Review In A Nutshell:
Title: A History of US: 11-Volume Set
Author: Joy Hakim
Price: US$13.95/each or around $140/series including teachers manual
Overall Rating (1-10): 9
Value (1-10): 10
Flexibility (1-10): 9
Ages/Grades: Ages 8-13
I’ve had so many requests for a review of this series of history books. I was eager to see what all the hubbub was about.
Each book comes bound in hardcover editions that seem sturdy but not too overwhelming (less than 200 pages each). As someone who really does not get into things historical, I was leery at what might be found beneath the cover of each of the 10 books (plus 1 source book) in this series which focus on a different period of time in the history of the United States.
As it turns out, what can be found is both interesting (one might even say entertaining!!) and thought provoking. This isn’t your usual “the winner rights the history” politically correct history book. Instead this book contains lots of insights and encouragement to think about how history *really* was experienced using documents and facts from the ages to draw each reader to his or her own conclusion. This is a refreshing method of teaching and experiencing history.
I was also surprised by how easy the text was to digest. When one thinks of history texts, images of dry and boring retellings full of meaningless facts and geographical references comes to mind all too often. But these books are really written to engage and explore history with your average upper elementary aged child. Even my little ones eagerly listen in and I’ve found my older ones cracking the cover of their own volition. They are impressed by how easy the text is to read compared to other history books we’ve perused.
Another aspect of the books that I loved was the many sketches, portraits and document reprints from the era. This really brings to life the era being studied.
These books are a complete US history curriculum for the later elementary ages. They delve into subjects deeply enough to instill a full understanding of the American heritage – how and what and why our country was founded and built upon. They would easily cover all major historical lessons for all ages, including adults! And they are interesting enough and not “childish” in quality so they appeal to adult and child alike. They are all you will need until you want to delve deeply into certain areas of US history. And for the cost of roughly $14/book, these books are a definite deal and just do not compare in price, quality or substance to textbooks offered in most public elementary or middle schools.
Bottom Line: I absolutely adored this series of books, as have everyone I’ve talked with. They have a level of enjoyment that isn’t often found in a history text but a depth and level of honesty that is almost unheard of. These books are a great value and an exceptional total U.S. History curriculum for all ages and stages, including adults.