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

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  63 ratings  ·  17 reviews
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 hist...more
Paperback, Large Print, 666 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by ReadHowYouWant (first published 2006)
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What does a history professor with way too much time on his hands do? If you're Mr. Ward, you compile a fascinating survey of how the telling of American history has changed over the past two hundred years. For each of 50 historical topics he has culled a half dozen or so excerpts from hundreds of history textbooks that demonstrate how both the general perception and specific interpretation of events has altered. Aside from a brief introduction on each topic and a sentence or two before each exc...more
Jun 04, 2008 Treasure rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history teachers, Nathan W, Aaron W
Recommended to Treasure by: Jennifer R
Shelves: grown-up-books
This one was interesting. Once I got past the introductory matter (very easy to read, considering it's a history book), it was an easy book to skim or pick up and put down frequently.
The premise is a review of key American history moments and how American school text books have changed how they explain them to students. Some events disappear completely (I learned about events and people I never heard of before!), some become much more important, and some change entirely (the view on Native Amer...more
Charles M.
This could have been a most interesting book, but it lacks much depth in describing how the retelling of history in various texts has changed over the years. However, educators in social sciences may find this book helpful, etc.
Aug 21, 2008 Amy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folks interested in history and education.
Recommended to Amy by: Parade Magazine, believe it or not!
This was a cool book. Ward persuasively argues that textbooks are heavily influenced by the context within which they are written. He also illustrates how certain historical events have been dropped from textbooks (and our collective memory) entirely...like The Caroline Affair, The Dakota Conflict, and The Bataan Death March. Never heard of these events? Read the book and find out :)

A look at how history has been taught in textbooks for the past 200 years...right up my alley :)
This very readable book convincingly illustrates how history texts have changed as social and political attitudes evolve. The author sets the scene and explains the context of different tellings of many notable events, such as: Native American relations with the new settlers, Columbus's landing in the New World, Women in the Revolutionary War, African Americans and Reconstruction, McCarthyism, and Nixon in China.
As in Ward's previous offering, History Lessons, it would have been more interesting if he had done more analysis on the reasons for the changing portrayals of his selected events rather than just copy-pasting the excerpts from different periods. It's difficult to justify continuing the read, particularly given everything still on my to-read list, without something more.
Stephanie Nannen
Fascinating collection of excerpts from U.S. textbooks, revealing how they taught 50 key points in American history over centuries or decades, and how the perspective of the teaching changed over those years. This is not an in-depth analysis of any topic...but a primer or overview, used to make the point that the telling of history is always far from "objective."
By no means an in-depth study of how history has been taught in American public schools. It would make a great drinking game for budding historians: every time they spot a difference they do a shot.

Otherwise, it'll be a book I reference when I talk about historiography and maybe pull a few examples from because it's easy.
A little disappointed in that it covers only high school texts, and doesn't get as deep into the historiography as I would have liked. Nor does it provide much in the way of explanation. Each topic consists of three paragraph-length synopses of different public school textbooks.
Perfect case studies for the budding student of Propaganda. History teachers of all grades should read this book -- as a budding teacher myself, I was interested to know how the publishing profession would impact my own work.
sections from history textbooks over the past 200 years grouped by topic. Great for illustrating how the story we tell of American history has changed over time.
There was very little analysis offered by the author. It was mostly just excerpts from different texts throughout the ages, which made it a bit of a dry read.
Bonnie Carruth
Fascinating to see how historical events are written about in different decades.consciously or sub- consciously all writers have agendas.
Trevor Davis
A fantastic bathroom reader! It's great to pick up at any point, read a quick bit of a specific date and put down again.
sometimes you can judge a book by a cover, like when the title explains what it's all about pretty well
Amberly Engert
I spent about eight years at a private school. I would love to get my hands on those old textbooks.
Heather Bradley
Thought-provoking and interesting sociological study of the writing of history.
Erik Anderson
Jul 08, 2011 Erik Anderson is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
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