A Critique of the APUSH Textbook

America: A Narrative History tells the story of a group of rich, white, male landowners who are slowly forced, kicking and screaming, to let other people live decent lives. George Tindall and David Shi excel especially in creating vivid fictional characters that leave a strong lasting impression in the reader’s mind, from T.J’s ruddy red hair to Ted Roosevelt, the “cool Harvard dude.”  For a piece of historical fiction, however, the novel is often very suspect in its historical accuracy, failing to give proper attention to prominent figures like Nicholas “The Little Magician” Biddle and acknowledge important issues like Walt Whitman’s relationship with Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. The heart of America: A Narrative History, however centers around key questions presented to the reader with no clear answer. Agrarian Republic, or Industrial Superpower? Conservative Landowners, or Radical Revolutionaries? Arm of Empire, or Beacon of Hope? Robber Barons, or Captains of Industry? Unfortunately, most readers will find that despite the complexity and depth of these issues, they don’t really care.

Final Rating: 1 out of 5, because (Spoiler Alert) Henry Clay never becomes president.

Similar Reading: College Physics by Knight, Jones, and Field