May 16

Final Book Assignment #3 – 2018

Due Friday, June 8 by 11:59 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 (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.


Posted May 16, 2018 by geoffwickersham in category Book reviews

57 thoughts on “Final Book Assignment #3 – 2018

  1. Annie Chernow

    In the book, Unbroken, the final part included a lot of detail and chapters about Louie’s life being in Japanese internment camps and as well as life after the war. In his cell on execution island, he was surrounded in lice, rats, and filth. He was also starved and thought that this was the end of his life. When taken out of the cell, he thought he was going to get killed but instead just got interrogated. Soon after, him and Phil were taken to an internment camp called POW. The camp was difficult due to their labor and also being tortured by the Japanese guards. Louis and Phil made friends and made a plan to escape the camo but then heard the guards saying if anyone did escape people in the camp would be killed so they suspended the plan. Louis is seen as anyone else in the camp but is tested by his skills and raced the guards. He’d earn food or clothes from winning these races. Or, he’d get beat for beating his opponent. Louis was then sent to another camp where he’d experience much more harm and violence. Once arrived to the camp, they were beaten up by their new leader, who would soon be nicknamed “The Bird”. He is constantly singling out Louis and very amused about injuring the men. He constantly bullied Louis and also put out a propaganda message saying how louie was alive and untouched which made his parents happy knowing he was “okay”. Louie was then brought into the broadcasting place where he had clarified he was alive and that he was not dead to people all over america but specifically to his family. After going back to the camp and getting more torture from the bird, he was ordered to leave due to his abusive behavior and Louie couldn’t of been more happy. After time in a “Bird free zone”, Louis was transferred once more to another camp, where he faced his worst nightmare for the second time: the bird. He constantly bullied and picked on louis but he would rather take his beatings than actually do backbreaking work that would actually kill him. One day, louie actually worked with salt, he messed up his ankle and wasn’t able to do work. The Bird told him he had to shovel pig crap with only his hands. Louie and his friends attempted to kill the bird but failed and only got him sick for ten days, after that, him and his friends were blamed for theft and all got 220 punches in the face for their punishment. After pig duty was over for louie, The bird forced him to hold a six foot long wooden board over his head and if he dropped it he would’ve been whacked with a gun and beat. He holds it for 37 minutes until the bird charges him and beat the crap out of him. Soon after, there was news that two atomic bombs had hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bird and many soldiers started fleeing the camps due to the fact they were probably all going to face crime charges for the way they treated the American’s in the camp. The men were cheering because it was the end of the war and they received food and supplies from bomber planes from above who dropped it down to them. Louie then returns home and gets greeted by his family with a large coming home party, Louie is happy, yet he is forever haunted of the past two years he spent being tortured at the Japanese internment camps. Louie then falls in love with a girl named Cynthia, the relationship is very bad. They get married two weeks after dating and Louie is also dependent on alcohol now which makes the relationship messy. They fight a lot verbally and both physically hurt each other. Cynthia gets pregnant and has a child, Louie was a good father for the most part until Cynthia saw him shaking the baby up and down and was planning to file for divorce. Cynthia decides not to actually and wants to save Louie from his addiction of alcohol and get him to pray. Louie leaves twice after being in the sermon for a few minutes until the third time he actually stayed. After the sermon, Louie experienced his last flashback of the war, realized he was just “Unbroken”, and dumped out all his alcohol once he got home. He then becomes a religious speaker and finds peace within himself.

    Over the book, there was a lot of change with Louie. He starts off by being an olympic runner who is very passionate about the sport and plans to run in another olympic games until it being cancelled. His life changed after he was drafted into the army and survived a deadly plane crash where he and one other survived. After being put through hell and back at multiple internment camps in Japan, his life really did change forever. One thing that never changed though was the endless love his parents had for him and the hope that he was still alive the entire time. Louie was also known always as the olympic runner but never got special treatment because of it. Through the book there was a lot of change but not as much continuity.

    One thing I’d connect from APUSH to this was the two atomic bombs we dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Earlier in the year I remember having a debate/socratic seminar about the bombs being dropped and found it very interesting how there were so many sides and opinions towards the dropping of the bombs. Relating it to the book of my choice, once the men heard of the closing of the war due to the two bombs, they celebrated the victory in the internment camps. It was seemed to be that many people didn’t think America had to go to these extreme measures but many thought they did. Hundreds of thousands of civilians died due to the denotation of the bomb and as well from the radiation.

    Overall, I thought this book was amazing. I’d give it an A+. This biography was very well written and gave you every single detail which almost made you believe that you were in the story with Louis Zamperini. I felt that I got not only a good grasp of Louie’s story, but I also got more of an understanding of what Japan had contributed in the war and how these internment/execution camps work with American prisoners. I believe this book should be used for next year because it gives students more knowledge and understanding of what war was like in Japan in the eyes of an American soldier. I also find it crazy how he went from being an olympic athlete to being a soldier who went through the extremes in Japan during WWII.

  2. Adrienne Konopka

    a. They’ve finally narrowed down who they believe the body is and have named a women as the prime suspect and brought her to trial. The book has a lot going on, with competing newspapers adding to a lot of disarray. The story kind of seems like it’s filled with a bunch of unnecessary things. It’s taken a while for them to figure out who the body was and who to take to trial, and basically nothing else has happened. There doesn’t really seem to be much bias in this book. It is told historically accurately in relation to the gilded age. It reports how life was accurately, with the wealthy and the poor. The story itself is an actual murder that happened, but since the author obviously doesn’t know everything that was said exactly, some of the conversations and maybe some of the people are made up.

    b. I’m going to compare the time period the book is set in to current day. This book is set in the gilded age, which was from about 1860-1890. In the gilded age many of the large corporations were controlled by “bosses”, whereas now that’s not the case. However, there’s still many similarities. The major corporations are a monopoly and it’s still the case that if you have money you’ll be in charge of something. Money talks. There’s still lots of corruption today, but it is not as rampant as it once was. The poor was very poor and the wealthy was very wealthy. That’s still true today, but that gap has diminished somewhat.

    c. Pulitzer and Hearst were the editors of the World and the Journal. These weren’t like the newspapers we have today. They were a lot of yellow journalism, which we learned about in apush. They focused on sensational headlines and wanted to evoke an emotional response from the readers. They make their sales by making the readers feel like they had to pick up that newspaper. In the novel, they used many yellow journalism techniques. They sensationalized the murder and dragged people’s names through the mud, regardless of whether or not they actually committed the crime, or even if there was substantial, or any, evidence against them. Yellow journalism is still here today, although it’s more seen on social media then on newspapers.

    d. Overall, this book was very good. It kept my attention and it did a good job building upon the story and the characters. However, I didn’t feel especially attached to the story or any one character. At parts the story was a little slow, and it seemed like there was a lot of extra stuff in the book that didn’t need to be there. Overall I would give this book a B, because of the above reasons. I didn’t feel attached to a certain character because the book was told from third person and didn’t really stay on one person or place. It’s hard to become attached to a person when the only real person that was focused on was the alleged murderer.

  3. Abby N

    Maxie works in the Black Panther office and monitors documents for the Black Panther Society. They set up rehabilitation-like programs to heal inner-city youth get on their feet and not be lead down the wrong path. She is inspired and wants to continue working for the society but feels working in the office is never going to help her achieve her goal of becoming a full fledged member of the society. Working in the Black Panther office gives her purpose and fuels her passion for the society as it is, she eventually wants to be trained as a Panther soldier and help inner-city youth like the Black Panthers did for her. In this section of the book, I have not examined any bias and did further research into the programs a classes the author mentions helped Maxie. It was interesting to me to learn that those programs turned out to be historically accurate and actual programs that Panthers had been involved in.
    During the height of the CRA, the Black Panthers were seen as a disease and further continued the stereotype of the “violent” African Americans. The perspective the author gives is much different and shows how the Panthers protected inner-city youth and created classes and programs in order to educate them. Although the Panthers did have a somewhat violent streak, most of the police forces used against protestors of the time also had a violent streak. The Panthers efforts to resolve segregation and eliminate racial stereotypes is a story that has not been examined as heavily as it could have, and could create a better understanding of race groups of the time.
    This connects to the counterculture of the 1970s, even though the book takes place in 1968. Elvis Presley was an influence to young teens, despite the growing concern over rock and roll music in the 1970s. Many parents saw Elvis as “obscene” and prohibited their kids from listening to his music and attending his concerts. Despite the concern, Elvis gained a large fan base and is considered one of the greatest musicians of the time. This connects to Fire in the Streets because it shows how influential a counterculture can be. In 1968, the Black Panther’s were the counterculture and many people tried to eliminate them to the best of their ability. Despite this, they continued to thrive and create a large following of African Americans and integration supporters from across the country, which evolved into a more politically powerful society.
    Currently, I think my book will dive deeper into the riots of the late 1960s and the effects it has on a young, influential girl. Maxie may have to make a difficult choice about where she thinks the Black Panthers will go and what she wants to continue doing. Because she only works in the office now, she may have to prove her loyalty to the society more, which could cause a conflict internally or with her family or friends. The interesting perspective the author gives is the fact that the main character is young, which offers the events in a much more naive perspective.

    In my book, Maxie was faced with the difficult decision of her family, who she has known for her whole life, or the Black Panther Society, who she is devoted to and wants to continue the ideals of. This choice not only caused conflict within her family, but mostly within herself. She knew information that could cause her to possibly be a leading member in her division of the Black Panthers but would destroy every aspect of her family. She was faced with the internal struggle to come forward with the information and along the way severed her relationship with her family. Maxie was obviously going through a serious issue, she felt she had been lied to and betrayed by her family member who she found out was a spy and leaking information about the Black Panther Society. Her decisions not only defined the end of the book, but also the character Maxie herself as it shows where her morals lie.
    The cause and effects had a significant role in the book. Because Maxie found out the information she did, it caused her to lose trust with much of her family, which caused her to struggle with whether or not to come forward with the information in general. If she denied the information, the Black Panther Society could be put in danger, but her family would remain intact and safe. If she came forward with the information, she might have the ability to be appointed as a higher position in the Society, with her ultimate goal of being a guard. However, her family would be broken and unable to be repaired. Maxie must think of all the possible outcomes and how they would affect her future, weighing the causes and effects and how they could impact her, her family, the society, and her future as a whole.
    This part of the novel connects with the race riots we have studied. Towards the end, Maxie is personally affected by the riots, which was interesting to be seen told in the perspective of a 14 year old girl. In APUSH, we studied the riots as a whole as something that happened. In the Fire in the Streets, readers learn how the riots had a personal effect on people’s lives and how those things would affect her decisions in the book. It was an interesting perspective to read, as Maxie was an obvious supporter of the Black Panthers’ and was therefore focusing mainly on them. Maxie had a difficult time fathoming how something like this could be happening in Chicago, her hometown, yet describes the riots in vivid detail and the violence surrounding them. Maxie explains the Democratic National Convention riots and how the police handled them in a more personal way than studying what happened did.
    In the end, I give the book an A because it explains how race relations, the Black Panther Society, and internal struggles helped define a girl in inner-city Chicago. Throughout the novel, the character Maxie progresses and eventually becomes a strong heroine that can be defined through this coming of age novel. Her choices, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, all switch from that of a highly influential girl to that of a strong and independent woman, despite her age remaining constant throughout the novel. I give the book an A because it is historically accurate and tries to eliminate author bias, instead making it seem as if it is the character’s thoughts. Many of the programs and services mentioned by the author that the Black Panther Society did was historically accurate which gave great context to time periods we have discussed in APUSH. I also gave it an A because it deals with things that we are still dealing with today, including police brutality and gun violence, which gave insight as to things we can do in order to prevent tragedies from happening. Overall, I would recommend people to read this book and to study it in depth.

  4. Sam Grasl

    Sam Grasl
    Mr. Wickersham, B16
    APUSH C, 5th

    Book Assignment #3 : The Autobiography of Malcolm X

    Before I begin, I must mention that I did not complete this book in time. I made it roughly half way. When we left off Malcolm was working at a bar, a bar where the hustlers hanged out. By this time Malcolm made a “new” best friend, Sammy; the owner of the bar and “profession hustler”. He was known for running a prostitution ring. There were very few rules that Sammy had for his bar, one of them was to never offer a lady to a Soldier. And guess what Malcolm did. “One afternoon in early 1943, before the regular six o’clock crowd had gathered, a black soldier sat drinking by himself at one of my tables. He must have been there an hour or more. He looked dumb and pitiful and just from the Deep South. The fourth or fifth drink I served this soldier, wiping the table I bent over close and asked him if he wanted a woman. I knew better. It wasn’t only Small’s Paradise law, it was the law of every tavern that wanted to stay in business- never get involved with anything that could be interpreted as ‘impairing the morals’ of servicemen,…” (Malcolm X, 99-100). And to make it any worse, the “soldier” was an undercover cop. This lead to Malcolm quitting his job at Small’s Paradise, and to replace his lost income, Malcolm became a reefer (weed) dealer. All things were going well, the cops would give him trouble every once in awhile, but nothing else really. But then they got tougher and more evasive. To get out of this, Malcolm decided to sell on trains and other areas. But he couldn’t afford the constant loss of money spending on tickets; then he remembered… he still had his railroad identification card from back in the day when he used to work there. “I found that if you walked up and showed a railroads line’s employee identification card, the conductor- even a real cracker, if you approached him right, not begging- would just wave you aboard. And when he came around he would punch you one of those little coach seat slips to ride wherever the train went” (Malcolm X, 106). Profits soared, Malcolm sold to touring musicians (he later became friends with), and people on the train. But then one day Malcolm got drafted, he was due to report ten days after receiving letter. There were three things that scared Malcolm back in those days, a job, jail, and the Army. He was desperate to get out of war. “The day I went down there, I costumed like an actor. With my wild zoot suit i wore the yellow knob-toe shoes, and i frizzled my hair up into a reddish bush of conk” (Malcolm X, 108). He used his most “ghetto” accent he knew, speaking in all slang, and ending every sentence with “daddy-oo”. He was the most enthusiastic s.o.b. You’ll ever meet; a little too excited. Crazy even. He was sent to the psychiatrist even, where he really kicked it up a notch. After a while… “And then I bent and whispered fast in his ear. ‘Daddy-o, now you and me, we’re from up North here, so don’t you tell nobody… I want to get sent down South. Organize the n*****r soldiers, you dig? Steal us some guns, and kill us cracker!” (Malcolm X, 110). His plan worked wonderfully, and was sent an “4-F” in the mail. Now it was back to hustling, but sadly he was caught in mid-scam. These two big irish cops were tipped and searched Malcolm, and told him to never enter Grand Central again unless he had a ticket to ride somewhere. His days of free transportation and reefer selling were over. Within the next 8 months of this event, Malcolm became involved in robberies, first by himself, but was then accompanied by Sammy. Fast forwarding roughly 6 months later Malcolm and Sammy are interrupted by West Indian Archie, a superior and deadly hustler and gang leader. Archie believes that Malcolm and Sam had stolen from him! And he did not take it lightly, putting his gun pressed against Malcolms forehead, demanding his money… and that’s where i ended on a cliffhanger.

    In this segment of reading, cause and effect was a major part of Malcolm’s following years. I say this for if Malcolm never of had his slip up…(offering a woman to and undercover agent portraying as an depressed American soldier) he would have never of gone on the “run” and his life would be completely differently and definitely more stable and safe. And because of his “offering” the cops have kept an eye on Malcolm ever since, for good reason. Because of this event, Malcolm became the following: a drug dealer, a scam artist, a armed thief, a runner (communicated beating numbers). All of these included illegal acts or were illegal in general.

    This segment of the reading can be once again tied into WWII and its draft, for it showed how people would do anything to get out of the draft. Last time it was taking harmful drugs and medications of the sorts that would physically make them unable to serve in combat. This time it was incredible acting skills. Malcolm and many others would act like complete psychopaths in order to get out of serving. For how could you be trusted with a fellow brothers life when you can’t protect your own. Or have the mental capacity to follow orders and to listen. This reminds me of the Vietnam War draft; on how people would find loopholes to not have to serve or be claimed to be non-eligible to serve. Such as some of our past presidents like Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, or even Bush (the first one).

    Although i did not finish the book yet, my evaluations of the book is amazing. It shows how Malcolm became the amazing man he was killed as. It’s ironic, both he and his father were assassinated for preaching the equality of man. My predictions were mostly off, the only thing i did get right was that Malcolm was going to get involved with illegal matters. This book at its halfway mark has earned an sold “A” in my grade book, and i plan to finish it over the following few weeks. For sure a book that everyone needs to own should read it at least once in their life. Before of i read (Part of) this book, i always thought that Malcolm X was this violence happy civil right activists, the lost brother of MLK. what i mean by this was that i knew that he and MLK fought for the same goal, but they took complete different approaches as to how to get there. I see now that i couldn’t of been further than the truth.

  5. Graham

    Graham Hupp
    The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc
    Douglas Brinkley

    As we go deeper into the belly of the beast which is the novel The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc, we begin to receive different view points during the time of the war following the ranger battalion. The view point that is most dominant during this part of the book is the view of Peggy Noonan who wrote the “The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc” speech for late president Ronald Reagan which was a very famous and powerful speech that Reagan gave during his presidency. The section of the book talks about the coming up of Mrs. Noonan as well as the journey into finding the informatio for the said speech and the novel goes into depth about the information that was found as well as giving flashbacks to the raid onto Pointe Du Hoc by the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion as they had fixed the previous problem of the soaked climbing ropes and had finally reached the point in the cliffs and how they slowly made their way up as enemies fired at them and threw grenades at them. However, these soldiers did not care and continued to climb to matter the situation (ropes being cut, comrade falling, etc) and eventually making it to the top where their numbers (originally two hundred and fifteen) were cut down the around ninety soldiers after multiple days of fighting but they had still done the job and made it up. The novel also explains all of the preparation that Mrs. Noonan had taken to write up the moving speech which late president Reagan eventually read in front of the American nation. The novel even explains how one of the largest problems of the speech was going to be the way the Ronald Reagan pronounced “Pointe Du Hoc” (Hoc or “Hawk”)! After the speech was green lighted and Noonan had finally finished with all her research, Reagan was given the speech to say in front of the American people to commemorate the amazing actions of the soldiers on June sixth nineteen forty four as they were a large turning point for the storming of the beaches of normandy which was the main attack on that day but the soldiers at Pointe Du Hoc aided in the destruction of aided protection for the axis (german) forces during the time of world war two. This again ties into the successful mission of D-Day for American forces but it can also be tied to the popularity of President Reagan as he was highly commended for the speech he gave for the remaining veterans of the faithful day in june long ago. I predict the story will finish with the positive outcome of the speech Reagan had given and the career paths that Noonan a quite large character in the novel (fitting because she wrote the speech which sparked the novel) did after she received praise for the speech she had written for the late president Reagan. I also predict that the story will again have flashbacks to the raids of the cliffs of pointe du hoc by the soldiers.

  6. Jana Dinkeloo

    Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

    William McKinley was shot at a meet and greet on September 6th, 1901. As he shook people’s hands, Leo Czolgosz hid a revolver in a bandage on his hand, and when McKinley reached to shake Leo’s hand, he shot him in the stomach twice before he was tackled by one of McKinley’s guards. It’s revealed that five months before, an anonymous column in the New York Journal said that if it came down to it, McKinley would have to be killed, and a rumor was spread that Leo had it in his pocket when he killed McKinley, putting blame towards William Randolph Hearst. The book then turns to McKinley’s initial hesitation, and consequent warming up to going into the Spanish American war, and then expansion. He debated with giving the Philippines independence or taking them for ourselves, and we know how that turned out in the end. Apparently Czolgosz disliked the idea of getting the Philippines, telling another anarchist that fighting with them doesn’t work with our teaching of the flag. When Czolgosz was caught and executed, Thomas Edison badly wanted to film his execution by electric chair, but he was denied, so his company filmed a cheesy reenactment. How very Green-Mile esque of them. Czolgosz had a sad childhood, and worked in factories with his family when he could. Not even the satire musical about Assassins could make him seem happier. He was inspired heavily by anarchist Emma Goldman, and he made it his goal to take down McKinley, which he eventually succeeded at. McKinley died at 2:15 on September 14th.

    2.) Something noticeable throughout the book is the cause and effect aspect of it. Vowell starts out with the story of the assassination (the effect), and then moves backward and starts with the lead up to the assassination all the way to the death of the president who was assassinated. This gives the reader a look at why the assassin did what they did and what influenced them to do such an evil thing.

    3.) Lots of this section focuses on the Spanish American War, the fight for the Philippines, and the sinking of the Maine, not necessarily in that order. With the sinking of the Maine comes allusions to yellow journalism, and William Randolph Hearst’s role in striking up media frenzies and public outrage when things like the sinking of the Maine occurred. He would take rumors, like the rumor that Cuba had bombed the Maine, and make it his headline for as long as he could. This was a contributor to the War because it increased public outrage at attacks on our country.

    4.) I would give this book an A-. I thought it was really interesting, with a witty and funny writing style that gets a little morbid but is still incredibly entertaining. It gives lots of insight to things we kind of skimmed over in class, and connects events to things in the past and future, like with Timothy McVeigh and Sic Semper Tyrannis. It could get a little slow at times, and people may find Vowell’s sheer obsession with assassins really strange, because even I felt it at times. I would recommend to keep this book next year, especially if kids are interested in crimes and assassinations, because this books gives lots of backstory on the assassins without idolizing them.

  7. Devin Roberts

    In this chapter, Dr. Dyson speaks to the power and impact of Black speech (Black Rhetoric) both within the black community and the global community. Dr. Dyson allow readers into the hearts and minds of Black America as he attempts to explain the religious, social and cultural pathology that created the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Dr. Martin Luther King and Jeremiah Wright that eventually influenced President Barack Obama. Dr. Dyson likens the religious ethos of Jeremiah Wright to Dr. King. Dyson writes, “The truth is that Wright and King share the same prophetic outlook and read politics and history through a similar biblical lens.” Dyson goes on to argue that both President Obama and Wright “emphasize King’s split mind on race…King at first thought whites could be persuaded to change, but he grew to believe in the later years of his life that transformation had to be forced.” According to Dyson, this is where the comparison between King and president Obama should end. Dyson argues that King developed an oratorical strategy that allowed him to be more transparent with Black audiences than with white audiences. Dyson articulates that the contradiction of the Obama and King comparisons is that, “Martin Luther King Jr., the leader of his people, prophesied social change as an American Moses; Obama sought to become the nation’s leader, America’s Pharaoh.” This contradiction has proven to be difficult both for President Obama to reconcile and for the African blooded (specifically the American born African).

    Whether it was President Obama at the White House Correspondents Dinner joking about singing better than Al Green or him at a campaign speech in Sumter, South California, evoking language of the late Malcolm X, saying, “They try to bamboozle you. Hoodwink ya. Try to hoodwink ya. All right, I’m having too much fun here,” President Obama represented someone who Dyson argues could play, “to inside-group understanding even as he campaigned in the white mainstream.” Dyson argues that the Malcolm reference was risky for the presidential candidate at that moment because Obama was defending himself against the accusations of being a closeted Muslim and here he was flexing his ability to code switch and quote the most famous Black Muslim in American history. Dyson highlights other examples such as Obama’s reference to listening to Young Jeezy in his second term and dapping his wife during the 2008 campaign (that caused a national uproar) to drive home the rhetorical depths of President Obama, that was a direct extension of his blackness.

    B: I think that this goes back to the civil rights movement because it invoked MLK and many other black leaders that were involved in the civil rights movement. He talks about MLK and Obama and how the transformation on how people had to think about race that is contextualization and periodization and that is also a turning point because it talks about two different black leaders from two different generations.

    C: I think that this book will continue to go into Obama and how he made all people both black and white rethink blackness and black people in general in the mainstream American thought.

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