"A people's literature is the great textbook
for real knowledge of them...."
THE FOLLOWING OUTSIDE READING LIST IS FOR
U.S. HISTORY STUDENTS
AND SUPPORTS THE STANDARDS:
McDougal Littell/Houghton Mifflin Company, "Important Works of Literature, Art, and Culture"
REF 028.5 EST -- Reading Lists for College-Bound Students
REF 028.5 LEW -- Outstanding Books for the College Bound
American Library Association (ALA), Outstanding Books for the College Bound
California Department of Education Recommended Literature for Grades 9-12
Choose a book that is right for you! Call numbers are provided to make it easier to locate these books in the OHS Library:
11.1 Students will analyze the significant events in the founding of the nation and its attempts to realize the philosophy of government described in the Declaration of Independence.
Amistad by Walter Dean Myers, 326 MYE
This is a dramatic factual account of the capture in West Africa, the hellish journey aboard the slave ship on the Middle Passage, the sale in Cuba, the mutiny led by Sengbe on the Amistad as it sailed from Cuba, the forced landing in Connecticut, the subsequent court trials in the U.S., and the final struggle to return home. The design is clear and readable, with spacious type, historic photographs and prints, a time line, a map showing the voyages of the captives, and a bibliography. Myers includes considerable detail drawn from primary reports but no source notes. The narrative is exciting, not only the account of the uprising but also the tension of the court arguments about whether the captives were property and what their rights were in a country that banned the slave trade but allowed slavery. Myers distinguishes among the various captives, quoting the children and the adults, as well as their great leader, Sengbe, who wanted to get home.
Common Sense by Thomas Paine, 973.3 PAI
Read the pamphlet that helped to spark off the movement that established the independence of the United States. From his experience of revolutionary politics, Paine drew those principles of fundamental human rights which, he felt, must stand no matter what excesses are committed to obtain them, and which he later formulated in his "Rights of Man".
Copley, John Singleton, painted portraits in the 1750s-1780s, including Paul Revere, John Hancock, and many other patriots.
The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara, FIC SHA
This novel reveals more about the Battle of Gettysburg than any piece of learned nonfiction on the same subject. Michael Shaara's account of the three most important days of the Civil War features deft characterizations of all of the main actors, including Lee, Longstreet, Pickett, Buford, and Hancock. The most inspiring figure in the book, however, is Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, whose 20th Maine regiment of volunteers held the Union's left flank on the second day of the battle. This unit's bravery at Little Round Top helped turned the tide of the war against the rebels. There are also plenty of maps, which convey a complete sense of what happened July 1-3, 1863. Reading about the past is rarely so much fun as on these pages.
1776 by David McCullough,
Esteemed historian David McCullough covers the military side of the momentous year of 1776 with characteristic insight and a gripping narrative, adding new scholarship and a fresh perspective to the beginning of the American Revolution. It was a turbulent and confusing time. As British and American politicians struggled to reach a compromise, events on the ground escalated until war was inevitable. McCullough writes vividly about the dismal conditions that troops on both sides had to endure, including an unusually harsh winter, and the role that luck and the whims of the weather played in helping the colonial forces hold off the world's greatest army. He also effectively explores the importance of motivation and troop morale--a tie was as good as a win to the Americans, while anything short of overwhelming victory was disheartening to the British, who expected a swift end to the war. The redcoat retreat from Boston, for example, was particularly humiliating for the British, while the minor American victory at Trenton was magnified despite its limited strategic importance. Some of the strongest passages in 1776 are the revealing and well-rounded portraits of the Georges on both sides of the Atlantic. King George III, so often portrayed as a bumbling, arrogant fool, is given a more thoughtful treatment by McCullough, who shows that the king considered the colonists to be petulant subjects without legitimate grievances--an attitude that led him to underestimate the will and capabilities of the Americans. At times he seems shocked that war was even necessary. The great Washington lives up to his considerable reputation in these pages, and McCullough relies on private correspondence to balance the man and the myth, revealing how deeply concerned Washington was about the Americans' chances for victory, despite his public optimism. Perhaps more than any other man, he realized how fortunate they were to merely survive the year, and he willingly lays the responsibility for their good fortune in the hands of God rather than his own. Enthralling and superbly written, 1776 is the work of a master historian.
Trumbell, John, painted The Declaration of Independence in 1794 and other paintings dramatizing the Revolutionary War.
Unchained Memories: Readings From Slave
Narratives, 326 GAT
This book is based on a collection of first-person slave accounts gathered in the late 1930s by interviewers working for the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration. With a foreword by esteemed black-studies scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., this new selection culled from that vast compilation of testimonies brings to contemporary readers an "unequaled portrayal of the slave era" and puts a "human face" on the whole deplorable institution. The narratives themselves, set down in the dialect in which they were spoken, are brief but piquant and sometimes reveal faint glimmers of light in an otherwise dreary if not dangerous existence. The narratives are accompanied by photographs of interviewees taken at the time of the interviews.
Phillis, published her poems in 1773
(1) Do a subject search in the card catalog for American poetry and look in the indexes for her last name
(2) Do a subject search for African American literature and look in the indexes of poetry anthologies for her last name
11.2 Students analyze the relationship among the rise of industrialization, large-scale rural-to-urban migration, and massive immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe.
Destination America: The People and Cultures That
Created a Nation, 973.04 WIL
This book explores the historical issues that pushed or pulled people from other lands to America to create a new people and culture. Proceeding chronologically through U.S. history, the book highlights the introduction of different ethnicities: the first Americans, believed to have migrated from Europe or Asia across a "land bridge" in what is now the Bering Strait; European explorers, including, of course, Christopher Columbus; the slave trade; and European immigrants from the early 1800s through the 1900s. Wills details the conflicts as groups from other nations arrived, with emphasis on "Americanizing" immigrants, and the fabled role of Ellis Island in the immigrant story, as well as anti-immigration policies of the early 1900s. Separate chapters explore the appeal of the U.S. to immigrants: the freedom to worship and to create and freedom from oppression, want, and fear. Ample photographs and profiles of individual immigrants combine with the narrative to provide a lively and human look at how the nation has attracted a polyglot of people to create Americans.
The Jungle, Upton
Sinclair, FIC SIN
Upton Sinclairís muckraking masterpiece The Jungle centers on Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant working in Chicagoís infamous Packingtown. Instead of finding the American Dream, Rudkus and his family inhabit a brutal, soul-crushing urban jungle dominated by greedy bosses, pitiless con-men, and corrupt politicians. While Sinclairís main target was the industryís appalling labor conditions, the reading public was most outraged by the disgusting filth and contamination in American food that his novel exposed. As a result, President Theodore Roosevelt demanded an official investigation, which quickly led to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug laws. For a work of fiction to have such an impact outside its literary context is extremely rare. (At the time of The Jungleís publication in 1906, the only novel to have led to social change on a similar scale in America was Uncle Tomís Cabin.) Today, The Jungle remains a relevant portrait of capitalism at its worst and an impassioned account of the human spirit facing nearly insurmountable challenges.
The Sketch Book,
Washington Irving, FIC IRV
This short story collection concerns Irving's impressions of English landscape and customs and six chapters deal with American subjects. This book marked the beginning of short story in America. Of these The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (on the OHS English 1 recommended reading list) and Rip Van Winkle are the most famous.
11.3 Students analyze the role religion played in the founding of America, its lasting moral, social, and political impacts, and issues regarding religious liberty.
Essays and Lectures,
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 814 EME
Contains an annotated edition of American writer and thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson's 1832-60 prose works including "Nature, Addresses, and Lectures," "Essays: First Series," "Essays: Second Series," "Representative Men," "English Traits," and "The Conduct of Life."
The Scarlet Letter,
Nathaniel Hawthorne, FIC HAW
Set in Puritan New England, the main character is Hester Prynne, a young woman who has borne an illegitimate child. It is considered a masterpiece of American literature and a classic moral study.
Moby Dick, or, The White Whale,
Herman Melville, FIC MEL
Moby Dick, the great white whale, is pursued by the monomaniacal Captain Ahab, whose ivory leg is testimony to their previous encounter. The crew of Ahab's ship, the Pequod, is composed of a mixture of races and religions, including the God-fearing mate Starbuck; three primitive harpooners; the Black cabin boy; and the fire-worshipping Parsee.
Uncle Tom's Cabin, or, Life among the lowly,
Harriet Beecher Stowe, FIC STO
This is a book that changed history. Harriet Beecher Stowe was appalled by slavery, and she took one of the few options open to nineteenth century women who wanted to affect public opinion: she wrote a novel, a huge, enthralling narrative that claimed the heart, soul, and politics of pre-Civil War Americans. It is unabashed propaganda and overtly moralistic, an attempt to make whites - North and South - see slaves as mothers, fathers, and people with (Christian) souls. In a time when women might see the majority of their children die, Harriet Beecher Stowe portrays beautiful Eliza fleeing slavery to protect her son. In a time when many whites claimed slavery had "good effects" on blacks, Uncle Tom's Cabin paints pictures of three plantations, each worse than the other, where even the best plantation leaves a slave at the mercy of fate or debt. By twentieth-century standards, her propaganda verges on melodrama, and it is clear that even while arguing for the abolition of slavery she did not rise above her own racism. Yet her questions remain penetrating even today: "Is man ever a creature to be trusted with wholly irresponsible power?"
Walden, or Life in the Woods and Civil Disobedience,
Henry David Thoreau, 818.309 THO
In August 1854, Houghton Mifflin"s predecessor, Ticknor & Fields, published a book called Walden; or, Life in the Woods, by a little-known writer named Henry Thoreau. At the time the book was largely ignored, but it has gone on to become one of the most widely read and influential works ever published, not only in this country but throughout the world. Enjoy this record written by an individualist and a lover of nature; Thoreau describes his Robinson Crusoe existence, bare of creature comforts but rich in contemplation of the wonders of the natural world and the ways of man.
11.4 Students trace the rise of the United States to its role as a world power in the twentieth century.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,
Mark Twain, FIC TWA
Huck's adventures on a raft on the Mississippi River begin with his escape from his drunken, brutal father. Huck meets up with Jim, a runaway slave, and what follows is their story downstream and occasional encounters with town life along the banks of the river. The novel is also a penetrating social commentary that reveals corruption, moral decay, and intellectual impoverishment. Through Jim, Huck learns about the dignity and worth of human life.
The American Reader: Words That Moved a Nation,
Diane Ravitch, 973 AME
"The American Reader is a splendid collection of the words and sentiments that have shaped our nation." It is a stirring and memorable anthology that captures the many facets of American culture and history in prose and verse. The 200 poems, speeches, songs, essays, letters, and documents were chosen both for their readability and for their significance. These are the words that have inspired, enraged, delighted, chastened, and comforted Americans in days gone by. Gathered here are the writings that illuminate -- with wit, eloquence, and sometimes sharp words -- significant aspects of national consciousness. They reflect the part that all Americans -- black and white, native born and immigrant, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American, poor and wealthy -- have played in creating the nation's character.
Brady, Matthew, photos from 1861-1865 of battlefields bring home the brutal reality of war
Dickinson, Emily, recluse and poet with an inventive style
(1) Do a subject search in the card catalog for American poetry and look in the indexes for her last name
(2) Type in her last name, first name and click on author in the electronic card catalog
Ethical Dilemmas in U.S History: 1877 to the
present, Alan L. Lockwood and David E. Harris, PL 973 LOW
This book introduces numerous Americans throughout history who were faced with ethical dilemmas and shows how their decisions radically altered their own lives and often history itself. Each episode focuses on a characteristic problem of a particular era, followed by review questions which help students clarify the historical context, distinguish between facts and values, and express their own reasoned judgments about the issues raised.
Eyewitness to America: 500 Years of America in
the Words of Those Who Saw It Happen, David
Colbert, 973 COL
David Colbert has brought together a rich assembly of voices, offering first-hand accounts of American history spanning almost exactly 500 years, from Christopher Columbus' first encounter with Taino tribesmen in 1492 to the final public display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at the Washington Mall. At that same mall, in 1963, James Reston and Malcolm X came away with two radically different views of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. For Reston, "Dr. King touched all the themes of the day, only better than anybody else," while Malcolm referred to the entire March on Washington as "another form of the weakening, lulling, and deluding effects of so-called 'integration.'" Within these pages, you will read H.L. Mencken on the Scopes trial, Hunter S. Thompson at Super Bowl VIII, Black Elk's perspective of the Massacre of Wounded Knee, and journal entries from a member of the Donner Party, among many other stories. They are by turns heartbreaking, chilling, mirthful, and exhilarating--and all will remind you that the story of the United States is born in the stories of all its people, famous and "ordinary" alike.
Homer, Winslow, paintings of the 1860s to 1890s helped shift American art towards realism
Leaves of Grass, Walt
Whitman, 811.3 WHI
Abraham Lincoln read it with approval, but Emily Dickinson described its bold language and themes as "disgraceful." Ralph Waldo Emerson found it "the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet produced." Published at the author's expense on July 4, 1855, Leaves of Grass inaugurated a new voice and style into American letters and gave expression to an optimistic, bombastic vision that took the nation as its subject. One of the great innovative figures in American letters, Walt Whitman created a daringly new kind of poetry that became a major force in world literature. Leaves Of Grass is his one book. First published in 1855 with only twelve poems, it was greeted by Ralph Waldo Emerson as "the wonderful gift . . . the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed." Over the course of Whitman's life, the book reappeared in many versions, expanded and transformed as the author's experiences and the nation's history changed and grew. Whitman's ambition was to creates something uniquely American. In that he succeeded. His poems have been woven into the very fabric of the American character. From his solemn masterpieces "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" and "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" to the joyous freedom of "Song of Myself," "I Sing the Body Electric," and "Song of the Open Road," Whitman's work lives on, an inspiration to the poets of later generations.
Voices of a People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove, (on order)
From slave petitions to the words of Michael Moore and Kurt Vonnegut, Zinn presents 200 selections. Grouped into 24 thematic and chronological chapters, selections are fully sourced and include short introductions. Sample chapters include: "Strikers and the Populists of the Gilded Age" and "Bush II and the 'War on Terror.'"
11.5 Students analyze the major political, social, economic, technological, and cultural developments of the 1920s.
An American Tragedy,
Theodore Dreiser, FIC DRE
This Theodore Dreiser's novel published in 1925 is nothing less than what it purports to be -- the harrowing story of a weak-willed young man who destroys himself, a villain who is also victim of the values of a deceptive, materialistic society. Dreiser patterned the story of Clyde Griffiths on a real-life murder that took place in 1906, a charming young social climber who killed his pregnant young girlfriend in order to romance a rich girl who had begun to notice him. A powerful murder story, An American Tragedy is much more than that. For Dreiser pours his own dark yearnings into the character of Clyde Griffiths, while grimly charting the young man's pitiful rise and fall as he pursues empty ambitions to wealth, power and satisfaction.
The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, Langston
Hughes, 811.08 HUG
A collection of 868 poems by the writer who has been called the poet laureate of African America.
A Farewell to Arms,
Ernest Hemingway, FIC HEM
An unforgettable story of love and war on the Italian front during World War I. The love between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barley glows with intensity unrivaled in modern literature.
Robert, New England poet who received four Pulitzer Prizes
(1) Do a subject search in the card catalog for American poetry and look in the indexes for his last name
(2) Type in his last name, first name and click on author in the electronic card catalog
The Gilded Age, Janette
Thomas Greenwood, 973.8 GRE
The gap between the rich and poor, new immigrants and native-born citizens, and big industry and struggling laborers is revealed through primary sources and commentary. Specific topics include industry, immigration, labor, urban life, Jacob Riis, the new South, the West, Farmers' Revolt, the empire of the United States, and sport.
The Great Gatsby, F.
Scott Fitzgerald, FIC FIT
Here is the story of fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. It is a brilliant dramatization of the 1920's--the social and economic corruptions of the jazz age, Prohibition, gangterism, blase flappers and uprootedness.
O'Keefe, Georgia, paintings of the 1920s to 1960s, famous for illustrating American Southwest in abstract style
Sister Carrie, Theodore
Dreiser, FIC DRE
Sister Carrie tells the story of a rudderless but pretty small-town girl who comes to the big city filled with vague ambitions. She is used by men and uses them in turn to become a successful Broadway actress, while George Hurstwood, the married man who has run away with her, loses his grip on life and descends into beggary and suicide. Sister Carrie was the first masterpiece of the American naturalistic movement in its grittily factual presentation of the vagaries of urban life and in its ingenuous heroine, who goes unpunished for her transgressions against conventional sexual morality. The book's strengths include a brooding but compassionate view of humanity, a memorable cast of characters, and a compelling narrative storyline.
Six Days In October: the Stock Market Crash of 1929,
Karen Blumenthal, 332.64 BLU
A comprehensive review of the events, personalities, and mistakes behind the Stock Market Crash of 1929, featuring photographs, newspaper articles, and cartoons of the day.
The Sound and the Fury,
William Faulkner, FIC FAU
The subject of The Sound and the Fury is how the Compson family is falling apart. They are one of those august old Mississippi families that fell on hard times and wild eccentricity after the Civil War. But in fact what William Faulkner is really after in his legendary novel is the kaleidoscope of consciousness--the overwrought mind caught in the act of thought. His rich, dark, scandal-ridden story of squandered fortune, madness, congenital brain damage, theft, illegitimacy, and stoic endurance is told in the interior voices of three Compson brothers: first Benjy, the "idiot" man-child who blurs together three decades of sensations as he stalks the fringes of the family's former pasture; next Quentin, torturing himself brilliantly, obsessively over Caddy's lost virginity and his own failure to recover the family's honor as he wanders around the seedy fringes of Boston; and finally Jason, heartless, shrewd, sneaking, nursing a perpetual sense of injury and outrage against his outrageous family.
The Sun Also Rises,
Ernest Hemingway, FIC HEM
The story of a group of American and English patriots living in Paris and their excursion to Pampalona. It captures the angst of the post-World War I generation, known as the Lost Generation, and centers around the flamboyant Lady Brett Ashley and the hapless Jake Barnes. In an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love and vanishing illusions, this is the Lost Generation.
"The Waste Land," T.S. Eliot, an epic poem of modernism
11.6 Students analyze the different explanations for the Great Depression and how the New Deal fundamentally changed the role of the federal government.
The Depression and the New Deal, Robert S.
McElvaine, 973.917 MCE
This collections of visual and textual primary sources include: letters, poetry, political cartoons, fiction, photographs, songs, articles from periodicals, murals and posters, an excerpt from The Grapes of Wrath, and selections from Eleanor Roosevelt's "My Day" column.
Douglas, Aaron, paintings of the 1930s, Harlem Renaissance, African Americans in daily life and themes from African art
Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: the
Great Depression, William Dudley, ed., 973.917 DUD
Political cartoons are drawings that do what editorials do with words--express an opinion about a newsworthy event or person. Learn about the Great Depression through informative articles and the political cartoons of that time. Notable cartoonists from the past like Edmund Duffy, Rollin Kirby, and Clifford Berryman offer their views on Hoover, FDR, business versus labor, and the struggle of ordinary people just to get through hard times.
The Grapes of Wrath, John
Steinbeck, FIC STE
Driven from their Oklahoma farm by the encroachment of large agricultural interests, the Joad family sets out, like generations before them, to the promised land of California. As they travel across the country, joined by countless other unwilling migrants, the Joads confront the naked realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-nots.
Hopper, Edward, "Nighthawks," 1942, painting of a diner which displays isolation of modern American life
Native Son, Richard
Wright, FIC WRI
Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright's powerful novel deals with the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and what it means to be black in America. Right from the start, Bigger Thomas was headed for jail. He killed his first young victim in a movement of panic and found himself caught up in forces outside his control.
Pollock, Jackson, paintings of the 1930s to 1050s, abstract art influences
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston,
One of the most important works of twentieth-century American literature, Zora Neale Hurston's beloved 1937 classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is an enduring Southern love story sparkling with wit, beauty, and heartfelt wisdom. Told in the captivating voice of a woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, it is the story of fair-skinned, fiercely independent Janie Crawford, and her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, trials, and purpose. A true literary wonder, Hurston's masterwork remains as relevant and affecting today as when it was first published -- perhaps the most widely read and highly regarded novel in the entire canon of African American literature.
11.7 Students analyze America's participation in World War II.
Band of Brothers, Stephen
E. Ambrose, FIC AMB
As grippingly as any novelist, preeminent World War II historian Stephen Ambrose tells the horrifying, hallucinatory saga of Easy Company, whose 147 members he calls the nonpareil combat paratroopers on earth circa 1941-45. Ambrose takes us along on Easy Company's trip from grueling basic training to Utah Beach on D-day, where a dozen of them turned German cannons into dynamited ruins resembling "half-peeled bananas," on to the Battle of the Bulge, the liberation of part of the Dachau concentration camp, and a large party at Hitler's "Eagle's Nest," where they drank the madman's (surprisingly inferior) champagne. Of Ambrose's main sources, three soldiers became rich civilians; at least eight became teachers; one became Albert Speer's jailer; one prosecuted Bobby Kennedy's assassin; another became a mountain recluse; the despised, sadistic C.O. who first trained Easy Company (and to whose strictness many soldiers attributed their survival of the war) wound up a suicidal loner whose own sons skipped his funeral. The Easy Company survivors describe the hell and confusion of any war.
Flags of Our Fathers:
Heroes of Iwo Jima, James Bradley and Ron Powers, 940.54 BRA
Say "Iwo Jima," and what comes to mind? Most likely a famous photograph from 1945: six tired, helmeted Marines, fresh from a long, terrifying and bloody battle, work together to raise the American flag on Mount Suribachi. Bradley's father, John, was one of the six. In this voluminous and memorable work of popular history mixed with memoir, Bradley and Powers (White Town Drowsing) reconstruct those Marines' experiences, and those of their Pacific Theater comrades. The authors begin with the six soldiers' childhoods. Soon enough, bombs have fallen on Pearl Harbor, and by May '43 the young men have become proud leathernecks. Bradley and Powers incorporate accounts of specific battles, like "Hellzapoppin Ridge" (Bougainville, December '43), and pull in corps life and lore, from the tough-minded to the slightly silly, from mandatory penis inspections (medics checking for VD) to life in the pitch-dark of "Tent City No. 1." And they cover the strategy and tactics leading up to the awful battle for the island, the navy's disputed plans for offshore bombardment, cut at the last minute from 10 days to three; the 16 miles of Japanese underground tunnels, far more than Allied intelligence expected.
Flyboys: a true story of courage,
James Bradley, 940.54 BRA
What happened to the missing pilots who were shot down over ChichiJima during the Second World War? This book is a magnificent historical study and a fitting tribute to those who fought and died. Learn the inside story of Japanese-American war of the 1940s and the heartbreaking story of the fates of a handful of American 'flyboys' who were shot down and captured by the Japanese on the remote island of Chichi Jima. Tragically, their fates were kept from their families, a silence that the author swore to shatter. The author does not spare us from what each side was capable of doing to the other- the use of napalm and atomic weapons on blatantly civilian targets by the Americans, the Japanese abuse and murder of prisoners of war- all are here. The real tragedy of this story is never forgotten though- the loss of young, unformed lives on both sides- the tragedy of 'what might have been.' Balanced and unsparing in its study of the barbarity of war, yet always searching for the underlying cause and meaning of such horror, this book cannot be recommended enough.
The Old Man and the Sea,
Ernest Hemingway, FIC HEM
The story of an old Cuban fisherman and his battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here is the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss.
11.8 Students analyze the economic boom and social transformation of post-World War II America.
Catcher in the Rye, J. D.
Salinger, FIC SAL
The hero-narrator is a sixteen year-old named Holden Caulfield. After he is expelled from his prep school, he goes underground in New York for three days. Confused and disillusioned, he searches for truth and rails against the "phoniness" of the adult world. He ends up exhausted and emotionally ill in a psychiatrist's office. After he recovers, he tells his story in this novel.
Death of a Salesman,
Arthur Miller, 812.52 MIL
This play is the genuine article--it's got the goods on the human condition, all packed into a day in the life of one self-deluded, self-promoting, self-defeating soul. The tragedy of Loman the all-American dreamer and loser works eternally, on the page as on the stage.
Streetcar Named Desire,
Tennessee Williams, 812 WIL
Play in three acts by Tennessee Williams, first produced and published in 1947 and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for drama for that year. One of the most admired plays of its time, it concerns the mental and moral disintegration and ultimate ruin of Blanche DuBois, a former Southern belle. Her neurotic, genteel pretensions are no match for the harsh realities symbolized by her brutish brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski.
11.9 Students analyze U.S. foreign policy since World War II.
Going After Cacciato, Tim
O'Brien, FIC OBR
Winner of the 1979 National Book Award, Going After Cacciato captures the peculiar blend of horror and hallucinatory comedy that marked this strangest of wars. Reality and fantasy merge in this fictional account of one private's sudden decision to lay down his rifle and begin a quixotic journey from the jungles of Indochina to the streets of Paris. Will Cacciato make it all the way? Or will he be yet another casualty of a conflict that seems to have no end? In its memorable evocation of men both fleeing and meeting the demands of battle, Going After Cacciato stands as much more than just a great war novel. Ultimately it's about the forces of fear and heroism that do battle in the hearts of us all.
If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home,
Tim O'Brien, 959.704 OBR
O'Brien paints an unvarnished portrait of the infantry soldier's life that is at once mundane and terrifying--the endless days of patrolling punctuated by firefights that end as suddenly and inconclusively as they begin; the mind-numbing brutality of burned villages and trampled rice patties; the terror of tunnels, minefields, and the ever-present threat of death. Powerful as these scenes are, perhaps the most memorable chapter in the book concerns his decision to desert just a few weeks before he was sent to Vietnam. "The AWOL bag was ready to go, but I wasn't.... I burned the letters to my family. I read the others and burned them, too. It was over. I simply couldn't bring myself to flee. Family, the home town, friends, history, tradition, fear, confusion, exile: I could not run." Tim O'Brien went into the war opposing it and came out knowing exactly why. If I Die in a Combat Zone is more than just a memoir of a disastrous war; it is also a meditation on heroism and cowardice, on the mutability of truth and morality in a war zone and, most of all, on the simple, human capacity to endure the unendurable.
Lessons of the Vietnam War,
Jerold M. Starr, 959.704 STA
The U.S. war in Vietnam was the longest and second most costly in U.S. history. More than two million American boys were sent to fight. More than 58,000 were killed, more than 300,000 wounded, and almost 14,000 completely disabled. In Vietnam today over two million dead are mourned. Four million were wounded and ten million displaced from their homes. More than five million acres of forest and croplands were laid waste by 18 million gallons of poisonous chemical herbicides. Public opinion polls over the years consistently show that two of three Americans judge the Vietnam War to have been a "mistake." Many knowledgeable adults cannot talk to youth about the war. They served in Vietnam and memories of that experience still are too painful. The schools may ignore Vietnam. It is time for the whole truth about our national experience. Explore the causes, decisions, and the effects and learn the lessons of the Vietnam War in this book.
The Marines of Autumn: a novel of the Korean War,
James Brady, FIC BRA
Brady is a Marine veteran of the forgotten war, and he writes colorfully and convincingly about how 20,000 Americans fought their way out of the Communist trap in the most bitterly cold winter weather ever experienced on the Korean peninsula. Reserve Marine Capt. Tom Verity, a young widower and a single parent, is recalled to active duty in the autumn of 1950; he is a Chinese linguist whose skills are badly needed. Gen. Douglas MacArthur has unwisely sent the Marine division into North Korea with orders to march to the Chinese border; despite MacArthur's flippant assurances, the Marines suspect the Red Chinese are waiting for them in the Taebaek Mountains. Verity is to join the forward battalion and gather intelligence for the Marine brass. Aided by conscientious, capable Gunnery Sergeant Tate and jeep-stealing, wise-cracking Corporal Izzo, Verity's efforts pay off, but it is too late. The Communists attack relentlessly, day and night, and with temperatures down to 25 degrees below zero, everyone freezes. The American withdrawal back to the seaport of Wonsan is a horrific nightmare of fatigue, frostbite, wounds and death. After days of marching and fighting, Verity, Tate and Izzo are about to reach safety when a single sniper's bullet changes all their fates. Brady's narrative captures the viciousness of combat, the brutal weather conditions, the forbidding terrain and the Marines' display of extraordinary courage, sacrifice, and valor. Incisively mapping out the fine lines between hope and despair, heroism and cowardice, this moving novel is a model of historical and moral accuracy.
The Things They Carried,
Tim O'Brien, SC BRI
The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and of course, the character Tim O'Brien who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three. They battle the enemy (or maybe more the idea of the enemy), and occasionally each other. In their relationships we see their isolation and loneliness, their rage and fear. They miss their families, their girlfriends and buddies; they miss the lives they left back home. Yet they find sympathy and kindness for strangers (the old man who leads them unscathed through the mine field, the girl who grieves while she dances), and love for each other, because during the Vietnam War they are the only family they have. We hear the voices of the men and build images upon their dialogue. The way they tell stories about others, we hear them telling stories about themselves. With the creative verve of the greatest fiction and the intimacy of a searing autobiography, The Things They Carried is a testament to the men who risked their lives in America's most controversial war. It is also a mirror held up to the frailty of humanity. Ultimately The Things They Carried and its myriad protagonists call to order the courage, determination, and luck we all need to survive.
Thirteen Days: a Memoir of the Cuban Missile
Crisis, Robert F. Kennedy, 327.73 KEN
During the thirteen days in October 1962 when the United States confronted the Soviet Union over its installation of missiles in Cuba, few people shared the behind-the-scenes story as it is told here by the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. In this unique account, he describes each of the participants during the sometimes hour-to-hour negotiations, with particular attention to the actions and views of his brother, President John F. Kennedy.
When Heaven and Earth Changed Places, Le Ly Hayslip,
A haunting memoir of the Vietnam War as seen through the eyes of a child who survived it. Hayslip was born a Vietnamese peasant in 1949; her account is a part of the Vietnamese conflict that we seldom hear, of the survivors in the middle; it concludes with a plea for both sides to put the war behind them.
11.10 Students analyze the development of federal civil rights and voting rights.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X,
If there was any one man who articulated the anger, the struggle, and the beliefs of American Blacks in the sixties, that man was Malcolm X. His autobiography is now an established classic of modern America, a book that expresses like none other the crucial truth about violent times.
Chicano by Richard
Vasquez, FIC VAS
Chicano unfolds the fates and fortunes of the Sandoval family, who flee the chaos and poverty of the Mexican Revolution and begin life anew in the United States. Patriarch Hector Sandoval works the fields and struggles to provide for his family even as he faces discrimination and injustice. Of his children, only Pete Sandoval is able to create a brighter existence, at least for a time. But when Pete's daughter Mariana falls in love with David, an Anglo student, it sets in motion a clash of cultures. The complications of their relationship speak volumes--even today--about racial politics in America.
Eyes On the Prize, 1954-1965, by Juan Williams,
Eyes On the Prize is an outstanding contribution to the memory of the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement. Williams brings the events of the nonviolent civil rights years to life with photographs and lucid text, as well as brief asides interspersed throughout to provide participants' perspectives. Written in conjunction with the production team of the PBS-TV series of the same name, the book uses still photography, which provides different insights than the film footage of the same events shown on television. The book stands solidly alone as one of the best available summaries of the period.
Go Tell It on the Mountain,
James Baldwin, FIC BAL
What happens when you peel back the layers of damaged lives? What do you discover? Go Tell It on the Mountain is a young man's novel, as tightly coiled as a new spring, yet tempered by a maturing man's confidence and empathy. It's not a long book, and its action spans but a single day--yet the author packs in emotion, detail, and intimate revelation. Using as a frame the spiritual and moral awakening of 14-year-old John Grimes during a Saturday night service in a Harlem storefront church, Baldwin lays bare the secrets of a tormented black family during the depression. John's parents, praying beside him, both wrestle with the ghosts of their sinful pasts--Gabriel, a preacher of towering hypocrisy, fathered an illegitimate child during his first marriage down South and refused to recognize his doomed bastard son; Elizabeth fell in love with a charming, free-spirited young man, followed him to New York, became pregnant with his son, and lost him before she could reveal her condition. Baldwin lays down the terrible similarities of these two blighted lives as the ironic context for their son John's dark night of the soul.
Hunger of Memory, Richard
Rodriguez, 921 ROD
This is what matters to me: the story of the scholarship boy who returns home one summer from college to discover bewildering silence, facing his parents. the poignant journey of a "minority student" who pays the cost of his social assimilation and academic success with a painful alienation-from his past, his parents, his culture-and so describes the high price of "making it" in middle-class America.
I Have A Dream, Martin
Luther King, Jr., 323.1 KIN
"Let freedom ring..." On August 28, 1963, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his most memorable and inspiring speech to a country divided by riots over racial injustice. He shared his vision of a day when the people of America would put aside hatred, injustice and violence and a new spirit of kindness, sharing and unity would spread. Here is the text of that speech.
The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow,
Richard Wormser, 323.1 WOR
Jim Crow, a minstrel caricature of a black man created to amuse whites and humiliate blacks, became the symbol of post-Civil War segregation. It also became the symbol against which blacks struggled in pursuit of full rights of citizenship. In this companion book to the PBS series of the same name, Wormer, coproducer of the series, provides text and pictorial overview of the shameful history of Jim Crow practices in the U.S. The book includes more than 100 images and graphics, with historical commentary and eyewitness accounts. The focus is on the efforts of black leaders, including W. E. B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, and the nascent NAACP, to eliminate the discriminatory practices of law and custom in the U.S. While usually associated with the South, the North had its own Jim Crow customs, not as onerous or as heavily enforced, but as pernicious in their intent to separate the races and secure white privilege. This is a powerful look at a shameful chapter in American history and heroic efforts to end Jim Crow's career.
Us and Them: A History of Intolerance in America,
Jim Carnes, 305.8 CAR
Fourteen stories of Americans who were hated by others simply for who they were, what they looked like, where they came from, or what they believed. Richly illustrated and documented with historical sources, the book brings people and events compellingly to life in crisp narrative. Subjects include the Cherokee Trail of Tears and violence against Mormons in Missouri (both 1830s); the lynching of Leo Frank in 1913; the torching of Rosewood, a 20s-era "city for colored people" in Florida; internment of Japanese Americans in World War II; the bashing death of a young gay person in Bangor (1984); and recent strife between the Jews and blacks in Brooklyn's Crown Heights section.
Warriors Don't Cry: a Searing Memoir of the
Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High, Melba Pattillo Beals, 921
Beals, one of the nine black students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, AR, in 1957, tells an incredible story of faith, family love, friendships, and strong personal commitment. Drawing from the diaries she kept, the author easily puts readers in her saddle oxfords as she struggles against those people in both the white and black communities who would have segregation continue. Her prose does not play on the sympathy of readers; it simply tells it like it happened. She shares the physical, mental, and emotional torture and abuse she suffered at the hands of teenagers and adults. She also shares the support, the encouragement, and the help she received from both whites and blacks.
11.11 Students analyze the major social problems and domestic policy issues in contemporary American society.
All the President's Men
by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, 364.1 WOO
In the most devastating political detective story of the century, two Washington Post reporters, whose brilliant, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation smashed the Watergate scandal wide open, tell the behind-the-scenes drama the way it really happened. Beginning with the story of a simple burglary at Democratic headquarters and then continuing with headline after headline, Bernstein and Woodward kept the tale of conspiracy and the trail of dirty tricks coming -- delivering the stunning revelations and pieces in the Watergate puzzle that brought about Nixon's scandalous downfall. Their explosive reports won a Pulitzer Prize for The Washington Post and toppled the President. This is the book that changed America.
Beloved, Toni Morrison,
Beloved is a dense, complex novel that yields up its secrets one by one. As Morrison takes us deeper into Sethe's history and her memories, the horrifying circumstances of her baby's death start to make terrible sense. And as past meets present in the shape of a mysterious young woman about the same age as Sethe's daughter would have been, the narrative builds inexorably to its powerful, painful conclusion. Beloved may well be the defining novel of slavery in America, the one that all others will be measured by.
Catch-22, Joseph Heller,
In this satirical novel, antihero Captain John Yossarian is stationed on an airstrip on a Mediterranean island in World War II and is desperate to stay alive. The "catch" involves a mysterious Air Force regulation which states that a man is considered insane if he requests to be relieved of his missions.
The Color Purple, Alice
Walker, FIC WAL
In this Pulitzer prize winning novel we discover that life wasn't easy for Celie, an abused and uneducated black woman. But she knew how to survive, needing little to get by. Then her husband's lover, a flamboyant blues singer, barreled into her world and gave Celie the courage to ask for more--to laugh, to play, and finally, to love.
House Made of Dawn, N.
Scott Momaday, FIC MOM
This widely acclaimed novel tells the story of a young Indian American struggling to reconcile the traditional ways of his people with the demands of the 20th century. Abel was raised to heed the voice of the land, the changes of the seasons, and the lessons taught by peyote. But once he returned from a foreign war and became exposed to the temptations of the wider world, Abel became a man lost to himself.
Jazz, Toni Morrison, FIC
A mysterious voice weaves the story of an African-American door-to-door salesman of beauty products who shoots his young lover, and his wife who tries to disfigure the corpse with a knife in the winter of 1926.
The Joy Luck Club, Amy
Tan, FIC TAN
This novel is structured around the stories of four pairs of Chinese immigrant mothers and their American-born daughters. The first and last segments tell the mother's stories in China and in America. The middle cradles the daughter's experiences as children and as Chinese American women. The author uses this structure to communicate a sense of mother and daughter connectedness that eventually resolves generational differences and conflicts.
Lin, Maya, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 1982, single granite wall memorial lists names and honors war dead
On the Road, Jack
Kerouac, FIC KER
Poetic, open and raw, Kerouac's prose about the "beat generation of the 1950s" lays out a cross-country adventure as experienced by Sal Paradise, an autobiographical character. A writer holed up in a room at his aunt's house, Paradise gets inspired by Dean Moriarty (a character based on Kerouac's friend Neal Cassady) to hit the road and see America. From the moment he gets on the seven train out of New York City, he takes the reader through the highs and lows of hitchhiking, bonding with fellow explorers and opting for drink before food. First published in 1957, Kerouac's perennially hot story continues to express the restless energy and desire for freedom that makes people rush out to see the world.
Ordinary Americans: U.S. History Through the Eyes
of Everyday People, Linda R. Monk, ed., 973 MON
This unusual collection of more than 200 first hand accounts focuses on the stories of people not usually found in traditional texts. Organized by historical period from pre-Columbian to the present (including the 9/11 attacks), the readings include perspectives by women, Native Americans, and Americans of African, Hispanic, and Asian ancestry.
Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy, 973.099 KEN
In 1954-55 a freshman U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy, wrote a book profiling eight of his historical Senatorial colleagues, such men as John Quincy Adams, Sam Houston, and Robert A. Taft. Instead of focusing on their storied careers, John F. Kennedy chose to illustrate their acts of integrity, when they stood alone against tremendous political and social pressure for what they felt was right.
Profiles in Courage For Our Time
by Carolyn Kennedy, 920 PRO
Contains profiles of individuals and groups, all elected officials at the national, state, or local level, who have been presented with the Profile in Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation since 1990 for standing fast for the ideals of America in the face of personal risk. Featured are: Carl Elliott, Charles Longstreet Weltner, Lowell Weicker, James Florio, Henry B. Gonzalez, Michael L. Synar, Corkin Cherubini, Charles Price, Nickolas C. Murnion, the Irish Peacemakers, John McCain and Russell Feingold, Hilda Solis, Gerald R. Ford, and John Lewis.
Silent Spring, Rachel
Carson, 363.7 CAR
Rarely does a single book alter the course of history, but Carson's Silent Spring did exactly that. The outcry that followed its publication in 1962 forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in environmental laws. Learn about man-made pollutants that threaten to destroy life on this earth even today!
Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt
Vonnegut, FIC VON
This is one of the world's great anti-war books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for the meaning in what we are afraid to know.
Warhol, Andy, "Campbell's Soup Can," 1965, silk-screen painting, symbol of pop art movement
The Way to Rainy Mountain,
N. Scott Momaday, 970.3 MOM
Written with dignity, this book has something about it of the timeless, of that long view down which the Kiowa Indians look to their mythological beginnings. The author retells the Kiowa myths that he learned from his grandmother and speculates on their origin and symbolism.
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