Defining Documents in American History: The 1920s

Salem. 2014. 400p. ed. by . bibliog. index. ISBN 9781619254930. $175. REF
This collection of essays on 40 historical documents, many of them full text, is arranged chronologically and divided into ten sections, including "The Scopes Monkey Trial," "Women and the Modern World," and "Prohibition and Problems." Overall, the book is well laid out and easy to read. Each section includes an overview, a "defining moment" (how the event shaped and continues to shape America), a discussion of the documents within the section in the context of the times, themes, a glossary, and sources for additional reading. Sections run an average of 20–30 pages in length each, with material on Sacco and Vanzetti, for example, taking up nearly 50 pages and "Herbert Hoover Takes the Helm" seven. A high-quality appendix offers web resources, a bibliography, and a list of all the documents for quick reference. The index is average, though questions sometimes arise about how the entries are alphabetized—"St. Valentine's Day Massacre" is listed under ST rather than SA, for example.
VERDICT A solid introductory text for high school and early college students.

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