A Primary Source History of U.S. Independence

9781491418420. ea vol: 32p. (Primary Source History). further reading. glossary. index. maps. photos. websites. Capstone. 2015. lib. ed. $26.65.
Gr 3–6—Well designed and informative, these books are ideal for those new to primary source documents. The fonts—large, plain, and bold—are offset by plain backgrounds. An apt and clearly captioned photograph appears on each page. "Critical Thinking" sidebars feature inquiries that encourage deeper consideration. In Dust Bowl, one sidebar describes how a period advertisement called the Midwest "'that garden of the world,'" then asks readers, "How might merchants and land developers have benefited by calling the area a garden?" The incorporation of primary sources adds not only academic value but a sense of immediacy as well, such as a quote in Slavery that provides a chilling account of what happened on a slave ship ("the slaves in the night were often heard making…a howling noise, something expressive of extreme anguish").
VERDICT Strong options for introducing the concept of primary source analysis.
Clear double-page spreads feature a variety of visual elements including charts, graphs, and maps; reproduced photographs and documents; and sidebars with critical-thinking questions. The series purports to promote the importance of primary source material, though the direct quotes in red font are injected rather unnaturally into the narratives. Still, these are adequate starting points for American history research. Bib., glos., ind. Review covers these Fact Finders: Primary Source History titles: A Primary Source History of U.S. Independence and A Primary Source History of Slavery in the United States.

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