Studying U.S. History

Dormant threads from the high school sections are preserved here.
Locked
Diocletian
Lulu
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:22 pm

Studying U.S. History

Post by Diocletian »

What are the best sources for studying U.S. history and/or finding subjects to write tossups about it?
Thomas Littrell
LASA '11
Haverford '15
User avatar
BGSO
Tidus
Posts: 685
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Champaign-Urbana and Arlington heights IL
Contact:

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by BGSO »

Stanford archive/quizbowlpackets.com .Also, your APUSH textbook is about all you need other than old questions.
David Garb-
Buffalo Grove High School '09
UIUC-'13

Former member of the most dysfunctional scholastic bowl team in Illinois.
(11:23:30 PM) garb: Wait, are you talking about the porn or the reeses?
User avatar
JackGlerum
Tidus
Posts: 660
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:20 pm

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by JackGlerum »

As someone who doesn't know a lot of history, I use a SAT II textbook. Though I'd only use that if you are writing for high school.
User avatar
Terrible Shorts Depot
Yuna
Posts: 760
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:05 pm
Contact:

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot »

I like using SAT II books, AP books, my old textbooks, and somewhat more specific works I have. For example, I have a large reference work on the Civil War. The first 2 of those are really only suitable for high school, but my textbook goes a little bit farther. Lots of libraries also have encyclopedias of American History. Those are valuable, but, since they are not available to be checked out, generally, somewhat difficult to use, because I do most of my writing and studying at home.
Charlie Rosenthal
Shady Side Academy '09
Carleton College '13
University of Pennsylvania '18
Stat Boy
Rikku
Posts: 287
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 3:20 pm
Location: Bethesda, MD / Waterville, ME

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by Stat Boy »

I like reading books.
Adam Marshall,
Walt Whitman '08
Colby '12
User avatar
Sonic the Hedgehog and the Fox
Wakka
Posts: 234
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:55 pm
Location: Charleston, SC
Contact:

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by Sonic the Hedgehog and the Fox »

BGSO wrote:Also, your APUSH textbook is about all you need other than old questions.
APUSH is the only reason I know anything that ever happened in America ever. It is the best class for this, so if you can get your hands on The American Pageant, you'll be very well off for US history.
Rafe Haddox
Ex-James Island '09 (you can email me for details, if you'd like)
Tiocfaidh ár lá!
intothenegs
Wakka
Posts: 147
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2007 5:29 pm
Location: James Monroe

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by intothenegs »

Sonic the Hedgehog and the Fox wrote: The American Pageant
This.
Chuhern Hwang
James Monroe High School Class of 2009
University of Virginia Class of 2013
cdcarter
Yuna
Posts: 945
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:06 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Contact:

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by cdcarter »

intothenegs wrote:
Sonic the Hedgehog and the Fox wrote: The American Pageant
This.
...is probably the worst text book for APUSH imaginable.
Christian Carter
Minneapolis South High School '09 | Emerson College '13
PACE Member (retired)
intothenegs
Wakka
Posts: 147
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2007 5:29 pm
Location: James Monroe

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by intothenegs »

cdcarter wrote:
intothenegs wrote:
Sonic the Hedgehog and the Fox wrote: The American Pageant
This.
...is probably the worst text book for APUSH imaginable.
I don't exactly agree. I suppose I can't really judge US history textbooks because I've read very few of them (just this and a bit of stuff by Zinn), but I think it covers US history pretty thoroughly. And it is undoubtedly more useful than a SAT II prep book for US History.
Chuhern Hwang
James Monroe High School Class of 2009
University of Virginia Class of 2013
User avatar
sam.peterson
Lulu
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:05 pm
Location: Chaska, MN

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by sam.peterson »

cdcarter wrote:
intothenegs wrote:
Sonic the Hedgehog and the Fox wrote: The American Pageant
This.
...is probably the worst text book for APUSH imaginable.
I don't think so.... Humorous similes aside, The American Pageant is excellent for getting a basic grasp of the high school US history canon. It's excellent for quizbowl, and was my favorite textbook so far. An AP/SAT review book can teach you a fair number of terms in a short amount of time, but the depth of the knowledge there is fairly week. While The American Pageant is certainly not an exhaustive reference, I've been able to get a lot of early buzzes because of knowledge gained from that book.
Sam Peterson
Harvard College '13
Chaska High School '09
User avatar
dtaylor4
Auron
Posts: 3733
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:43 am

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by dtaylor4 »

sam.peterson wrote:I don't think so.... Humorous similes aside, The American Pageant is excellent for getting a basic grasp of the high school US history canon. It's excellent for quizbowl, and was my favorite textbook so far. An AP/SAT review book can teach you a fair number of terms in a short amount of time, but the depth of the knowledge there is fairly week. While The American Pageant is certainly not an exhaustive reference, I've been able to get a lot of early buzzes because of knowledge gained from that book.
I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. When I took APUSH, we used American Pageant, and I learned a lot, both for the test and for quizbowl.
User avatar
Terrible Shorts Depot
Yuna
Posts: 760
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:05 pm
Contact:

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot »

Textbooks tend to have just masses of useless stuff in them, while review books tend to be more stripped down. Maybe this is just a personal preference, but I really don't need to know what life was like in Miami in the 1990s (The Enduring Vision taught me all about that). I'm just not a big fan of history textbooks in general. Also, Adam is completely right. If you read a lot of books, you'll get exponentially more questions than if you just use textbooks.
Charlie Rosenthal
Shady Side Academy '09
Carleton College '13
University of Pennsylvania '18
cdcarter
Yuna
Posts: 945
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:06 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Contact:

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by cdcarter »

sam.peterson wrote:
cdcarter wrote:
intothenegs wrote:
Sonic the Hedgehog and the Fox wrote: The American Pageant
This.
...is probably the worst text book for APUSH imaginable.
I don't think so.... Humorous similes aside, The American Pageant is excellent for getting a basic grasp of the high school US history canon. It's excellent for quizbowl, and was my favorite textbook so far. An AP/SAT review book can teach you a fair number of terms in a short amount of time, but the depth of the knowledge there is fairly week. While The American Pageant is certainly not an exhaustive reference, I've been able to get a lot of early buzzes because of knowledge gained from that book.
I am not saying that the American Pageant doesn't have more information about US history in it than a prep book, or that you can't learn from it, I am saying that, of the textbooks out there that are marketed for APUSH, the American Pageant is one of the worst.
Christian Carter
Minneapolis South High School '09 | Emerson College '13
PACE Member (retired)
User avatar
setht
Auron
Posts: 1192
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:41 pm
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by setht »

Diocletian wrote:What are the best sources for studying U.S. history and/or finding subjects to write tossups about it?
Johnny Horton songs and 19th-century quicksteps.
Seth Teitler
Formerly UC Berkeley and U. Chicago
President of NAQT
Emeritus member of ACF
User avatar
Ondes Martenot
Tidus
Posts: 688
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:06 pm
Location: Troy, N.Y.

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by Ondes Martenot »

If you read a lot of books, you'll get exponentially more questions than if you just use textbooks.
Read 1776 and other really good books by David McCullough. Reading AP books sounds extremely boring. Find topics you think are interesting/you want to improve in and write questions
Aaron Cohen, Bergen County Academies '08, RPI '12, NYU-???, NAQT writer, HSAPQ writer, PACE writer
User avatar
OctagonJoe
Tidus
Posts: 703
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 1:51 am
Location: Zenith, Winnemac

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by OctagonJoe »

The books by Jeff and Michael Shaara have helped me considerably in getting questions on John Dickinson and the Civil War, so I would recommend them for getting a good feel of whatever time period. I wouldn't recommend writing questions on them or out of them, though.
Carsten Gehring
Wayzata HS '08 | Carleton College '12 | Denver Publishing Institute '12
Member of ACF
User avatar
Terrible Shorts Depot
Yuna
Posts: 760
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:05 pm
Contact:

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot »

David McCullough is really good. I'm not just saying that because he graduated from my school. Otherwise, that massive 3 part Shelby Foote Civil War series is pretty good. I can't say I've actually made it through all of the books, but I read about half of the first one, and it was very helpful.
Charlie Rosenthal
Shady Side Academy '09
Carleton College '13
University of Pennsylvania '18
Kanga-Rat Murder Society
Wakka
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:52 pm
Location: NW Suburbia, IL

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by Kanga-Rat Murder Society »

la2pgh wrote:David McCullough is really good. I'm not just saying that because he graduated from my school. Otherwise, that massive 3 part Shelby Foote Civil War series is pretty good. I can't say I've actually made it through all of the books, but I read about half of the first one, and it was very helpful.
David McCullough is a great author and historian, but is probably not a very good way to study for quizbowl. The best way to learn for quizbowl would be through APUSH. Our school has a great APUSH program (we average about 4.5 with 100 students taking it), and I believe that 95% of toss-ups on U.S. History were covered in our class. If you take good notes while taking the class, you should never read an actual textbook to study U.S. History for quizbowl.
Nicholas Bergeon
Buffalo Grove High School '09
UW-Madison '12
WUSTL Law'15
User avatar
Terrible Shorts Depot
Yuna
Posts: 760
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:05 pm
Contact:

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot »

If you want to be a sick history player, you won't get what you need from high school courses. You'll have to do extensive outside reading. McCullough is good for that.

If you have no base of US history knowledge, then taking APs or SAT IIs, or just reading their books is helpful. If you have a strong base, then you'll have to find deeper, more specific resources. For example, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is one of the finest resources for anything American Indian. It is a fantastic book, too. I find that good historical fiction is useful. It is, however, necessary to take everything in those books with a grain of salt, because the line between fiction and fact is often blurry.
Charlie Rosenthal
Shady Side Academy '09
Carleton College '13
University of Pennsylvania '18
User avatar
Skepticism and Animal Feed
Auron
Posts: 3209
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

I'm not familiar with any of the high school textbooks being mentioned in this thread, but I would be suspicious of any modern textbook as a source for learning quizbowl history. Modern history as taught in schools tends to focus on social history, while quizbowl history is much more about dead white guys, political history, and battles.

I would recommend going to a used book store and finding older books about US History (from before the 60's, preferably). These will be in the "great man" style that I think is most useful for quizbowl.

I also specifically recommend this book. Reading it in the summer between my junior and senior years of high school is what sparked my love affair with 19th century American history.
Bruce
Harvard '10 / UChicago '07 / Roycemore School '04
ACF Member emeritus
My guide to using Wikipedia as a question source
User avatar
BuzzerZen
Auron
Posts: 1517
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2004 11:01 pm
Location: Arlington, VA/Hampshire College
Contact:

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by BuzzerZen »

Whig's Boson wrote:I'm not familiar with any of the high school textbooks being mentioned in this thread, but I would be suspicious of any modern textbook as a source for learning quizbowl history. Modern history as taught in schools tends to focus on social history, while quizbowl history is much more about dead white guys, political history, and battles.

I would recommend going to a used book store and finding older books about US History (from before the 60's, preferably). These will be in the "great man" style that I think is most useful for quizbowl.
Impressionable young folks should note that Bruce's opinions about history in quiz bowl, while influential, are not universal.
Evan Silberman
Hampshire College 07F

How are you actually reading one of my posts?
harpersferry
Wakka
Posts: 154
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2005 8:40 pm
Contact:

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by harpersferry »

Lies My Teacher Told Me wrote:The American Pageant characterizes [John] Brown as "degranged," gaunt," "grim," "terrible," "crackbrained," "probably of unsound mind," and says that "thirteen of his near relatives were rearded as insane, including his mother and grandmother.
The American Pageant wrote: "a man of vision, energy, resourcefulness, and courage


They're talking about Columbus, the guy who exterminated natives and took hundreds of slaves.

Just sayin'
John Brown
Rockford Auburn '08
Indiana University '12
dbarman
Wakka
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:45 pm
Location: Dunbar High Lexington KY

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by dbarman »

American Pageant doesn't go into too much details in it's treatment of subjects. However, it does give a good overview of US History. So I would say it's a good starting point though to be a good history player, you need to read stuff that focuses on certain people or time periods
Ping @Dunbar
User avatar
Terrible Shorts Depot
Yuna
Posts: 760
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:05 pm
Contact:

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot »

Irving Alva Edison Hobophone Inventor wrote:
The American Pageant wrote: "a man of vision, energy, resourcefulness, and courage


They're talking about Columbus, the guy who exterminated natives and took hundreds of slaves.

Just sayin'
I don't see how this is objectionable. None of those adjectives are fallacious. Columbus was, if nothing else, brave and resourceful. If they included an adjective like "tolerant" or something to that effect, then, and only then, would this description be worthy of criticism.

EDIT: i can has adjectives?
Last edited by Terrible Shorts Depot on Fri Nov 28, 2008 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Charlie Rosenthal
Shady Side Academy '09
Carleton College '13
University of Pennsylvania '18
User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

la2pgh wrote:
Irving Alva Edison Hobophone Inventor wrote:
The American Pageant wrote: "a man of vision, energy, resourcefulness, and courage


They're talking about Columbus, the guy who exterminated natives and took hundreds of slaves.

Just sayin'
I don't see how this is objectionable. None of those adjectives are fallacious. Columbus was, if nothing else, brave and resourceful. If they included an adjective like "tolerance" or something to that effect, then, and only then, would this description be worthy of criticism.
Charlie Rosenthal: the Ollivander of US History.

Terrible things... but great.

Lord, my mind must be shutting down. Instead of insight I give the world Harry Potter.
Andrew Watkins
User avatar
Down and out in Quintana Roo
Auron
Posts: 2907
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:25 am
Location: Camden, DE
Contact:

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

la2pgh wrote:If they included an adjective like "tolerance" or something to that effect, then, and only then, would this description be worthy of criticism.
Well considering that "tolerance" is not an adjective... eh, nevermind.
Mr. Andrew Chrzanowski
Caesar Rodney High School
Camden, Delaware
CRHS '97-'01
University of Delaware '01-'05
CRHS quizbowl coach '06-'12
http://crquizbowl.edublogs.org
User avatar
Sonic the Hedgehog and the Fox
Wakka
Posts: 234
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:55 pm
Location: Charleston, SC
Contact:

Re: Studying U.S. History

Post by Sonic the Hedgehog and the Fox »

cdcarter wrote:I am not saying that the American Pageant doesn't have more information about US history in it than a prep book, or that you can't learn from it, I am saying that, of the textbooks out there that are marketed for APUSH, the American Pageant is one of the worst.
I only put it forward because I thought it was an alright book, and it was, of course, the book we used. Between that, my local PBS station, Oregon Trail, and the long rants of the elders of my family, I learned both for the exam and for quizbowl.

All things considered: Oregon Trail is the best resource for US History.
Rafe Haddox
Ex-James Island '09 (you can email me for details, if you'd like)
Tiocfaidh ár lá!
Locked