A History of the American People
This plan that has been created to increase the level of history education in the United States sounds good. Both books that have been picked out for discussion are excellent choices that describe the history of the United States. In a reading group type of environment, there can many factors that interest the readers. It can all come down to the font of the text or something as simple as the front cover. Based on what the books have to offer though, my recommendation takes into account both parties, the readers and the teachers (being the NCHE).
The teacher’s side of the party would want to offer text the accurately describes the history of the United States without leaving important facts that have changed the way the United States has formed. The readers would prefer a book with text that draws their attention and keeps it throughout the whole book’s length. I will go into detail about each book that has been chosen and describe what the main point of the context is. I will first begin with Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People. Johnson begins talking about history in the Preface.
Johnson explains how he grew up learning Greek, Roman, and English history. Johnson was never taught about American history while receiving an education, whether it was his family teaching him or Oxford, American history never came up. He began to learn the History of the United States after Oxford. He first began to learn of the history of the United States though his research for his books. He wrote: A History of Christianity, A History of the Jews, Modern Times: the World from the Twenties to the Nineties, and The Birth of the Modern: World Society, 1815-1830. Johnson covers over 400 years of history in his book.
He writes in a manner where he aims to make his writing readable, and wants to present the facts fully. Johnson states in the preface that “Such a fact-filled and lengthy volume as this is bound to contain errors. If readers spot any, I would be grateful if they would write to me at my private address: 29 Newton Road, London W25JR: so that they may be corrected; and if they find any expressions of mine or opinions insupportable, they are welcome to give me their comments so that I may weigh them. ” This shows how Johnson is involved in what he writes and is open to change which is what makes a writer.
Johnson begins his book stating that “The creation of the United States is the greatest of all human adventures. No other national story holds such tremendous lessons, for the American people themselves and for the rest of mankind. ” This statement is coming from a man who first learned the history of the Greeks, Romans, and the English and then the United States history. This is a bold statement to make as the beginning of the book. It can either continue to attract the audience of the book or push them way because it makes it sound as if the entire book will contain pride in the United States and seem bias.
The book is based on three questions that he asks in the first page “First, can a nation rise above the injustices of its origins and, by its moral purpose and performance, atone alone for them… The second question provides the key to the first. In the process of nation-building, can ideals and altruism-the desire to build the perfect community- be mixed successfully with acquisitiveness and ambition, without which no dynamic society can be built at all?… Thirdly, the Americans originally aimed to build an other-worldly ‘City on a Hill,” but themselves designing a republic of the people, to be a model for the entire planet.
Have they made good their audacious claims? Have they indeed proved exemplars for humanity? And will they continue to be so in the new millennium? ” Johnson relates the book to those three questions throughout the book and relates his facts with them. Johnsons ends the book having answered the three questions that he presented in the beginning. “It is appropriate to end this history of the American people on a note of success, because the story of America is essentially one of difficulties being overcome by intelligence and skill, by faith and strength of purpose, by courage and persistence. Johnson finds the Americans are “problem-solving people” which he argues is shown throughout the history of the United States. Johnson ends the book highly supporting Americans and shows his support. There are many supporters of Paul Johnson’s book. “Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People is as majestic in its scope as the country it celebrates. His theme is the men and women, prominent and unknown, whose energy, vision, courage and confidence shaped a great nation. It is a compelling antidote to those who regard the future with pessimism. – Henry A. Kissinger. The New York Times Book Review positively reviewed the book, “Arresting contentions and pieces of fascination oddball information…. The book also offers a rare opportunity to witness someone trying to make sense of all 400 years of American history and to discover what ‘tremendous lessons’ it holds for all Americans and ‘the rest of mankind. ‘” I understand why Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People made it as a finalist to be taught to the group of Americans in order to increase of knowledge of United States history.
The book was even “dedicated to the people of America— strong, outspoken, intense in their convictions, sometimes wrong-headed but always generous and brave, with a passion for justice no nation has ever matched. Now to explain Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. This book begins with attracting the audience with the cover. The color chosen for the letters on the cover include blue and red and white which in the present time represent the United States. The title of Howard Zinn’s book includes three keywords, People, History and United States.
The three keywords are the central topic of what Howard Zinn talks about in A People’s History of the United States. Unlike Johnson, Howard Zinn jumps straight into facts about the beginning of the history of the United States. Johnson started with his main point in the first page but Howard Zinn begins with the history of Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress. Howards Zinn’s main point is found on the title which allows him to begin with the history of the United States versus beginning with a opening statement like Paul Johnson did.
What Howard Zinn does differently than Paul Johnson is his method of summary. Paul Johnson seems to become more involved in his summaries gives more detail and a certain subject matter and overlooking other events. Howard Zinn writes a short summary on his events and talks a little about everything. Howard Zinn gives the history of the United States without sympathizing for those who were negatively affected and does not set out the real loser and winner. ” My point is not to grieve for the victims and denounce the executioners.
Those tears, not anger, cast into the past, deplete our moral energy for the present. And the lines are not always clear. In the long run, the oppressor is also a victim. In the short run (and so far, human history has consisted only of short runs), the victims, themselves desperate and tainted with the culture that oppresses them, turn on other victims. ” Howard Zinn will does not want make it sound as if a certain group won in the past and will not explain the failures which is what historians now call history. Howard Zinn explains this to his readers before continuing on with the book.
He warns the readers of his style of writing and explains that he will not manipulate facts to seem other then they should be. Howard Zinn writes towards the ending of the book on the title. “As for the subtitle of this book, it is not quite accurate; a “people’s history” promises more than any one person can fulfill, and it is the most difficult kind of history to recapture. I call it that anyway because, with all limitations, it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people’s movements of resistance.