May 24

Book Assignment #2

Due Friday, May 26 by 10 p.m.  500 words minimum.  

Please include the title of your book in your response.  

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 (even if you’re reading a biography or history and you know where the story is going, try to anticipate some things like trends or themes that you may have encountered in the book that you may not have anticipated or known).  This would also be where you can examine your connection (or lack thereof) to the characters or events.

Happy reading! 

Posted May 24, 2017 by geoffwickersham in category Book reviews

75 thoughts on “Book Assignment #2

  1. Griffin Kozlow

    The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party Blog

    a) This part of the book was a lot darker than the first part. It starts off with good news: the College getting a new donor… Mr. Sharpe. Unfortunately, this is the only good news this part brings. Mr. Sharpe decides two things. One of them is to get rid of the number system. He believes it is impractical. The other thing he does is completely change Octavian’s education. He makes everything more “abstract”… in other words, he makes everything wrong. He stops teaching Octavian literature and history. Unfortunately, when the revolution continues to build-up to a breaking point, the British attack the colonies. The forces the College to leave their home in Boston and move to Canaan, Massachusetts. There, Bono gets sold away, which sends Octavian into a state of depression. While they’re in Canaan, Mr. Gitney and Mr. Sharpe decide to hold something they call a Pox Party. Since there is a widespread fear of Smallpox across the colonies, the College decides to invite all the donors and their families (and the slaves) to give them a Smallpox vaccine. The plan is to keep everyone together until they recover. This plan is successful at first. Everyone is partying and having fun recovering from the vaccine… until people start to die off. Many people begin to die, and eventually, Cassiopeia dies. She ALSO gets dissected…. IN FRONT OF OCTAVIAN. So… things didn’t go great for Octavian in part 2 of this book.
    b) I am going to connect this to the historical thinking skill of contextualization. Much more than part 1, part 2 relates directly to American history. The College begins to clash with the outside world and the revolution that is stirring up. Many things happening throughout the colonies are starting to directly affect the College. First, the colonists uproar of “taxation without representation” is starting to become stronger. Around this time, many things are happening in the colonies. This takes place pre-revolution, one of the most action packed times in American history. The British are taxing the colonists with many things: the Sugar Act, the Quartering Act, the Tea Act, and the Stamp Act. The Boston Tea Party is the colonists uprising as a result of the Tea Act, and the British pass the intolerable acts in response to the Tea Party. Many things are happening during that time, and tension between Europe and the American colonies are reaching a breaking point.
    c) This connects greatly to pre-Revolution America. Everything studied in that time period relates back to the book. The most prominent thing we have studied that relates back to the book is taxation without representation. It comes up constantly, and causes the College to move from Boston to Canaan, Massachusetts. The tension about the taxes also caused the Smallpox fear, causing the Pox Party held in the book. Without this time period and the “taxation without representation”, many things in this book wouldn’t have happened.
    d) I think this book will only get more depressing from here. I believe Mr. Sharpe will continue to change the College for the worse, and I think many new people Octavian meets without his mother will die as well. Seeing Octavian’s personality, I think he’ll spiral into depression and Mr. Sharpe will prove his point that Africans can’t learn. I think in the end, Mr. Sharpe will win the battle, and Octavian and Mr. Gitney will lose.

  2. Ny'dea Terrell

    *B. As the author described and I quotes above, their former origins put them on the outskirts of American connection. It was not, because they wanted to be, but because they were not born their. This reminds me of the minorities in Detroit. They were all present, but looked down upon, because they didn’t have the white collar jobs. They didn’t have the standard job, their grandfather was a junk collector, a “bottom feeder job’.

  3. Michael Wainer

    Founding Brothers
    I am reading Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis. Over the course of the week I read two chapters. First, I read “The Dinner,”. This chapter is not about the institution of a Federal Bank as I predicted in my last report, but rather, how the dinner held by Thomas Jefferson, for James Madison and Alexander Hamilton affected the country. This was about reaching a mutual agreement between the two men about the financial plan the nation would institute. This was mostly a compromise between state and federal rights. Following the dinner party the Assumption Bill and the Residence Bill were both created. This lead to fear of a corruption and collusion by men of power in the country. People now thought that the government was having secret meetings in which they were discussing policies and making rulings that greatly affected the people of our country. The other chapter I read was titled The Silence. Because of the Founding Fathers failure to discuss what exactly to do with slavery in the constitution, came up years later. People in the North started to complain about the morals of slavery, and eventually Ben Franklin became the first Founder to agree. There were very strong arguments on both sides, but Ben Franklin was the only person willing to fight to overturn slavery. However when Franklin died, so did abolition (at least for the time being). The Founding Fathers decided not to overturn the institution of slavery.
    For my Historical thinking skill section I would like to discuss cause and effect in the second chapter that I read. Specifically, the effects of the Founding Fathers failure to address slavery. First, when the constitution did not discuss slavery, it lead to great debate as our country was just being formed. This is a major reason that we saw people regionalize often more than they nationalized. When the debate of slavery came up again, the Founding Fathers once again failed to do anything about it. This lead to increased tensions between people that were pro-slavery and abolitionists. It also eventually lead to the Civil War. Had the Founding Fathers actually made all men equal, the deadliest, most harmful war America has been in would have never happened.
    My reading is similar reminds me of the distrust of the government that we learned about in APUSH. Following the Nixon administration, people had a strong distrust for their government. This is very similar to what Americans felt in the first chapter of my reading. They worried that the government was lying to them and making secret arrangements without public knowledge. Although this is nowhere near as bad as what Nixon did with Watergate, it gave a similar sense of dishonesty coming from the government.
    After reading a few pages of the next chapter, I see that it focuses on public attitude towards George Washington. I think that it will focus on two things. One will be what George Washington was actually like as a man. The main focus of the chapter, however, I believe will be how we have built up Washington to be more than man. I predict Ellis will discuss whether or not he deserves this legendary status.

  4. geoffwickersham (Post author)

    Part B. Which HTS are you describing here? Sounds like contextualization, but needs to extend to more than just the Dust Bowl. Should include other events in the 1930s.

  5. geoffwickersham (Post author)

    On slavery in the Constitution, its existence was guaranteed, and so were peoples’ rights to their “property”. This was how it was addressed.

  6. geoffwickersham (Post author)

    For Part C, put this in the larger context of WW2 or even more narrowly, the Pacific War of WW2. Part B should be explicitly about an historical thinking skill. Also, this is Unbroken, right?

  7. Hank Peters-Wood

    *****Please read the email I sent you a few days ago regarding this entry.

    As I mentioned in my last entry, Louie, along with two of his partners, Mac and Phil, are stranded at sea, completely helpless. At first, the three see a plane coming near them, and they think that they may be saved. However, they just narrowly escape death as the plane fires ruthlessly at them. They do survive, but they are about to face weeks of terrible conditions. With no great source of food or fresh water, the men are left starving in the exposure of sun, salt water, and whatever weather there may be. Sharks are also circling all around them. The men are in terrible condition, and Louie decides to try and hunt the sharks. A few times he is almost killed, but they are able to retrieve the livers from a few sharks as food. However, all of the above things are too much too many for Mac, and he passes away. Louie and Phil pushed him out to sea and miraculously, the sharks don’t attack his body. Though the men have found somewhat of a food source, they are still in bad shape. Around the forty day mark at sea, a massive storm hits, with huge waves and vigorous downpour. When the storm concludes, the men think they are I the clear when they see a distant island, but it turns out to be a Japanese ship. The men are thrown aboard and actually treated rather well. They are given plenty of food and water, and are also examined by a doctor. However, the ship eventually drops them off at an island, known to United States soldiers as execution island. At the island, the men were taunted, starved and dehydrated, forced to live in extremely unsanitary cells, and were often interrogated. The men were miserable, and Louie often prayed to ease what he was going through. Through the interrogations, Louie would give clever false information in order to fool his captors into thinking he was cooperating. Louie eventually even befriended a guard, but was also beaten and taunted by new Japanese guards/soldiers. Despite all the above hardships, one of the biggest was the fear of what was to come, because after all they were in an island called “execution island”. However, execution was not in their future, they were going to be moved to a prisoner of war camp, where hopefully the conditions would improve for Phil and Louie. Back in the 1940’s this treatment was acceptable to an extent, but today I don’t think any nation would stand for it. What I have read recently connects to what we have learned in APUSH in a strange way. The way that Louie and Phil were treated reminds me of the opposite side of the spectrum, in the way that Japanese people were treated at the containment camps in America. We learned about the awful conditions and unfair treatment that these people had to face, and I’d say it resembles what Phil and Louie faced on the island (although I think Phil and Louie’s case was more dangerous/life-threatening/brutal).
    My response to this section is very interesting. It is incredible to read about what these men had to face all in a fairly short period of time… it’d be horrible to have to go through one of these things, but it is unimaginable to go through all. I predict that in the rest of the book, Louie’s challenges will lessen, and he will eventually return to America at the end of the war, intact and as a hero.

  8. geoffwickersham (Post author)

    In many of the small immigrant neighborhoods, people embraced the culture from their old country and brought it to America. They created restaurants, clubs, theaters and even movie theaters all in ways to preserve their culture. Many Jewish people wanted their kids to be able to survive and prosper in the new land so they made sure their kids went to public schools. The Italians also followed suit behind the Jews to go to public school. Many of the new immigrants knew they needed a job to survive in the new world. The Italians came from a laborer background so many of them were construction workers. They created tunnels, sewers, and built skyscrapers. They even created most of the New York subway station. Majority of the Russian Jews were artisans and merchants so most of them went door to door to selling household goods. The invention of the sewing machine allowed for the mass production of clothes. With being able to mass produce clothes factories needed people to help create these clothes. This helped move the invention of the sweatshop.

    This is contextualization because the book is explaining the lives of the people affected by the fire. This portion of the book allowed for us to get a look into the lives of the immigrants. This passage showed us that the immigrants were very proud of their culture. They were proud to be either Jewish or Italian and were willing to work hard and do back breaking work to have a successful life for their families.

    This is similar to when the Germans came to America and developed Catholic Schools. Majority of the Germans that came to America were Catholic. During this time it was not illegal to teach the Christian faith in public schools. Many German parents wanted their kids to practice the Catholic faith so they created Catholic schools. Catholic schools are still around today even though we don’t teach Christian beliefs in school anymore. This is because to many Catholics religion is important to them.

    I believe the story will start to move some more and began to get into what caused the fire and why the fire happened. I think the story will focus less on the immigrant background and begin to focus on the actual events before and after the fire.


  9. Lindsay Martin

    Sopher tracked down her employers and found out that they also had typhoid outbreaks in their homes. He had a theory that Mary was a carrier of the disease, but didn’t get symptomatic herself. In the early 1900s, not many people understood that theory, although we do today. So when Soper approached Mary and explained this, she denied being a carrier, and was outraged. Soper was persistent at trying to convince Mary but she did everything she could to stay away from him. When she saw the police coming, she tried to avoid them. She snuck underneath a fence and hid in an outhouse while they searched for her, calling her name. Eventually, they found and arrested Mary. They took her to a hospital. At the hospital, they tried to convince her to have gallbladder surgery. She refused, so she was sent to North Brother Island. North Brother Island was a quarantine island, originally for tuberculosis patients. When Mary arrived, she could hear the pain and screams from those patients. Mary was given a house, and brought meals everyday. Scientists came to collect her stool and urine samples for typhoid. Mary was discontent with the amount of information she was given. She sent for a different company to test her as well, and share the results with her. Mary would mail them samples and have them test it. She didn’t realize that by the time her samples arrived, the typhoid bacteria had died. She also had issues with writing to Alfred. She was so bored that she sent him hundreds of letters, but often didn’t get a reply for weeks. When Alfred did reply, it was a brief letter. She missed him a lot, and was concerned for him. On the island, she began to make friends. Actually, just one friend. The gardener. He let her plant around her house to help alleviate the boredom. She contemplated escape from the island, but was wary of the intense flowing waters around her. She knew she couldn’t make it to freedom alive. Mary stayed on the island for two years 1907-1909,and ended up suing the health department. She accomplished this by writing to lawyers all over the state, until she found one willing to help her cause.
    At this point in the book, it is still the progressive era. Immigrants are frowned upon by the american citizens. The Irish who come in often only have enough money for the fare, so they settle in the port cities. The Irish often live in poor conditions and struggle to find work. They reside in tenements, and many families live together in one-family homes. The living conditions were so bad that disease was inevitable, there was a large spread of cholera, typhus, tuberculosis, and mental illnesses. Because of the connotations placed on the Irish, families would move away when Irish came into the neighborhood. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire occurred because of the terrible working conditions.
    We learned about Women’s Suffrage during this time period. In terms of education, women were still lacking compared to men. While there was a rise, Mary wasn’t there to see it. This can help explain why she is so unwilling to accept that she is a carrier of the disease. Without a formal education, science can be difficult to grasp. As a child in Ireland, Mary didn’t receive an education. She was taught to cook and take care of children.
    In the next section, the trial will take place. I don’t think that her boyfriend, Alfred, will show up at the trial. He has been so bad at communicating with Mary that I think he has moved on to other girls. At the trial, I don’t think Mary will be released from North Brother Island.

  10. Beau Lerner

    Beau Lerner
    Presidents and UFO’s
    Blog #2

    A.My book, The Presidents and UFO’s: A Secret History From FDR to Obama by Larry Holcombe is an incredibly biased book by a UFOlogist who talks about the UFO craze in America, starting in the 1940’s (back when UFO’s were referred to as “flying saucers”) all the way to Obama, although the book goes chronologically so I haven’t quite gotten to our more modern presidents yet. The book talks about how ever since we first started our intelligence agencies in World War two, the government has been hiding secrets from us, for better or (as the author believes) for worse. Today, we know of some of the earliest of the government’s secrets, things like the Atomic Bomb were very closely-guarded secrets at the time, and we kept them secret so as to not let our enemy know about these kinds of things. The author states that part of the reason that the government tries to keeps UFO’s hidden from us is because the government thinks of aliens as our enemy, and that if the government were to tell the people, the aliens would know that we knew about them, and would have to be even more covert. The book has extreme bias, though not of the partisan kind. The book heavily relies on citing evidence from “leaked” government documents, and talks about said documents as if the reader has already read them, making the reader feel as if they are reading the sequel to a book that they hadn’t read. The author refuses to even acknowledge any evidence that aliens might not be real, which can be frustrating for a reader who is trying to stay unbiased.
    B) I would like to connect this book to Change and Continuity over time, as that is highly applicable as the book takes place over roughly 70 years. Some of the continuity over time has been the government keeping secrets from the public, such as with the atom bomb, or with Watergate. Continuity can also be seen in how UFO fanatics are just as–for lack of a better word–passionate at what they do as they were in 1940s, and using similar structure to their arguments, both good and bad, as while they are certainly able to make some connections that can make you question what you know, they often turn to making straw man arguments and filling in gaps in their arguments with guesswork. Change mostly comes in the form of communication between UFO fanatics, as well as in what kinds of evidence they use. While pictures and documents were rare in the early 40’s, nowadays there is plenty of “evidence”– including plenty of fake news, photoshopped images and fake stories.
    C. I would connect things in this book to times where presidents have done what they could to keep information secret and to stay in power, and a great example of that is Watergate. While aliens are much more about keeping secrets than staying in power, Watergate is a great example about how the government can and will attempt to keep secrets from the people for whatever reasons it pleases.
    D.I predict that with the inventions of the internet that with the Information Superhighway UFO fanatics will find it easier to obtain and use evidence–both real and fake–to help bolster their claims.

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