Advanced Placement United States History Summer Reading

Students are to select TWO works from the following list and borrow from a library or purchase a copy:

  • Gillon, Steven M. 10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America
  • Goodman, Doris Kearns. The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism
  • Halberstam, David. The Fifties
  • Hofstadter, Richard. The Age of Reform
  • McCullough, David. 1776
  • McCullough, David. Truman
  • Von Drehle, David. Triangle: The Fire that changed America

Check your options for book, eBook, and audiobook offerings:

For each of the two selections, students are to complete a dialectical journal. This is done by taking notes in two columns. In the first column, identify any quotes from the work that have meaning or significance either historically or to you, personally. Also indicate the page number(s). In the right hand column, share your thought, reaction, question, disagreement, or description of why the quote you selected is significant either to American history, to you, or to the author's general argument. A minimum of 50 such quotes and responses are required for each selection and should be chosen from the entirety of the work. Many examples of dialectical journals can be found online. Be sure yours is structured in a two column format.

When you have finished each selection, complete a well-written evaluative essay (for each of your two reading choices) that addresses the following:

1. What was the author's intent in writing the work? If you could sum up the work into a one-sentence thesis argument, how would it be phrased?

2. In what ways has reading this work improved your understanding of American history?

3. Does the author exhibit any biases? Does he/she fail to address any important points or overemphasize certain facts?

4. What questions has this work brought to your mind? What could be further investigated in order to answer those questions?

On the first full day of class (August 18, 2016), you will need to submit your two dialectical journals and reflective essays (100 points each). That same day you will also take a multiple choice quiz based on chapters 2-4 in your textbook, The American Pageant (100 points). See External Link (password: rebels) for instructions on taking book notes over these chapters. These will also be submitted on the first day of class. On August 22 and 23, you will take a 10 item quiz and then complete an in-class writing assignment based on EACH of the two works you read (worth 100 points each). The prompt will be specific to the chosen work and designed to assess both your reading comprehension and ability to identify specific ideas from the work to shape a historical argument. Your dialectical journal will be returned on these days and your selected quotes may be used as evidence to construct your essay. So, it is important to capture main points and ideas in your dialectical journal.