Most importantly, students should choose books in which they are genuinely interested in to further their personal learning journey

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Reading List

Students: APUSH requires that you have a working knowledge of both fiction and non-fiction books that address topics and themes in U.S. History. Included in this list, are examples that relate to a variety of topics and themes that will be covered in A.P. U.S. History this year. Students are required to read one selection for discussion in the summer sessions. It is suggested that students then read one selection of their choice per quarter during the APUSH year.

The knowledge gained from this reading will enrich your academic vocabulary and provide you with a greater familiarity of topics in U.S. History. Many of these titles are available from the Shafter library, Kern County Public Library and at local booksellers (Russo’s and Barnes and Noble) or online (,, Students may also choose to download e-book versions for their Kindle, Nook, or IPAD devices from sites like Project Gutenberg ( Most importantly, students should choose books in which they are genuinely interested in to further their personal learning journey.

Ms. Loveless

Parents: Some of these selections have mature themes, language and references. Please be aware of what your student is reading and engage them in discussion about the content.

*List is referenced to units of study from our text, The American Pageant, 13th Edition.

Unit #1 The Founding of Our Nation; Chapters 1-5 (Discovery and Colonization of North America)

  1. 1491; New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus.

Charles C. Mann Discovery

  1. The Rights of Man3. Thomas Paine Democracy

  2. The First American; The Life and Times

of Benjamin Franklin. H.W. Brands Colonial Life

4. Last of the Mohicans. James Fenimore Cooper F- French & Indian War

5. The Scarlet Letter. Nathaniel Hawthorne F- Puritan America

6. The Crucible. Arthur Miller F- Salem Witch Trials

7. The Mayflower; A Story of Courage,

Community and Fear. Nathaniel Philbrick Colonization

Unit #1-2 The Founding of Our Nation, continued; Chapters 6-10 (Colonies, Revolution, Independence)

  1. Common Sense1,2,3. Thomas Paine American Revolution

  2. A Vindication of the Rights of Women1,3. Mary Wollstonecraft Women’s Rights

  3. The Wealth of Nations3. Adam Smith Capitalism

  4. Miracle At Philadelphia. Catherine Drinker Bowen Constitutional Convention

  5. The First Salute. Barbara Tuchman American Revolution

  6. 1776. David McCullough American Revolution

  7. The Founding Brothers. Joseph Ellis American Revolution

  8. A Necessary Evil. Gary Wills Constitution

Unit 3- Building a New Nation; Chapters 10-13 (Nationalism, Jeffersonian Era, War of 1812, Jacksonian Era, Manifest Destiny, Religious Reform)

  1. The Book of Mormon1. Joseph Smith Religion/Mormonism

  2. The Communist Manifesto1,3. Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels Economics/Politics

  3. Leaves of Grass1. Walt Whitman Transcendentalism/Humanism

  4. The Federalist2. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison Constitution/Bill of Rights

and John Jay

5. Democracy in America3. Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America

6. On Liberty3. John Stuart Mill Moral and Economic Freedom

7. Moby Dick3. Herman Melville F- Colonial Industry

8. Walden3. Henry David Thoreau Transcendentalism

9. The Bible3. Religion

10. Undaunted Courage. Stephen Ambrose Lewis and Clark Expedition

11. John Marshall; Definer of a Nation. Jean Edward Smith John Marshall/Supreme Court

12. John Adams. David McCullough John Adams

13. The Age of Jackson. Arthur Schlesinger Andrew Jackson

14. A People’s History of the Supreme Court. Peter Irons Supreme Court

Unit 4- Testing a New Nation; Chapters 14-22 (Slavery, Mexican-American War, Sectionalism, Abolitionism, Civil War, Reconstruction)

  1. Uncle Tom’s Cabin1,2,3. Harriet Beecher Stowe F- Slavery/Abolition

  2. Life of an American Slave1. Frederick Douglass Autobiography

  3. The Ecclectic Reader2. William Holmes McGuffey Public Education

  4. 11. The Age of Gold; The California Gold Rush

and the American Dream. H.W. Brands California History

  1. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Dee Brown F- Native Americans

  2. Nothing Like it In the World. Stephen Ambrose Railroads

  3. Battle Cry Freedom. James McPherson Civil War

  4. With Malice Toward None. Stephen B. Oates Abraham Lincoln/Civil War

  5. The Impending Crisis. David M. Potter Civil War

  6. Lincoln’s Constitution. Daniel Farber. Civil War/Secession/Constitution

  7. A Short History of Reconstruction. Eric Foner Reconstruction

Unit 5- Forging an Industrial Society; Chapters 23-27 (The Gilded Age, Industrialism, Urbanization, Westward Expansion, Imperialism)

  1. The Jungle1,2. Upton Sinclair F- Urbanization/Immigrants

  2. The Interpretation of Dreams1. Sigmund Freud Psychology

  3. The Influence of Sea Power on History2. Military Power

Alfred Thayer Mahan

  1. Go Tell it On the Mountain. James Baldwin F- Black Migration

  2. Twenty Years at Hull House. Jane Addams Progressivism

  3. The Souls of Black Folk. W.E.B. BuBois Progressives/Race Relations

  4. Women and the New Race. Margaret Sanger Progressivism/Feminism

  5. The Robber Barons. Matthew Jospheson Railroads/Industrialism

Unit 6- Struggling for Justice at Home and Abroad; Chapters 28-36 (Imperialism, Progressivism, World War I, Roaring Twenties, Great Depression, New Deal, Isolationism & Neutrality, World War II)

  1. Atlas Shrugged1. Ayn Rand F- Capitalism

  2. The Grapes of Wrath1. John Steinbeck F- Great Depression

  3. The Clansmen1. Thomas Dixon Jr. F- Radical Racism

  4. The General Theory of Employment, Interest & Money1.

John Maynard Keynes New Deal Economics

  1. Brave New World3. Aldous Huxley F- Effect of Technology

  2. A Room of One’s Own3. Virginia Woolf F- Feminism

  3. The Meaning of Relativity3. Albert Einstein Physics

  4. D-Day. Stephen Ambrose World War II

  5. Farewell to Manzanar. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston Japanese Internment

  6. Guns of August. Barbara Tuchman World War I

  7. The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald F- 1920’s

  8. TR: The Last Romantic. H.W. Brands Teddy Roosevelt

  9. The Worst Hard Time. Timothy Egan Dust Bowl/Depression

Unit 7- Making Modern America; Chapters 37-42 (Post War America, Cold War, 1960’s, Vietnam, 1970’s, Conservatism, New Century)

1. Invisible Man1,2. Ralph Ellison F- Post WWII/ Race Relations

2. All the President’s Men1. Carl Bernstein & Bob Woodward Watergate Scandal

3. Silent Spring1,2. Rachel Carson Environment

4. The Feminine Mystique1,2. Betty Friedan Women’s Movement

5. The Autobiography of Malcolm X1. Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley Race Relations

6. Howl1. Allen Ginsburg F- Counterculture

7. On Death and Dying1. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Hospice & Health Care

8. The Conscience of A Conservative2. Barry Goldwater Conservatism

9. The Qur’An3. Religion

10. The Best and the Brightest. David Halberstam Vietnam

11. Profiles in Courage. John F. Kennedy American History

12. A Bright Shining Lie. Neil Sheehan Vietnam

13. Shadow. Bob Woodward Post-Watergate Presidencies

14. On the Road. Jack Kerouac F- Conformity/1950’s

15. The March of Folly. Barbara Tuchman Vietnam/War Decisions

*Any titles by Daniel J. Boostin, Howard Zinn, Barbara Tuchman, Eric Foner, Edmund S. Morgan, Arthur Schlesinger, Stephen Ambrose, David McCulluogh, Charles C. Mann.

Review Unit- M/C. DBQ and FRQ practice; Chapters 1-42

  1. Lies My Teacher Told Me. James W. Loewen General History

  2. Legends, Lies and Cherished Myths of General History

3. American History. Richard Shenkma

4. A People’s History of the United States. Howard Zinn General History

5. Don’t Know Much About American History. Kenneth C. Davis General History

6. 5 Steps to a Five; AP U.S. History. McGraw Hill AP Exam Review

7. AP U.S. History Express. Kaplan AP Exam Review

8. AP U.S History; Are you Serious About Getting a 5? REA AP Exam Review


  1. Book Magazine’s “20 Books that Changed America.” ABC-News, 2006.

  2. Richmond-Times Dispatch “10 Books that Changed American History.” 2010.

  3. Online Education Database’s “50 Books that Changed the World.” 2010.

Notes:*Special Thanks to the following staff of Golden Valley High School for their insight and recommendations; Terri Richmond, John Hansen, Tracy Costa, Carla Stallworth and Jan Hartsell.

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