October 17, 2006


Saw this on MSNBC today: A new study finds that even top undergraduates are woefully ignorant of history and civic government

I can't say I'm surprised at all. My college GPA was a 3.92 and I missed a couple on the sample test. Embarrassing. And my college did a pretty good job of forcing us to take a variety of courses. Still, even with all those requirements I never had to take economics, statistics, or anything like geography. I think we do a disservice to students by filling their schedules with stuff like "Environmental Global Warming" or "Gender and the Law". I took a class on serial killers, so now I know more than the average person about Ted Bundy but cringed when I got asked a question about the Revolutionary War. That's sad, but I have no one to blame but myself. I just wasn't mature enough from age 18 to 22 to take anything that wasn't fun. Fat lot of good my Russian literature and Japanese classes have done me since.

By the way, I've been looking for a good US history book because I think I could really use a refresher. Anyone out there have any suggestions?

Posted by Sarah at October 17, 2006 09:18 PM | TrackBack

I just took the sample test, got all eight correct. I will admit that until the last presidential election cycle I would have gotten a couple wrong too Sarah.

Posted by: BubbaBoBobBrain at October 17, 2006 10:52 PM

I've been reading on and off for 2 years (because I've reading more than one book at a time) "A Patriot's History of the United States" By Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen. Stay away from Howard Zinn's alternative, A People's History of the US.

Posted by: Chuck at October 17, 2006 11:09 PM

Howard Zin _The People's History_. Just thumb through it Sarah. Just thumb through it.

Posted by: Bob at October 17, 2006 11:16 PM

Just find a book with dates and names. The rest is bias.

Posted by: Will at October 18, 2006 12:22 AM

I also missed 2 of them, but thats because i miss read the answer on one of them, but it would still be wrong on a real test. seeing that only 50% got most of them right, was rather scary.

Posted by: dagamore at October 18, 2006 04:41 AM

I think that Ken Davis (author of books that start with "Don't Know Much About..") Has a book on US history. I know I read one a few years back on geography and if I recall correctly, it was a good overview...

Posted by: jck at October 18, 2006 08:00 AM

William Bennett's The Last Best Hope (Vol I): From the Age of Discovery to a World at War is an excellent history of the U.S.A. Unfortunately, Bennett hasn't published Volume II yet. I highly recommend it -- it is well-written, concise, and quite entertaining (not something you'd expect in a history book).

Posted by: Dave at October 18, 2006 09:33 AM

How about The Cartoon History of the United States?

Posted by: Deskmerc at October 18, 2006 11:03 AM

How's this for failure? I've turned off all the blockers and I still can't figure out how to get to the fricking test. I just get the photo and a link that takes me back to the photo.

Posted by: Oda Mae at October 19, 2006 01:46 AM

Not a book but a site http://home.wi.rr.com/rickgardiner/primarysources.htm

I love spending time there you will too!

Posted by: gopop at October 21, 2006 11:05 PM