May 11

Outside Reading Assignment

  1. Choose from the following historical fiction or non-fiction history books:

2. Get the book from the GHS Media Center, your local library, or buy the book (this should be a last resort since we have all of these books in our MC).

3. Divide the reading up into four equal parts.  Pace your reading, because you will have an assignment due each week on Thursday (May 18, 25, June 1, 8).

4. On each Thursday, you complete the following on our blog:

a. Summarize your reading for that part; also, this might be the part to examine bias in the book w/ specific examples.

b. Connect a historical thinking skill to your book segment – contextualization, comparison, change and continuity over time, synthesis, cause and effects, periodization (including turning points).

c. Connect your reading to something we’ve studied in APUSH.

d. Make predictions as to where your story will go (in your last assignment, this needs to be an evaluation – Give the book a grade – A, B, C, D, F – and a recommendation to keep the book for next year or ditch it and why).  This would also be where you can examine your connection (or lack thereof) to the characters or events.

5. After you’re done with the book, you will be responsible for making a short video and connect it to the cover of the book in the phone app, Aurasma.  This short video will be a brief (less than a minute) book review / talk that next year’s APUSH students will check out in order to preview the book. (15 points).

6. You will research the internet for a book review on your book, copy and paste the article’s URL in your final assignment (due June 8), and then discuss your assessment of the article’s validity – whether you agree with the author’s assessment of the book – and reasons why.

Each blog entry must be a minimum of 500 words total (20 points each – 25 for the last entry).  

Due every Thursday, May 18, 25, June 1, 8.  Your final entry will be more than 500 words because of the online book review.


Posted May 11, 2017 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs, Book reviews

3 thoughts on “Outside Reading Assignment

  1. Rayyan Mahmood

    (Sorry about the double submission-the other one was sent when my browser froze. This version is the correct one.)

    My book is “His Excellency George Washington,” a biography by Joseph J. Ellis. The book is divided into three portions-one describing Washington’s service in the Royal Army during the French and Indian War, one describing his generalship in the Revolutionary War, and one summarizing his two terms of president.

    Currently, I am still reading the first part. Asides from covering what we learned in class about Washington’s unfortunate encounter with French emissaries and the Half Kind, I also learned a lot about Washington’s personal life. For example, I learned that Washington married Martha for the estate she inherited, while he was actually in love with Sally Fairfax, the wife of his best friend. I also learned that Washington was sterile, and as Ellis cleverly puts it, “the Father of Our Country who was incapable of biologically producing children.” I also learned about the Virginia Regiment- an elite group of blue-coat Virginia sharpshooters who were trained in guerrilla warfare, created by Washington after the disastrous Braddock campaign. Their uniforms and tactics would serve as inspiration for the Continental Army, despite the fact that high ranking British generals (including Braddock) dismissed the Virginia Regiment as cowardly and un-British. Ellis also went in depth about Washington’s shrewd financial management-he fell victim to the allure of fancy British goods and spent himself into crippling debt. Unlike many farmers of the day (including fellow Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson), Washington caught on to the scam, fought his creditors both in the courts and in the markets, and managed to free himself from the grip of his bankers-his conflict with British industry would fuel his passions in the Revolutionary War.

    One of the reasons why Washington’s debt grew out of proportion was because his creditors charged him rates and prices up to 20% higher simply because he was a colonial. After the passage of the Stamp Act and a colonial outcry, many Britons began to see the colonies as an uncivilized, degenerate rabble. The context of growing tensions between colonists and Britain is seen in Washington’s financial plight.

    This connects to the French-Indian war. Like the movie we saw in class, the book goes in depth when it describes how Washington watched and did nothing as the Half King’s warriors scalped the entire French diplomatic mission, and then how French officers tricked Washington into admitting complete responsibility by having sign a document in French that Washington couldn’t read. The book also told how Washington was “hit” by four musket balls-fortunately for him, three of them simply tore through his coat without actually colliding with skin. The last one left a minor scratch, and Washington would go on to write that his battles near Fort Duquesne were far more terrifying than anything he had ever experience during the Revolution.

    Washington, for unknown reasons, cut off relations with his father around the age of eleven. He turned to his half-brother Lawrence as a father figure, and Lawrence provided. He taught Washington the principles of gentry and finance, and took him on a trip to the Caribbean to search for a remedy to Lawrence’s tuberculosis.

    I can’t really make any predictions, as it is a biography. I know for a fact that Washington pulls himself out of debt and goes on to lead the Continental Army and become President, but I guess that qualifies as a spoiler.

  2. Brett Hutchison

    a.) The book starts in June 1982, where President Reagan speaks about the heroics and motivation behind the D-Day invasion and what those men fought for. Two years later, he gives a famous speech at Pointe du Hoc on June 6, 1984, where he commemorates the 225 men of the 2nd Ranger Battalion who 40 years prior scaled the cliffs to seize the German guns that threatened the landing zones below; it is said that this speech helped revived Americans’ interest in WWII and created newfound respect for American WWII veterans. The book then covers the meaning of the term “ranger” throughout US history, the term originating from the men who scouted the wilderness outside of Jamestown in 1607, and the many elite units conceived during many American wars of the past such as Morgan’s Riflemen during the Revolutionary War and the Texas Rangers during the Texan War for Independence and the Mexican-American War. In 1942, Col. William Darby gets permission from Gen. George Marshall to assemble a unit of elite fighting men modeled after the British commandos, and forms the 1st Ranger Battalion of several hundred men. After months of extensive training, the battalion is sent to Africa in late 1942 and Sicily in 1943 where the men establish themselves as a very effective fighting force. The battalion’s success allows Darby to form a second battalion, composed of new recruits trained by members of the 1st Battalion and led by Major James Rudder. Months of intensive training in amphibious warfare and small team tactics, along with brutal physical training, build the unit into a tight-knit band of brothers. 2nd Ranger Battalion is sent to England in late 1943 where D, E, and F Company (with 75 men each) are given the task of assaulting Pointe du Hoc on D-Day. The 225 men spend the months before the invasion practicing the attack, familiarizing themselves with their landing craft and newly employed secret weapons to help them scale the cliffs such as the grappling hook.
    b.) Change and continuity is present in this segment of the book. Prior to the creation of the Army Rangers in WWII, General Dwight Eisenhower and General George C. Marshall had been focused on the expansion of the US Army into a conventional modern fighting force numbering millions of men and thousands of trucks, armored vehicles, and other weapons of war, and had no intention of creating an unconventional force that could carry out operations such as raids or prisoner rescues. Despite giving permission to Col. Lucian Truscott to form the 1st Ranger Battalion, Eisenhower still had his concerns, believing that such an elite force would steal the best men and material that the ever-expanding Army needed more than anyone else. In addition, Eisenhower simply did not see a place for special forces in conventional warfare. After the battalion’s successes in combat, Eisenhower had a change of heart, and granted the creation of two more Ranger battalions. Even after the expansion of the Rangers, Eisenhower and Marshall still generally placed the Army ahead of the Rangers in conventional warfare, though the Rangers would get more and more “special” missions.
    c.) This book segment connects to APUSH in that it explores many of the noteworthy elite infantry formations that existed in times of conflict, such as Morgan’s Riflemen of the Revolutionary War and the later War of 1812, the Texas Rangers of the Mexican American War and the Texan War for Independence, Mosby’s Rangers of the Civil War, and other groups, and how their actions made them famous and legendary. This book also connects to the importance of WWII in US history, as the war was a turning point in the US’ role in the world and marked the beginning of the Cold War, which would define the next 45 years of our nation’s history.
    d.) I predict the men assigned to Pointe du Hoc will face heavy resistance from the Germans guarding the guns and will take fire from the guns themselves. I also think the men will encounter some unanticipated obstacle that will hinder their progress and result them taking heavier losses.

  3. Andrew Beggs

    The book begins introducing some of the character like the main one, Louie, and his brother Pete. The narrator explains how Louie is a troublemaker and how he looks up to his big mature brother Pete. Pete encourages Louie to try running track since he is such a troublemaker that does nothing. Louie doesn’t really want to at first, but he eventually decides to give it a shot and finds out that he is decently good at it. He then becomes really good at it and breaks some school records. Louie begins to really like running track and finds out that he is a running prodigy. He broke many high school records nationally and has dreams of the Olympic games. His worry though is that he won’t be good enough and won’t make the cut so he starts to doubt himself for a small period of time. He enters a race in Compton and ends up winning, and because of that he gets an invite to the Olympic trials. He trains in the blistering heat of New York and competes in the trials. Despite not finishing in first place Louie manages to get a spot of the Olympic team. Louie sets out on a huge boat to the 1936 Olympics and eats so much on the boat that he gains 12 pounds. He comes in 7th place for his event, but breaks the record for the fastest last lap of the race. He gets the honor of meeting Hitler. Louie sets back home from his long fun journey and sets on training for the 1940 Olympic games in Tokyo.

    During this time period, the Nazi empire was on the rise and German nationalism was at its biggest peak of their time. Hitler was in complete control, and he was building their empire to be the biggest international threat. The year of this time period in the book in 1936 because that was the year of the Berlin Olympic games. The US was not involved in the war nor had Hitler even invaded Poland at this point. But in history, this was the time period where Hitler was building his empire larger and larger and Nazism was growing within the nation, of Germany. Hitler had not made any moves, but he was building a magnificent military and he was getting a lot of attention. The United States was also in the middle of the Great Depression with FDR as the president.

    This portion of the reading really connects to when we talked about the 1936 Olympics. This was Hitler’s Olympics and he was going to run the show. We talked in class about all the things he wanted for his Olympics and we also touched on the colossal stadium that he planned to build for the track and field events. We also talked about the racial discrimination and just racism throughout the German nation and how some of the athletes handled it. We discussed Louie Zamperini as well as Jesse Owens.

    My predictions to where the story will go is that Louie will end up being drafted into the Second World War. This is primarily because I’ve heard the story about Louie Zamperini and many Americans have, and I know for a fact that he will get drafted into the war. I do not know how he handles being drafted with his family though and if he is extremely sad about not being able to compete in the 1940 Olympics. I predict that he will take a combat job in the military and perhaps somewhat like serving for his country a little. I also predict that he will meet many new friends while he serves for America in the war. My connection with Louie Zamperini is his sports. I was encouraged to play hockey by my father like Pete encouraged Louie and I found out that I was pretty decent at the sport. Louie loves track and I love hockey. I would give this book a B so far just for he fact that the book rushes through the Olympic games and doesn’t focus too much on that time in Louie’s life. I know the moral of the story and main part of the story is his time in Japan at the POW camp but I wish the author went more in detail about the Olympics Games. It was a very short description in my opinion. I would recommend to keep this book next year so far because I’m sure it will get really good once he goes to war and the reviews for this book were through the roof. I am excited to read the rest and so far it seems to be a pretty decent and interesting book.

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