The Handy American History Answer Book

, Jr. 450p. (The Handy Answer Book). bibliog. illus. index. photos. Visible Ink. 2015. pap. $21.95. ISBN 9781578594719; ebk. ISBN 9781578595471.
Gr 10 Up—Hudson provides a largely conventional "war and politics" survey of U.S. history. Like other volumes in this series, topics are presented in question-and-answer format. The work reads like an encyclopedia, following the course of American history in chronological order, beginning with the colonial period and concluding with the Obama administration. Subjects such as sports and popular culture are tacked on as final chapters, and these entries discuss movies, pop stars, and athletes. Photographs and illustrations, ranging in size from a quarter to a full page, are scattered throughout. Individual chapters are broken down into more specific subheadings. Some of the entry questions feel organic ("What was the Emancipation Proclamation?"), while others come off as somewhat forced ("What major law signed by President William Howard Taft (1857–1930) gave the federal government greater control over railroad rates?"). The work devotes only a few pages to pre-Columbian Native American civilizations before it dives into the colonial period: a serious omission. Nevertheless, this volume succeeds as a history reference for school projects.
VERDICT A supplemental history reference for middle and high school libraries.

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