Congratulations on your decision to challenge yourself with a rigorous class. Next year will hold many new demands that will enable you to grow to your full academic potential. AP European History is a challenging course that will require a commitment on the part of both the student and the parent.
Throughout the next year students’ time will be filled with textbook and primary source reading. These sources are invaluable to developing a strong knowledge base. However, novels and biographies are of equal importance in fostering interest and understanding of a particular subject.
Unfortunately, during the school year time is a limited resource. Therefore, in an effort to maintain the College Board’s Advanced Placement philosophy of the class, and to allow students to read a variety of materials, summer reading will be an extended learning assignment for AP European History. Attached is a list of books, both fiction and biographies, relating to European History. This list includes a variety of books; you should find one with a topic and writing style that interests you. Some of the books include some adult content, so please discuss the book with your parents before choosing one. You may choose one book from the list and complete the list of requirements that are attached. The extended learning assignment will be due the first Friday of class.
If you have any questions regarding the assignment you may reach me at school 804-5154 until the last day or throughout the summer by e-mail. email@example.com
Megan Ellis Sumner
SUMMER READING BOOK REVIEW GUIDELINES You are learning one of the social studies power standards by “creating a product that uses social studies content to support a thesis and presents the product in an appropriate manner to a meaningful audience.”
Write a one page, typed summary of your book. (No more than one page please; learn to condense.) The summary must include two (or more) of the following power standards:
Understands historical chronology. Summarize the major or minor historical events present in book/movie.
Understands that there are multiple perspectives and interpretations of historical events. Discuss PERSIA (Political, Economic, Religious, Social, Intellectual, Artistic) things that occurred in book/movie
Use your own words. Combine ideas from the book into new sentences of your own. Avoid copying the original language, and put quotes around any that you do borrow. Summarizing is a good way to learn and to assimilate material, but the process doesn’t work very well unless you translate the original into your own language.
Write a one page, typed critique of your book. (Again, keep it to one page.) “Uses critical reasoning skills to analyze and evaluate positions”
A critique consists of your thoughts, responses, and reactions to what you have read.
The following questions are examples of the kind you should consider as you read your book and prepare the critique.
How well did the book include historical issues, background, or setting to create a story?
What is your overall opinion of the book, and why?
Does the author seem historically accurate? Is there any distortion, exaggeration, or diminishing of material? Is the overall interpretation biased, subjective, slanted, objective? Does the author try to look at both sides of the issue?
Is the book interesting or boring, and why? Does the material presented raise your curiosity about the historical subject, and why?
Is there enough information in the book? Is the subject treated thoroughly or summarily?
Did you feel satisfied, disappointed, or puzzled by the book, and why?
C. Make sure to include examples from the book/ movie to illustrate your opinion.
3. Make sure to proofread your 2 pages. Proper grammar, spelling, and paragraphs are expected.
**Extended learning assignment will be due the first week of school in September. Have a good summer, enjoy your book, and get ready to challenge yourself!
BIOGRAPHIES/ NON-FICTION Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives.
Hitler and Stalin that includes a history of Germany and the Soviet Union.
Ferro, Marc. Nicholas II: The Last of the Tsars.
A biography of the last Russian tsar uses Russian archival material to illuminate Nicholas's character, discussing his childhood, his reign, his political beliefs, his family, the revolution that led to his downfall, and his death.
Fraser, Antonia. Mary Queen of Scots.
A biography of Mary Queen of Scots captures the essence of the impulsive and beautiful Scottish queen who lost a throne for love and whose power struggle with Elizabeth I of England ended with her beheading.
____________. The wives of Henry VIII.
Traces the ascent and decline of each of the six wives of Henry VIII of Great Britain.
(Just about anything from Antonia Fraser would work as long as the time period of the subject is 1350-present and from Europe).
Hibbert, Christopher. The Virgin Queen.
Christopher Hibbert's Elizabeth I is a revelation- genius and world leader, presiding over one of Europe's most glittering ages.
Jonnes, Jill. Eiffel's Tower: The Thrilling Story Behind Paris's Beloved Monument and the Extraordinary World's Fair That Introduced It
A colorful cast of characters descended on Paris for the 1889 World's Fair, an atmospheric overview of the celebrities who made belle époque Paris their stage during the memorable event.
Larson, Erik. Thunderstruck.
*New suspense-spiked history links Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of wireless telegraphy, with Hawley Crippen, a mild-mannered homeopathic doctor in turn-of-the-century London accused of murder.
_________. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
In the Garden of Beasts is a vivid portrait of Berlin during the first years of Hitler’s reign, brought to life through the stories of two people.
_________. Dead Wake: the Last Crossing of the Lusitania. Looks at stories of people and how the Lusitania disaster happened.
King, Ross. Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius reinvented Architecture.
* This is the story of genius, sweat, and emotion that went into the construction of the dome of Il Duomo, Florence's most visible landmark. (A bit technical- great if you like architecture or engineering, but really interesting).
Manchester, William A World Lit By Only Fire.
Chronicles the historical transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and focuses on riveting figures such as Leonardo da Vinci, Lucrezia Borgia, Henry VIII, and others.
Massie, Robert K. Peter the Great.*
Written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, this captivating biography of one of history's larger-than-life figures examines the life of the Russian ruler and portrays Russia during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.
______________, Catherine the Great. A look at one of the greatest rulers in Russian History.
Rubin, Nancy. Isabella of Castille.
A woman's story as well as a political account, Isabella of Castile includes a sweeping overview of Spain at the dawn of its most exciting historical era.
Sobel, Dava. Galileo’s Daughter: a Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love. Story of Galileo told through a narrator and through letters from his daughter.
Weir, Alison. The Children of Henry VIII. (ranked high by Amazon.com)
Story of the heirs of Henry VIII of England.
(Just about anything from Alison Weir would work as long as the time period of the subject is 1350-present and from Europe).
Woodham-Smith, Cecil Blanche Fitz Gerald. Queen Victoria, from her birth to the death of the Prince Consort.
Looks at Queen Victoria of Great Britain.
(Synopses taken from Amazon.com)
(I’m not a big fan of non-fiction books, however I put a * next to the books I read and enjoyed)
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. (love, conflict and marriage in the early 19th-century English Countryside)
Brooks, Geraldine. A Year of Wonders. *Novel of the plague in England. Great story.
Carroll, Susan. The Dark Queen: a Novel. (Evil Catherine de’ Medici in a love story/ mystery)
Cornwell, Bernard. Sharpe's Tiger (Richard Sharpe's Adventure Series #1) Adventure of British soldier in India in 1799.
DeBernieres, Louis. Corelli’s Mandolin. *Great book on Greece during World War II.
Delaney, Frank. Ireland. *Takes historical stories of Ireland and intermixes them with the story of an Irish storyteller.
de Rosnay, Tatiana. Sarah's Key. (Jewish Vélodrome d'Hiver roundup in Nazi occupied France).
Dickens, Charles. Tale of Two Cities. (Ancien regime & conditions that brought on French Revolution)
_______________. Hard Times. (Effects of the Industrial Revolution in England)
____________. The Three Musketeers. (Richelieu and the reign of Louis XIII)
____________. Queen Margot (French Civil Wars of Religion, leading Catholics & Huguenots)
Forester, C.S. Hornblower: Beat to Quarters. (Adventure on the sea during the Napoleonic Wars).
Gaarder, Jostein. Sophie’s World. (Philosophy through a 15 year old girl)
Gregory, Philippa. The Boleyn Inheritance. (Fictionalized account of the 4th and 5th wives of Henry VIII)
______________. The Other Boleyn Girl. *(Fictionalized account of the sister of Anne Boleyn).
______________. The Queen’s Fool. *(Fictionalized account of a fool who works for both Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I).
Hannah, Kristin. The Nightengale. *(Different actions by two sisters in France during WWII ).
Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. (One of the most poignant love stories ever written. Set in World War I, Italy)
________________. For Whom the Bell Tolls. (The Spanish Civil War)
Hegi, Ursula. Stones from the River. *(The story of a Dwarf living in Germany and her experience seeing the occupation by the Nazis and World War II.) Wonderful!!!
Holt, Victoria. Queen’s Confession. (Marie Antoinette’s life)
Hugo, Victor. The Hunchback of Notre Dame. (Tale of Quasimodo set in Medieval Paris) Abridged ok
__________. Les Miserables. * (Classic tale of 19th century French society. If you like the musical you will love the book. One of my favorites!)- abridged version is okay and encouraged.
Keneally, Thomas. Schindler’s List. (Account of a Christian businessman who saved Jews from the Nazis)
McCourt, Frank. Angela’s Ashes. * (Pulitzer prize winning story of growing up in Ireland)
Michener, James A. Poland. (History of Poland through three families)
O’Brian, Patrick. Master and Commander. (British captain fighting during the Napoleonic wars).
Pasternak, Boris. Doctor Zhivago. (World War I in Russia & the last days of the tsars)
Remarque, Erich Maria. * All Quiet on the Western Front. (Depicts the experiences of a group of young German soldiers fighting and suffering during the last days of World War I)
Robbins, David L. War of the Rats. (Set during Battle of Stalingrad it looks at the conflict between a German and Soviet Sniper).
Rutherford, Edward. London. (History of London through a family saga.)
Sepetys, Ruta. Between Shades of Gray. (Fifteen-year old girl and her family are sent to a Stalinist camp).
Seton, Anya. The Green Darkness. (Protestant & Catholic conflict that disrupted Europe after the Reformation)
Solzhenitsyn, Alexandr. August 1914. (Beginning of the end of the tsars)
Stone, Irving. Agony and the Ecstacy. (Biographical novel of Michelangelo)
Tolstoi, Alexi. Anna Karenina. (Classic 19th-century Russian novel of love & infidelity)
Uris, Leon. Trinity. (Ireland from 840 to 1916)
Zola, Emile. Germinal. (tragic story of mining family in 19th c. France)
All of these books should be available either new or at the library. I suggest you read a detailed synopsis of the book on Amazon.com before choosing a book. Books that are starred * are ones I have read and highly recommend.