Exploring American History: From Colonial Times to 1877

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Alphabetized in 10 volumes are 219 articles on American history covering the time span starting from the mid-1550s of the colonial period and continuing through to the late 1870s, the end of the Reconstruction era. The articles cover one of the following five themes: 1) Culture, Society and Economy, 2) Government, Politics, War and Foreign Affairs, 3) Law, Treaties, Cases and Documents, 4) People and 5) Places. Writing the articles are more than 50 experts in the field of American history. Throughout the volumes are numerous, captioned illustrations of paintings, photographs, engravings, maps and documents. For articles that cover a wide span of time, such as the Civil War or the New England Colonies, a chronology highlights the topic's events. Each article, color-coded by theme, starts with a brief summary, has subheadings in bold print and ends with the author and cross-references to other articles in the set. The text is reasonably reader accessible and basically covers the topic. Pages in the set are numbered consecutively from the first to the 11th volume; the 11th volume is a comprehensive index. There are multiple ways to find information in this encyclopedia set about American history. Some young researchers may need instruction to use the features of this encyclopedia in order to locate particular articles related to what they are seeking. In the first volume, all of the articles in the entire set are sorted by the volume and are listed by their titles and page numbers in the set's contents listing. The first volume also has the thematic content listing that categorizes and lists the articles by their themes along with the volume and page number for locating the articles. Eachvolume has its individual content listing of 20 to 23 articles. In each separate volume of the history set is the volume's glossary and index along with resources (internet and print) for further research. Additional readings sorted by the volume's articles are also listed in the back of each volume. Beyond the listings in the individual volumes, the 11th volume in the set provides additional support for locating information. The 11th volume features a comprehensive index, a map index and an index for each of the five themes. This volume is helpful in locating an item that may be a panel that features an interest or topic that is not an individual article. For instance, in the theme of People, there are 92 articles about individual people and some groups listed in the theme content in the first volume. On the other hand, the index of people in the 11th volume lists numerous other individuals and groups that are included within the articles or in a panel. A specific example of this is Susan B. Anthony, who is not featured in an article about her life although her contributions are mentioned in other articles. Anthony is featured in a panel piece that briefly describes her life and contributions in the Suffrage article. The index volume also features a timeline that is divided into decades and looks across the five themes mentioned above. Additional resources such as books, journals and internet sites for further study are listed in the 11th volume and a list of resources, books and websites, designated for younger researchers, is provided. The internet resources also have short descriptions of the site. Another part of the resources is a list of historical sites and museums to visit; each place listed has a brief summary and a website. This set provides basic information and resources for further study for the period of history that it covers. Libraries, schools and classrooms may find the set helpful for general knowledge or reference of the time period covered. Depending on the type of researcher, a digital version of the encyclopedia set that finds the topics of interest may be handy for ease and speed of cross-reference searching. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up -This reader-friendly encyclopedia provides a comprehensive and informative look at the U.S.'s early history. Though the coverage is standard fare-the 219 articles address such material as the Pilgrims, the Salem witch trials, the Alamo, Daniel Boone, and the Civil War-the arrangement, presentation, and accessibility of the material make the set exemplary. The alphabetical volumes are written in a clear, easy-to-read style. Excellent use is made of sidebars and subheadings, as well as primary-source documents. The illustrations, which include engravings, woodcuts, paintings, newspaper caricatures, and black-and-white and color photographs, work beautifully to advance the text. A thematic table of contents is subdivided into "Culture, Society, and Economy"; "Government, Politics, War, and Foreign Affairs"; "Laws, Treaties, Cases, and Documents"; "People"; and "Places," with articles color coded according to these topics. Cross-references are provided at the end of each article. The final volume contains a cumulative time line as well as several more access points, including a comprehensive index and set glossary, a map index, a thematic index that corresponds to the table of contents, and resources for further study. The multivolume format and limited temporal scope of this work sets it apart from more comprehensive single-volume works such as John Mack Faragher's The American Heritage Encyclopedia of American History (Holt, 1998), which covers this period in addition to more recent history.-Robyn Walker, Elgin Court Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761477464
  • Publisher: Cavendish, Marshall Corporation
  • Publication date: 1/28/2008
  • Pages: 1232
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 11.60 (h) x 6.40 (d)

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