History in the Making: An Absorbing Look at How American History Has Changed in the Telling over the Last 200 Years [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this “thought-provoking study” (Library Journal), historian Kyle Ward—the widely acclaimed co-author of History Lessons—gives us another fascinating look at the biases inherent in the way we learn about our history. Juxtaposing passages from U.S. history textbooks from different eras, History in the Making provides us with intriguing new perspectives on familiar historical events and the ways in which they have been represented over time.

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History in the Making: An Absorbing Look at How American History Has Changed in the Telling over the Last 200 Years

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Overview

In this “thought-provoking study” (Library Journal), historian Kyle Ward—the widely acclaimed co-author of History Lessons—gives us another fascinating look at the biases inherent in the way we learn about our history. Juxtaposing passages from U.S. history textbooks from different eras, History in the Making provides us with intriguing new perspectives on familiar historical events and the ways in which they have been represented over time.

The hardcover edition of History in the Making struck a chord among readers of popular history, and Ward was featured on NPR’s popular series “How the Understanding of U.S. History Changes.” “Interesting and useful,” according to Booklist, the book “convincingly illustrates how texts change as social and political attitudes evolve.”

With excerpts that span two hundred years, from Columbus’s arrival to the Boston Massacre, from women’s suffrage to Japanese internment, History in the Making exposes the stark contrasts between the lessons different generations have been taught about our past. “A good starting point for anyone interested in history and subjectivity” (Kirkus), this immensely readable book is proof positive that your history is not your grandparent’s history and won’t be your children’s history.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Ward (history & political science, Vincennes Univ.; coauthor, History Lessons: How Textbooks from Around the World Portray American History) presents excerpts from American history textbooks published in the United States between 1794 and 1999, with topics ranging from exploration and colonization to the American Revolution and the Cold War. His short introductions place the excerpts (fully sourced in endnotes) in context. As with his earlier work, which asserted that publicly promoted chronicles shaped students' viewpoints according to a society's standards, this book reveals that the exploration of the past has itself changed over time, along with ideals, values, and emphases. Ward's intention is to get readers to think historiographically, to look for personal or national bias and perspective rather than uniformly accepting everything in print. Although attendance at museums and theme parks indicates that many Americans love their history, the author suggests that more may be learned by realizing that history is the sum of changing and conflicting interpretations. This thought-provoking study is ideal for history buffs and the general public; for public libraries and teachers' college collections.-Frederick J. Augustyn Jr., Library of Congress Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Excerpts from American-history textbooks from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries trace the ways that history has been written and rewritten over time. Insofar as they can be known, the facts of history remain constant, but each generation interprets for itself the meaning of the past, emphasizing or obscuring characters, issues and episodes to reflect the latest twitch in the sociological/political zeitgeist. Ward (History/Vincennes Univ.) here provides excerpts from a range of history textbooks, addressing topics like the American Revolution, Native-American relations, slavery and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (In a chapter titled "Slavery in America," for example, the author excerpts passages from nine textbooks published from 1851 to 1995.) For the most part, he deals with well-known events (the Boston Massacre, the last stand at the Alamo) and characters (Washington, Lincoln). Other subjects-the Caroline Affair, the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, the Espionage Act-will be only dimly recalled by most. The excerpted materials are preceded by some rather thin analysis. Readers in search of a richer perspective on the subject would do better while Peter Charles Hoffer's Past Imperfect (2004). Still, the primary sources Ward provides are a good starting point for anyone interested in history and subjectivity. A handy, often diverting collection.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595585745
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 10/1/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 669,253
  • File size: 406 KB

Meet the Author

Kyle Ward is an assistant professor of history and political science at Vincennes University, a co-author of History Lessons, and the author of In the Shadow of Glory. He lives in Terre Haute, Indiana.
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