I love history. As a child, I memorized the Presidents in order, forwards and backwards as I walked to school. I would leave my husband in a heartbeat if David McCullough would just gave me a chance. So I was thrilled when "Uncle Sam presents The Great American Documents Vol. 1 1620-1830" arrived in my mailbox.
It is the non-fiction version of a graphic novel, and while not every students' idea of a thrilling summer read - it was right up my alley. For anyone taking American History in summer school (or any other time) I think that it is invaluable. It is also beautifully drawn by Ernie Colon and very clearly written by Ruth Ashby. The clarity is what I appreciated most about this very interesting book. It covers 20 documents from The Mayflower Compact to the Indian Removal Act, with some little ditties like the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Monroe Doctrine thrown in for good measure. Presenting the history and the documents in a visual way is a revelation. I loved the section on the Constitution, but as I went through the book to find other passages, I kept being surprised. "Oh that's why...", "I didn't know he thought that...", "I finally get the connection between..." This is a great collaboration. The information is very responsibly distilled (which is quite difficult with some of these nuanced pieces) but also beautifully illustrated by a great draftsman who knows how to present information in the most dynamic and straight forward way.
I think that this book would be a valuable addition to any school library and should be front and center as a great teaching tool for anyone (of any age) interested in American History.
If you want a good counterpart, include Sarah Vowell's "The Wordy Shipmates" on your reading list.
I don't want to give up my copy of The Great American Documents but I am a good sharer, so I am having a contest to pass it on.
Send me an email with: "I love history" in the subject line
Give me a suggestion for my non-fiction history reading list, adult or children's
Include your mailing address in the email
I will pick a winner on Labor Day