Apr 24, 2013

Immense Praise for Joy Hakim’s A History of US ~~~ Recycled Post

I have decided to recycle some of my reviews in order to help out those that are looking for resources and information for the upcoming "academic year".

I have previously reviewed Joy Hakim's Story of Science series and since I was so enamored by her writing, I bit the bullet and bought the 11 volume set A History of US for KM to use for her U.S. History studies. AM I EVER GLAD I DID!!! I had planned on glossing over the content so that I could figure out when I would need to order additional reading material and movies from our local library to supplement and ended up not being able to put the book down! I am no history buff, but this book captured my attention and I literally couldn't put it down.
I love that she points out what our family calls "duh" moments, things that when you are reading you think why doesn't every textbook take this approach. "When Leaders say something is all right, most people agree, without thinking for themselves." p.113
Hakim has a way of writing that just captivates and inspires you to want to keep reading. The story unfolds as if you are in a time machine looking down on what is going on. Her writing flows in an engaging and thought provoking way, as she constantly asks you to analyze and question what is being said in a conversational manner. She manages to cover even some of the more gruesome facts without getting graphic, which makes this a perfect multi-age resource.
Hakim challenges the reader to question history and emphasizes that "No one knows what happened in the past - at least we don't know the whole story"..."You gather pieces of information and try to discover how they fit." p. 9 
When I was in school I was never taught about anything before the Jamestown Settlement. Sure we were taught about Christopher Columbus sailing across the ocean blue in 1492, but they never mentioned all that went on from one point to the next, it was basically as if they left out the 16th century all together! In Hakim's text she is truly telling the story of US, beyond the United States, in direct relation to how the Americas were formed. Begining back with Beringia she has the audacity to discuss how there are actually no "NATIVE" Americans as we all came from somewhere else. She delves into the formation of settlements in the Central American islands, the Spanish conquests of Mexico and also defends the Indians, repeatedly making note of the "arrogant European" behaviors.
My favorite quote has to be - Looking back, today, it seems as if people and nations were acting just like silly little kids. Each one saying "My religion is better than yours." p. 139
I have only read the first volume, but I have already absorbed more information from this book than I did in my entire college semester of U.S. History. I highly recommend this series as a first rate, informative, intelligent text that will surely make a history lover out of the most resistant person.
I will be getting Volume 2 off the shelf as soon as I finish typing this!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~UPDATE --- We are nearly done with Book 5 at this point. KM and I are still totally engaged in this series. I love how every angle and point of view is touched on, so that you can get a feel for what life was really like for not just the rich, but the poor and the inbetweeners as well!!!

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