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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Review: The American Promise: A History of the United States (Value Edition), Vol. II


The American Promise: A History of the United States (Value Edition), Vol. IIThe American Promise: A History of the United States (Value Edition), Vol. II by James L. Roark

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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With the 2012 Presidential Elections looming around the corner, I find it very helpful to know the historical context of some of the issues driving the U.S. today. American Promise, Vol. II does not disappoint in this regard. Surveying U.S. history from the Reconstruction to the end of the 2nd Bush administration, this textbook touches on the major themes and events of the last 150 years. Although this “Value Edition” (read: paperback, black & white photos, etc) does not go in depth on some of the particulars or nuances of the various eras covered within, the information that Mr. Roark et al share with the undergrad student is sufficient to whet the appetite for extracurricular edification. I definitely recommend that the reader take notes on anything that pique their interest and read up on it on their own. This book really only gives background information and history, real history, is too complex and dynamic to cover in 600 pages.

The only thing negative—if you even want to call it “negative”—that I could say about this college textbook is that it ends at the beginning of 2007 and only hints on W’s plan for the 2007/2008 troop surge. It does not cover the Great Recession or the 2008 elections or anything else that has happened since. I am left to wonder if the authors’ analysis of the last decade or three would be different than what is in this book. Otherwise this is a great and quick educational read.