Summer Assignment 2014 Mr. Heffernan

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AP U.S. History

Summer Assignment 2014

Mr. Heffernan

Northern Highlands Regional High School

Welcome to AP US History! The course is a college-level course that will require extensive knowledge and understanding of US History. It is imperative to have a strong foundation as a class for our return in September. As such, every student is expected to complete the following summer reading assignment. The AP exam will be on Friday, May 8th, 2015.


Part I

Read “History and Historians” the introduction to Conflict and Consensus in Early American History before reading the other assignment. Answer the four questions below. Total response for each question should not exceed 250 words. The essay “History and Historians” is on my website under the Summer Assignments link.

  1. Why are “facts” insufficient means for understanding history?

  1. What factors account for the different interpretations of past events?

  1. The authors state:

“historians do not just present facts; they present some facts and not others. They choose those facts that seem significant and reject others. This is one of the reasons that historians disagree : they have different views or different theories concerning human behavior and therefore find different kinds of information significant.”

What does this statement indicate about concepts about truth and/or notions of accuracy in the understanding history?

  1. In what fundamental ways do conflict (revisionist) and consensus (traditional) oriented historians differ?

Part II

The 2015 AP United States History [APUSH] exam will be based on a new curriculum developed by the College Board. The new curriculum asks students to focus on a series of seven themes in American history. Choose a book from the list of 26 books listed below (“Books for Part III). Select any book that seems interesting to you. If you would like to select an alternate book (for some examples see “Optional Book List”) you must email me over the summer at and provide me the name of the book you’re interested in reading, and provide me a rationale for wishing to select a different book.

You must write a 500-600 word critical review of the book. This analysis should be constructed around ONE of the APUSH themes [please note that books may not clearly fit into any single theme]. The book review must identify the purpose or thesis of the book, major supporting points of that thesis/purpose, how and why the book develops your understanding about that theme.
All essays must be turned into by the first FULL day of class. A hard copy of the paper is also due on the first FULL day of class. login CLASS : 5840776  PASSWORD: Roosevelt 

Books for Part III

  1. A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World - Tony Horwitz.

  2. Amusing the Million: Coney Island at the Turn of the Century – John Kasson

  3. Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State – Gary Wills

  4. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee – Dee Brown

  5. Coming of Age in Mississippi – Anne Moody

  6. Go Tell it on the Mountain – James Baldwin

  7. Lies My Teacher Told Me – James Loewen

  8. Looking Backwards – Edward Bellamy

  9. Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War – Nathaniel Philbrick

  10. The Autobiography of Ben Franklin – Ben Franklin

  11. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America - Erik Larson

  12. The Education of Henry Adams- Henry Adams

  13. The Feminine MystiqueBetty Friedan

  14. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

  15. The Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison

  16. The Johnstown Flood – David McCullough

  17. The Jungle – Upton Sinclair

  18. The Naked and the Dead – Norman Mailer

  19. New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America – Colin Calloway

  20. The Post American World: Release 2.0 – Fareed Zakaria

  21. The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America – George Packer

  22. The Victorian Internet – Tom Standage

  23. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration – Isabel Wilkerson

  24. The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl – Timothy Egan

  25. Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe

  26. Unfamiliar Fishes –Sarah Vowell


  1. Identity

This theme focuses on the formation of both American national identity and group identities in U.S. history. Students will explore how various identities, cultures, and values have been preserved or changed in different contexts of U.S. history, with special attention given to the formation of gender, class, racial, and ethnic identities. Students will examine how these sub-identities have interacted with each other and with larger conceptions of American national identity.

  1. Work, Exchange, and Technology

This theme focuses on the development of American economies based on agriculture, commerce, and manufacturing. Students will examine ways that different economic and labor systems, technological innovations, and government policies have shaped American society. Students will explore the lives of working people and the relationships among social classes, racial and ethnic groups, and men and women, including the availability of land and labor, national and international economic developments, and the role of government support and regulation.

  1. Peopling

This theme focuses on why and how the various people who moved to, from, and within the United States adapted to their new social and physical environments. Students will examine migration across borders and long distances, including the slave trade and internal migration, and how both newcomers and indigenous inhabitants transformed North America. The theme also illustrates how people responded when “borders crossed them.” Students explore the ideas, beliefs, traditions, technologies, religions, and gender roles that migrants/immigrants and annexed peoples brought with them, and the impact these factors had on both these peoples and on U.S. society.

  1. Politics and Power

Students will examine ongoing debates over the role of the state in society and its potential as an active agent for change. This includes mechanisms for creating, implementing, or limiting participation in the political process and the resulting social effects, as well as the changing relationships among the branches

of the federal government and among national, state, and local governments. Students will trace efforts to define or gain access to individual rights and citizenship and survey the evolutions of tensions between liberty and authority in different periods of U.S. history.

  1. America in the World

In this theme, students will focus on the global context in which the United States originated and developed, as well as the influence of the U.S. on world affairs. Students will examine how various world actors (such as people, states, organizations, and companies) have competed for the territory and resources of the North American continent, influencing the development of both American and world societies and economies. Students should also investigate how American foreign policies and military actions have affected the rest of the world as well as social issues within the U.S. itself.

  1. Environment and Geography — Physical and Human

This theme examines the role of environment, geography, and climate in both constraining and shaping human actions. Students will analyze the interaction between the environment and Americans in their efforts to survive and thrive. Students should also explore efforts to interpret, preserve, manage, or exploit natural and man-made environments, as well as the historical contexts within which interactions with the environment have taken place.

  1. Ideas, Beliefs, and Culture

This theme explores the roles that ideas, beliefs, social mores, and creative expression have played in shaping the United States. Students will examine the development of aesthetic, moral, religious, scientific, and philosophical principles, and consider how these principles have affected individual and group actions. Students will analyze the interactions between beliefs and communities, economic values, and political movements, including attempts to change American society to align it with specific ideals.

Optional Books

APUSH Reading List
Below is a list of books covering a variety of topics in American History. These books may be useful in expanding your knowledge and understanding of US history. Reading all of these books in one summer would be an impossible task, and is in no way encouraged. But reading or familiarizing yourself with some of these books can assist in your understanding of US History.

Discovery & Colonial Era

  • New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America – Colin


  • The Puritan Dilemma: The Story of John Winthrop – Edmund Morgan

  • Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War – Nathaniel Philbrick

  • The Wordy Shipmates – Sarah Vowell

The Emergence & Rise of the American Republic

  • The Federalist Papers

  • The Autobiography of Ben Franklin – Ben Franklin

  • The Birth of the Republic, 1763-1789 – Edmund Morgan

Antebellum Period

  • Manifest Destiny: American Expansion and the Empire of Right – Stephan Anderson

  • The Kingdom of Matthias: A Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th Century America – Paul


  • Walden – Henry David Thoreau

  • 12 Years a Slave – Solomon Northup

  • Honor and Slavery: Lies, Duels, Noses, Masks, Dressing as a Woman, Gifts, Strangers, Humanitarianism, Death, Slave Rebellions, the Proslavery Argument, Baseball, Hunting, and Gambling in the Old SouthKenneth Greenberg

The Civil War

  • Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War – Tony Horwitz

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War – Tony Horwitz

  • Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era – James McPherson

  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln – Doris Kearns Goodwin

  • 1861: The Civil War Awakening – Adam Goodheart


  • Reconstruction: Americas Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 – Eric Foner

The Gilded Age/American Capitalism

  • American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900 - H.W. Brands

  • The Money Men: Capitalism, Democracy, and the Hundred Years’ War Over the American Dollar – H.W. Brands

  • Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered the World and Threatened Civilzation as We Know It – H.W. Brands

  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America - Erik Larson

  • The Murder of Jim Fisk for the Love of Josie Mansfield: A Tragedy of the Gilded Age

  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President

Candice Millard


  • Sea of Glory: America’s Voyagd of Discovery, the US Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 – Nathaniel Philbrick

  • Unfamiliar Fishes –Sarah Vowell

The West &Native Americans

  • Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee – Dee Brown

  • The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of Little Big Horn – Nathaniel Philbrick

  • Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis – Timothy Egan

  • Empire of the Summer Moon: Quannah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History – S.C. Gwynne

Progressive Era

  • The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America – Timothy Egan

  • Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt’s Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-loving New York Richard Zacks

  • The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism – Doris Kearns Goodwin

Women’s Rights

  • Personal Politics: The Roots of Women’s Liberation in the Civil Rights Movement & the New

Left – Sara Evans

  • Century of Struggle: The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States – Eleanor Flexner

  • The Feminine Mystique – Betty Friedan

  • Worlds of Women: The Making of an International Women’s Movement – Leila J. Rupp

World War I

  • The First World War – John Keegan

Interwar Period

  • Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age – Kevin Boyle

  • Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City – Nelson Johnson

  • Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition – Daniel Okrent

  • New World Coming: The 1920s and the Making of Modern America – Nathan Miller

  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration – Isabel Wilkerson

  • The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York – Deborah Blum

  • One Summer: 1927 – Bill Bryson

The Great Depression

  • The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American

Dust Bowl – Timothy Egan

  • Freedom from Fear: The American People in the Depression and War, 1929-1945- David Kennedy

World War II

  • War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War – John Dower

  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin – Erik


  • Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War – William Manchester

  • Unbroken: World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption – Laura Hillenbrand

  • Lost in Shangri-la: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II – Mitchell Zuckoff

Civil Rights

  • Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age – Kevin Boyle

  • Coming of Age in Mississippi – Anne Moody

  • Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America – Beryl Satter

  • Autobiography of Malcolm X – Malcolm X

  • Strength to Love – Martin Luther King

  • Black Power: The Politics of Liberation – Kwame Ture & Charles Hamilton

  • [Science] The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

  • Stories of Scottsboro – James Goodman

Social Movements

  • Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution – David Carter

The Cold War

  • Seeing is Believing: How Hollywood Taught Us to Stop Worrying and Love the Fifties – Peter Biskind

  • The Cold War – John Lewis Gaddis

  • Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State – Gary Wills

  • Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour – David Bianculli

  • Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety – Eric Schlosser


  • A Rumor of War – Philip Caputo

  • Dispatches – Michael Herr

  • If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home – Tim O’Brien

  • Armies of the Night – Norman Mailer


  • All the President’s Men – Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein

  • Time of Illusion: An Historical and Reflective Account of the Nixon Era – Jonathan Schell

The Road to September 11th and the Post-September 11th World

  • 102 Minutes: the Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside The Twin Towers – Jim


  • The Forever War – Dexter Filkins

  • The Good Soldiers – David Finkel

  • Thank You for Your Service – David Finkel

  • War – Sebastian Junger

  • Jarhead – Anthony Swofford

  • The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 – Lawrence Wright

  • The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America – George Packer

  • The Post American World: Release 2.0 – Fareed Zakaria

American Culture/ American Ideas

  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend – Laura Hillenbrand

  • Bob Dylan in America – Sean Wilentz

  • Amusing the Million: Coney Island at the Turn of the Century – John Kasson

  • The Education of Henry Adams – Henry Adams

  • The Metaphysical Club: The Story of Ideas in AmericaLouis Menand


  • Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt – H.W. Brands

  • The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt – Edmund Morris

  • Theodore Rex – Edmund Morris

  • Colonel Roosevelt – Edmund Morris

  • Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times – H.W. Brands

  • The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr- H.W. Brands

  • The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses S. Grant in War and Peace – H.W. Brands

  • Eisenhower in War and Peace – Jean Edward Smith

  • The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power – Robert Caro

  • Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty

– John M. Barry

General History

  • American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 – H.W. Brands

  • The Story of American Freedom – Eric Foner

  • A Pocket History of the United States – Allan Nevins, Henry Steele Commager

  • A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn

  • Thinking the Twentieth Century - Tony Judt

  • The Purpose of the Past: Reflections on the Uses of History – Gordon S. Wood

  • Assassination Vacation – Sarah Vowell

  • Out of Our Past: The Forces the Shaped Modern America – Carl Degler


  • The Johnstown Flood – David McCollough

  • Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America – Eric Jay Dolin

  • In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex (the true story of Moby Dick) – Nathaniel Philbrick

  • The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls- Joan Jacobs Brumberg

  • The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell – Mark Kurlansky

  • The Railway Journey: The Industrialization and Perception of Time and Space

  • A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide – Samantha Power

  • The Victorian Internet – Tom Standage


  • The Crucible- Arthur Miller

  • Thin Red Line – James Jones

  • Looking Backward – Edward Bellamy

  • The Naked and the Dead – Norman Mailer

  • The Yellow Birds – Kevin Powers

  • Babbitt – Sinclair Lewis

  • The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemmingway

  • The Jungle – Upton Sinclair

  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe

  • Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

  • The Long March – William Styron

  • Confessions of Nat Turner – William Styron

  • Johnny Got His Gun – Dalton Trumbo

  • Mother Night – Kurt Vonnegut

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