1860s to the onset of the civil rights movement in the 1960s--in following the life of the elderly Jane Pittman, who witnessed those years. A child at the end of the Civil War, Jane survives a massacre by former Confederate soldiers. She serves as a steadying influence for several black men who work hard to achieve dignity and economic as well as political equality. After the death of her husband, Joe Pittman, Jane becomes a committed Christian and a spiritual guide in her community. Spurred on by the violent death of a young community leader, Jane finally confronts a plantation owner who represents the white power structure to which she has always been subservient.
By Richard Wright
Bigger Thomas is doomed, trapped in a downward spiral that will lead to arrest, prison, or death, driven by despair, frustration, poverty, and incomprehension. As a young black man in the Chicago of the '30s, he has no way out of the walls of poverty and racism that surround him, and after he murders a young white woman in a moment of panic, these walls begin to close in. There is no help for him--not from his hapless family; not from liberal do-gooders or from his well-meaning yet naive friend Jan; certainly not from the police, prosecutors, or judges. Bigger is debased, aggressive, dangerous, and a violent criminal. As such, he has no claim upon our compassion or sympathy. And yet...
By Mary Lee Settle
From social debutante to gutsy old lady, Melinda Kregg Dunston has led a life no one would have expected of her. Born into high society in Richmond, Virginia, she decides early on that one's own wants and desires should take a backseat to helping others. As a young woman--this is 1931--she throws over the traces to help the poor coal miners of Kentucky. It doesn't take long--she's a quick study--before she embroils herself in political and social activism, to which she devotes the rest of her long life, an involvement that takes her to such places as Spain in the throes of civil war, England while it was being bombed by the Nazis, and Mississippi during the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. We should all hope to look back on a life as meaningful as hers; what makes her not only admirable but likable is Settle's experienced, nimble, and gracious hand at configuring a hero who, at the same time, is a very real person. Settle has a legion of admirers whose esteem will grow with the appearance of her latest novel
The Dark Side of the Dream
By Alejandro-Grattan Dominguez
The epic tale of an immigrant family's struggle for survival, recognition, and citizenship. In order to fulfill their dying father's final wish, Jose Louis and Francisco Salazar leave Mexico in 1941 and head north in search of the hallowed American dream. The dream proves to be ephemeral as Jose Louis and his brood settle into the squalor of the El Paso barrio, while Francisco and his son become indentured and exploited migrant workers. Over the course of the next decade each Salazar attempts to carve out a unique niche for him-or herself in a variety of ways, including enlisting in the armed forces, organizing labor unions, enrolling in college, and building a thriving business. Grattan-Dominguez paints a vivid portrait of the many facets of immigrant culture and one family's tragic and triumphant odyssey in a new land.
A first novel that is roughly autobiographical. The book is divided into three sections that reflect three time periods and locales: Joe's early years in Korea, his school years and army training in Charleston, SC, and the young man's second rotation in Vietnam, during which he commands an elite company of volunteers. The theme that unites the entire book is Joe's separation from his older brother during their flight from their Korean sea-coast town following the killing of their parents in the early days of that country's civil war. All that Joe has left from his former life is one photograph. He spends most of the book hoping to get to Korea to look for his brother. Another photograph leads him to find what he is searching for. The first part of the story has a more carefully worked script, and the author's depiction of horror, disbelief, and unreality is impressive. This is a book that will help young adults understand two recent Asian wars and also help young immigrants better appreciate their heritage.
By Jhumpa Lahiri
Jhumpa Lahiri's debut story collection, Interpreter of Maladies, took the literary world by storm when it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000. Fans who flocked to her stories will be captivated by her best-selling first novel, now in paperback for the first time. The Namesake is a finely wrought, deeply moving family drama that illuminates this acclaimed author's signature themes: the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures, the tangled ties between generations.
The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of an arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Ashoke does his best to adapt while his wife pines for home. When their son, Gogol, is born, the task of naming him betrays their hope of respecting old ways in a new world. And we watch as Gogol stumbles along the first-generation path, strewn with conflicting loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs. With empathy and penetrating insight, Lahiri explores the expectations bestowed on us by our parents and the means by which we come to define who we are.
Amazon.Com, Booklist, Kirkus, The New York Times and The Washington Post.
The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey
By Spencer Wells
Spencer Wells traces human evolution back to our very first ancestor in The Journey of Man. Along the way, he sums up the explosive effect of new techniques in genetics on the field of evolutionary biology and all available evidence from the fossil record. Wells's seemingly sexist title is purposeful: he argues that the Y chromosome gives us a unique opportunity to follow our migratory heritage back to a sort of Adam, just as earlier work in mitochondrial DNA allowed the identification of Eve, mother of all Homo sapiens. While his descriptions of the advances made by such luminary scientists as Richard Lewontin and Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza can be dry, Wells comes through with sparkling metaphors when it counts, as when he compares genetic drift to a bouillabaisse recipe handed down through a village's generations. Though finding our primal male is an exciting prospect, the real revolution Wells describes is racial. Or rather, nonracial, as he reiterates the scientific truth that our notions of what makes us different from each other are purely cultural, not based in biology. The case for an "out of Africa" scenario of human migration is solid in this book, though Wells makes it clear when he is hypothesizing anything controversial. Readers interested in a fairly technical, but not overwhelming, summary of the remarkable conclusions of 21st-century human evolutionary biology will find The Journey of Man a perfect primer.
Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New Nation
By David A. Price
This book retells a beloved tale in modern terms. Journalist Price's subtitle suggests that the book might be only about John Smith and Pocahontas-who "crossed into one another's cultures more than any other Englishman or native woman had done"-as well as about Pocahontas's eventual husband, John Rolfe. Fortunately, the book ranges more widely than that. Price relates the entire riveting story of the founding of Virginia. Smith is of course at the center of the tale, because rarely did a colonial leader so bountifully combine experience, insight, vision, strength of character and leadership skills to overcome extraordinary odds. But no one will come away from this work without heightened admiration also for the natives, especially Chief Powhatan, and greater knowledge of the introduction of a third people, African slaves, into the Chesapeake. The book's leitmotif is the interaction of differing cultures and men, like the British gentry, whom Smith scorned for refusing to adapt to hard colonial labor, and the wily Indians, who resorted to starving out the colonists and in 1622 massacred many of them. If there's a fault in a work built unobtrusively on the best scholarship, it's Price's insistence that we see Virginia principally as a place that rewarded courage and hard labor-for white men-in the service of self-advancement and personal liberty. Such a place it was. But it was also for all participants a site, at the start of the nation's history, of danger, horror and death.
Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War
By Nathaniel Philbrick Few periods in American history are as clouded in mythology and romantic fantasy as the Pilgrim
settlement of New England. The Mayflower, Plymouth Rock, the first Thanksgiving, Miles Standish, John Alden and Priscilla ("Speak for yourself, John") Mullins -- this is the stuff of legend, and we have thrilled to it for generations. Among many other things, it is what Nathaniel Philbrick calls "a restorative myth of national origins," one that encourages us in the conviction that we are a nation uniquely blessed by God and that we have reached a level of righteousness unattained by any other country.
It is a comforting mythology, but it has little basis in fact. The voyage of the Mayflower was a painful and fatal (one crew member died) transatlantic passage by people who knew nothing about the sea and had "almost no relevant experience when it came to carving a settlement out of the American wilderness." Wherever they first set foot on the American continent, it wasn't Plymouth, and it certainly wasn't Plymouth Rock. The first Thanksgiving (in 1621) was indeed attended by Indians as well as Pilgrims, but they didn't sit at the tidy table depicted in Victorian popular art; they "stood, squatted, or sat on the ground as they clustered around outdoor fires, where the deer and birds turned on wooden spits and where pottages -- stews into which varieties of meats and vegetables were thrown -- simmered invitingly." As for Priscilla Mullins, John Alden and Miles Standish, that tale is nothing more than a product of the imagination of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
These cherished myths, in other words, bear approximately as much resemblance to reality as does, say, the story of George Washington and the cherry tree. In Mayflower, his study of the Pilgrim settlement, Philbrick dispatches them in a few paragraphs.
A Midwife's Tale
By Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
After raising nine children between 1756 and 1779, Martha Ballard spent the last twenty-seven years of her life as a midwife. Her work involved not only the delivery of 816 babies, but also responsibility for a spectrum of essential medical services in the town of Hallowell, Maine. Her diary entries are the resource and catalyst for Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's essays into the social history of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century New England. The diary itself is a straightforward daybook filled with notes on the weather, miscellaneous household tasks, regional politics and economics, births, deaths, marriages, illnesses, and other incidents that represent the concerns of a typical woman of Martha Ballard's time and place. Yet the indomitable personality of Martha Ballard herself is the guiding force behind this history. The editor writes, "it is in the very dailiness, the exhaustive repetitious dailiness, that the real power of Martha Ballard's book lies...For her, living was to be measured in doing. Nothing was trivial." Each chapter of A Midwife's Tale combines diary entries and editorial discussion; Martha Ballard describes how she gathers and administers herbal remedies, delivers babies, and prepares bodies for burial, and the editor places these tasks in a larger social context, exploring the often conflicting roles of male medical practitioners and local female healers. A Midwife's Tale, winner of the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, is an innovative approach to history, a book to be studied and savored