Christopher Clark, Nancy A. Heweitt, Roy Rosenzweig, Stephen Brier, Joshua Brown, and Eric Foner, eds. Who Built America? Working People and the Nation's Economy, Politics, Culture, and Society. New York: Worth, 2000. Vol. I: From Conquest and Colonization through 1877. Pp. vii, 721. Paper, $43.90; ISBN 1-57259-302-4.
Nelson Lichtenstein, Susan Strasser, Roy Rosenzweig, Stephen Brier, and Joshua Brown, eds. Who Built America? Working People and the Nation's Economy, Politics, Culture, and Society. New York: Worth, 2000. Vol. II: Since 1877. Pp. vii, 786. Paper, $43.90; ISBN 1-57259-303-2.
Although not technically second editions, the volumes under review are based on the original Who Built America series sponsored by the American Social History Project and authored by Bruce Levine, Stephen Brier, David Brundage, Edward Countryman, Dorothy Fennell, and Marcus Rediker (volume one) and by Joshua Freeman, Nelson Lichtenstein, Stephen Brier, David Bensman, Susan Porter Benson, David Brundage, Bret Eynon, Bruce Levine, and Bryan Palmer (volume two), published in 1989. l have used volumes one and two of the most recent editions to teach both halves of the American history survey course offered at a small liberal arts college in the Midwestern United States. I offer here both my own and my students' experience with and reactions to the texts so that readers might decide whether to adopt them for either American history survey courses or perhaps for a working-class or labor history class.
Both volumes one and two are extremely accessible. It is for this reason alone that I will continue to use both volumes in coming semesters. Students have consistently commented on how easy and "fun" the texts are to read. One student not majoring in history informed me that she, to her surprise, read the book because she enjoyed it. Another told me that she enjoyed it so much she read passages of it to her roommate. Another volunteered to tutor for the course because partial payment for tutoring was a free copy of the text. Yet another student enrolled in an upper-level history course continually referred back to Who Built America in her efforts to make sense of the post-World War II United States. Another student has used the texts as the...
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