Rebels and Landmarks: 15 New U.S. History Series

Engage students in conversations about our nation’s past, and what it means for our future, with these volumes.

Wars, western expansion, and historic sites are common subjects among U.S. history series this year. While several are sufficient for reports alone, others are surprisingly engaging. Readers will learn about the Constitution, historical landmarks, Native American history, and more. Young readers will glean introductory information from books with colorful photographs and simple text, while older students will acquire knowledge for reports, and, in some instances, enjoy the read at the same time.


Barousse, Jason. The Internal Revenue Service: Why U.S. Citizens Pay Taxes. ISBN 9781508161417; ISBN 9781508161394.

Hillard, Stephane. The U.S. Capitol: The History of U.S. Congress. ISBN 9781508160991; ISBN 9781508160977.

Khalid, Jinnow. Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. ISBN 9781508160953; ISBN 9781508160939.

Uphall, Margaret. The U.S. Postal Service: The History of America’s Mail System. ISBN 9781508161073; ISBN 9781508161059.

Vox, Everett. The U.S. Mint: The History of U.S. Money. ISBN 9781508161035; ISBN 9781508161011.

ea vol: 24p. (Landmarks of Democracy: American Institutions). glossary. index. photos. websites. PowerKids. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $23.60. pap. $8.25.

Gr 2-5 –Five titles provide information and history on various U.S. institutions. All are full of solid information; for instance, in Arlington National Cemetery readers learn of the history of the site, including famous burials and the special guard for the tomb. The U.S. Capitol recounts the history the building, and The U.S. Postal Service tells the story of the mail service, including the Pony Express. Despite their brevity (each is less than 30 pages), these books are straightforward and comprehensive. Each includes colorful images. VERDICT Suitable additions to school and public libraries.

Bell, Samantha S. Traditional Stories of the California Nations. ISBN 9781532111716.

––––. Traditional Stories of the Southwest Nations. ISBN 9781532111778.

Mooney, Carla. Traditional Stories of the Great Basin and Plateau Nations. ISBN 9781532111723.

––––. Traditional Stories of the Southeast ­Nations. ISBN 9781532111761.

Powell, Marie. Traditional Stories of the Arctic and Subarctic Nations. ISBN 9781532111709.

––––. Traditional Stories of the Plains Nations. ISBN 9781532111754.

Yasuda, Anita. Traditional Stories of the Northeast Nations. ISBN 9781532111730.

––––. Traditional Stories of the Northwest Coast Nations. ISBN 9781532111747.

ea vol: 48p. (Native American Oral Histories). further reading. glossary. index. maps. photos. websites. ABDO. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $32.79.

Gr 3-6 –These volumes, organized by region, introduce various traditional stories belonging to a number of American Indian nations. Oral traditions are presented as a way for people to communicate and preserve their history. Common threads throughout the books include creation stories and the anthropomorphizing of animals in an effort to explain the world. Each title contains three stories that are summarized at the end. Geographical and historical information is also included. Rather than standard retellings or more complex historical analysis, the series focuses on how traditional tales demonstrate cultural values. The text is enhanced by bright stock photographs. The prose is direct and easy to understand, if not necessarily inspiring. Each title lists a “content consultant.” ­VERDICT Those seeking ­in-depth information would do better to look elsewhere.

Blashfield, Jean F. The Amazing Lewis and Clark Expedition. ISBN 9781515771203; ISBN 9781515771418.

––––. The California Gold Rush and the ‘49ers. ISBN 9781515771166; ISBN 9781515771395.

Quiri, Patricia R. The Groundbreaking Pony Express. ISBN 9781515771159; ISBN 9781515771388.

Williams, Jean K. The Perils of the Santa Fe Trail. ISBN 9781515771173; ISBN 9781515771401.

ea vol: 32p. (Landmarks in U.S. History). further reading. glossary. illus. index. maps. photos. reprods. websites. Capstone. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $27.32. pap. $7.95.

Gr 2-4 –These four volumes highlight key aspects of westward expansion. The texts are rather plain and are accompanied by brightly colored illustrations, reproductions of portrait paintings, and photographs. However, The Amazing Lewis and Clark Expedition features outdated-looking artist renderings of Native Americans. All four titles provide adequate introductions to their respective subjects. VERDICT The readable text makes this series, with the exception of The Amazing Lewis and Clark Expedition, a serviceable addition to public and school libraries.

Castellano, Peter. The American Revolution. ISBN 9781482460254; ISBN 9781482460230.

––––. The Civil War. ISBN 9781482460292; ISBN 9781482460278.

––––. The Declaration of Independence. ISBN 9781482460339; ISBN 9781482460315.

Jacobson, Bray. The Articles of Confederation. ISBN 9781482460377; ISBN 9781482460353.

––––. The Thirteen Colonies. ISBN 9781482460414; ISBN 9781482460391.

––––. The U.S. Constitution. ISBN 9781482460452; ISBN 9781482460438.

ea vol: 32p. (A Look at U.S. History). chron. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Gareth Stevens. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $26.60. pap. $10.50.

Gr 3-6 –In simple prose, each title provides a chronological presentation of its subject. Each volume is enhanced with well-known images, such as artist Archibald MacNeal Willard’s painting The Spirit of ‘76 in The American Revolution and pictures of Abraham Lincoln in The Civil War. However, the text in The Civil War tends to downplay slavery; for instance, “The Southern states’ economy was based on farming” and “Furthermore, they [the Confederates] were fighting for a cause—independence.” ­VERDICT Though the narrative may not be inspiring, these volumes, minus The Civil War, will be of use to teachers and report writers alike.

Clay, Kathryn. The Declaration of Independence. ISBN 9781515763550; ISBN 9781515763604.

––––. The U.S. Capitol. ISBN 9781515763543; ISBN 9781515763598.

––––. The White House. ISBN 9781515763567; ISBN 9781515763611.

ea vol: 32p. (Introducing Primary Sources). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Capstone. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $27.99. pap. $6.95.

K-Gr 2 –These three volumes introduce their respective subjects through clear prose. The Declaration of Independence details the beginning of the U.S. independence movement and analyzes various parts of the document. The U.S. Capitol provides pertinent facts about the building, such as how it “has 540 rooms, 658 windows, and 85 doorways.” This is followed by a history of the design, building, and damage in the War of 1812. Similar information is featured in The White House. Facts are presented in inserts, and the main text covers a good amount of information in a limited number of pages. VERDICT Will appeal to browsers and report writers alike.

Doeden, Matt. The U.S. Air Force. ISBN 9781515767541; ISBN 9781515767749.

––––. The U.S. Army. ISBN 9781515767732; ISBN 9781515767770.

Reed, Jennifer. The U.S. Marine Corps. ISBN 9781515767725; ISBN 9781515767763.

––––. The U.S. Navy. ISBN 9781515767558; ISBN 9781515767756.

ea vol: 24p. (The U.S. Military Branches). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Capstone. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $26.65. pap. $6.95.

K-Gr 2 –This series provides young readers with a simplified introduction to the armed services. Presenting basic information with sentences such as “People in the Army are called soldiers” and “They risk their lives for their country,” these useful volumes will appeal to kids enthusiastic about the U.S. military. The series describes the various jobs assigned to airmen, soldiers, marines, and sailors as well as the equipment used. Readers learn of Abrams tanks, the B-2 Spirit Bomber, the MV-22 Osprey helicopter, and more. Well-reproduced color photographs will attract youngsters as well. VERDICT A top choice wherever military books are popular.

Larson, Kirsten W. The Second Amendment: The Right to Bear Arms. ISBN 9781515771654; ISBN 9781515771784.

Micklos Jr., John. The First Amendment: Freedom of Speech and Religion. ISBN 9781515771647; ISBN 9781515771777.

––––. The Fourth Amendment: Civil Liberties. ISBN 9781515771630; ISBN 9781515771760.

Raum, Elizabeth. The Tenth Amendment: States’ Rights. ISBN 9781515771623; ISBN 9781515771753.

ea vol: 32p. (Cause and Effect: The Bill of Rights). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Capstone. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $27.32. pap. $7.95.

Gr 3-5 –These attractive volumes deftly analyze the causes and effects of the respective amendments. Each offers a brief overview of the issue involved, such as the history of guns in colonial America, and proceeds to list and examine the reasons behind each amendment. For instance, people did not want general warrants for searching their private property. Then the books delve into the subsequent laws and Supreme Court cases. Fast facts are included, such as “Pennsylvania was formed as a colony for people seeking religious freedom.” All of the books contain the entirety of the Bill of Rights. The writing is succinct, but the information is quite comprehensive. ­VERDICT Nicely done accounts of the history of the Bill of Rights. A valuable addition to school and public libraries.

Lee, Sally. The National Museum of Natural History. ISBN 9781515779780; ISBN 9781515779896.

Orr, Tamra. The National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. ISBN 9781515779803; ISBN 9781515779902.

Peterson, Megan Cooley. The National Air and Space Museum. ISBN 9781515779742; ISBN 9781515779872.

––––. The National Museum of American History. ISBN 9781515779766; ISBN 9781515779889.

ea vol: 32p. (Smithsonian Field Trips). chart. diag. glossary. maps. photos. websites. Capstone. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $27.99. pap. $7.95.

Gr 2-5 –These attractive, easy-to-read volumes present several of the highlights of the respective museums. In The National Air and Space Museum, readers learn of airplanes including the Spirit of St. Louis and objects from space exploration. The National Museum of Natural History contains dinosaur fossils and the Hope Diamond. Inserted throughout are “Did You Know” facts, such as “When mossy frogs are scared they curl up and play dead.” Colorful photographs accompany the information and are bound to attract readers fascinated by unusual trivia. VERDICT Elementary school browsers and report writers will gravitate toward this ­appealing take on U.S. history.

Mattern, Joanne. Ellis Island: Gateway to America. ISBN 9781634402224; ISBN 9781634402323.

––––. Fort McHenry: Our Flag Was Still There. ISBN 9781634402231; ISBN 9781634402330.

––––. The Gateway Arch: Celebrating Western Expansion. ISBN 9781634402286; ISBN 9781634402385.

––––. The Grand Canyon: This Place Rocks. ISBN 9781634402217; ISBN 9781634402316.

––––. Historic Williamsburg: A Revolutionary City. ISBN 9781634402194; ISBN 9781634402293.

––––. The Liberty Bell: History’s Silent Witness. ISBN 9781634402255; ISBN 9781634402354.

––––. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial: A Stone of Hope. ISBN 9781634402279; ISBN 9781634402378.

––––. Mount Rushmore: Faces of Our History. ISBN 9781634402262; ISBN 9781634402361.

––––. The Statue of Liberty: A Welcome Gift. ISBN 9781634402248; ISBN 9781634402347.

––––. Yellowstone: America’s First National Park. ISBN 9781634402200; ISBN 9781634402309.

ea vol: 32p. (Let’s Celebrate America). further reading. index. maps. photos. websites. Red Chair. Sept. 2017. lib. ed. $26.65. pap. $8.99.

Gr 2-5 –This series chronicles the development of well-known U.S. landmarks. Kids learn that the Gateway Arch is symbolic of St. Louis being a gateway to the west and that an artist named Lei Yixin was the sculptor of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. Handsome photographs are plentiful in all of the books, adding to their appeal. However, there are a few questionable moments. Mentions of American Indians in Yellowstone are spare, and the term enemy alien appears in the text and is listed in the glossary in Ellis Island. VERDICT An appealing design will make these popular introductions among those curious about U.S. history and geography.

Middle to High School

Bailey, Budd. The Transcontinental Railroad. ISBN 9781502626424.

Deibel, Zachary. Manifest Destiny and the Mexican-American War. ISBN 9781502626431.

––––. Native American Resistance. ISBN 9781502626448.

Klepeis, Alicia Z. Lewis and Clark and Exploring the Louisiana Purchase. ISBN 9781502626394.

Morretta, Alison. Homesteading and Settling the Frontier. ISBN 9781502626417.

Shoup, Kate. The Gold Rush. ISBN 9781502626400.

ea vol: 64p. (Primary Sources of Westward Expansion). bibliog. chron. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Cavendish Square. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $34.21.

Gr 8 Up –Common U.S. history topics are meticulously explored and analyzed, using primary sources in addition to contemporaneous newspaper accounts and public documents. The majority of each book provides a chronological narrative of events that also includes background information. While the subjects are of interest to the audience, the writing style is, unfortunately, dry, and much of the narratives is tedious. There is also a lot of emphasis on manifest destiny in several volumes. Photographs and maps complement the text but add little to it. VERDICT While report writers will benefit from the historical accuracy, those seeking livelier accounts would do better to look elsewhere.

Bryan, Bethany. The Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis. ISBN 9781502628633.

Capaccio, George. The Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine. ISBN 9781502627315.

Duling, Kaitlyn. Nuclear Proliferation, the Military-Industrial Complex, and the Arms Race. ISBN 9781502627308.

Hurt, Avery Elizabeth. Superpower Rivalries and Proxy Warfare. ISBN 9781502627292.

Miller, Caitlyn & Ann Byers. The Legacy of the Cold War. ISBN 9781502628657.

Richardson, Erik. NATO, the Warsaw Pact, and the Iron Curtain. ISBN 9781502627278.

Small, Cathleen. The Collapse of Communism and the Breakup of the Soviet Union. ISBN 9781502627285.

Wloszczyna, Susan. Sputnik and the Space Race. ISBN 9781502627322.

ea vol: 112p. (The Cold War Chronicles). bibliog. chron. further reading. index. photos. websites. Cavendish Square. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $42.79.

Gr 7 Up –A formulaic presentation, with slight variations among the books, covers the Cold War. Inserted throughout each title are spreads outlining related topics, such as “The Berlin Wall” in NATO, the Warsaw Pact, and the Iron Curtain, and these provide the most engaging reading. “Faces of the Cold War” offers brief biographies of many of the key players, from Harry Truman to Mikhail Gorbachev. While the information is good and little is omitted, each volume reads like a textbook. Much of the content overlaps; for example, biographies of Nikita Khrushchev are featured in five volumes. In each, photographs are few and far between. VERDICT Useful for report writers or those with the keenest interest in the topic.

Cornell, Kari. Mathew Brady Records the Civil War. ISBN 9781532110160.

Nardo, Don. Edward S. Curtis Chronicles Native Nations. ISBN 9781532110153.

Ringstad, Arnold. NASA Takes Photography into Space. ISBN 9781532110177.

Rowell, Rebecca. William Williams Documents Ellis Island Immigrants. ISBN 9781532110184.

ea vol: 112p. (Defining Images). glossary. index. photos. reprods. websites. ABDO. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $37.07.

Gr 6 Up –The stories of those involved in some of the most prominent photographs in U.S. history. Edward S. Curtis spent his career perpetuating stereotypes when he depicted Native Americans, Matthew Brady recorded the Civil War, astronauts took pictures from space, and Ellis Island workers photographed immigrants. The histories are matter-of-fact and comprehensive, and the featured photographers are realistically portrayed. Brady suffered money problems, and Williams was not even the photographer at Ellis Island but its controversial director. NASA Takes Photography into Space differs from the others in that the focus is on technological challenges. While the topics are intriguing, the narrative is dull and much of the content is available elsewhere. The pictures are reproduced well, but there are too few. VERDICT Uninteresting narratives makes these a secondary purchase at best.

Crompton, Samuel Willard. How Woodrow Wilson Fought World War I. ISBN 9780766085299.

Helwig, Laura. How Abraham Lincoln Fought the Civil War. ISBN 9780766085251.

Nagle, Jeanne. How George Washington Fought the Revolutionary War. ISBN 9780766085237.

Porterfield, Jason. How Lyndon B. Johnson Fought the Vietnam War. ISBN 9780766085312.

Rauf, Don. How George W. Bush Fought the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. ISBN 9780766085336.

Rice Jr., Earle. How Franklin D. Roosevelt Fought World War II. ISBN 9780766085275.

Torres, John A. How Barack Obama Fought the War on Terrorism. ISBN 9780766085350.

ea vol: 128p. (Presidents at War). photos. Enslow. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $37.27.

Gr 7 Up –Books on wars and presidents are always in demand, and these titles nicely combine both topics. Readers learn how each president prosecuted his respective war. Volumes contain an introduction to the time and conflict, followed by brief biographical information about the president. They then segue into a fairly comprehensive and interesting account of the conflicts and how the chief executives dealt with them on the political and military levels. Generally positive in tone, the books do discuss the negatives, such as Lincoln’s suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and Roosevelt’s internment of Japanese Americans. Inserts bring attention to related topics, such as the Taliban and trench warfare. Contemporary photographs enliven the text. VERDICT The well-written narratives will appeal to history buffs and will pleasantly surprise researchers.

Miller, Caitlyn & Matt Lang. Minority Soldiers Fighting in World War II. ISBN 9781502626646.

Miller, Caitlyn & Derek Miller. Minority Soldiers Fighting in the Korean War. ISBN 9781502626653.

Miller, Caitlyn & Joel Newsome. Minority Soldiers Fighting in the Civil War. ISBN 9781502626622.

Miller, Caitlyn & Eric Reeder. Minority Soldiers Fighting in the American Revolution. ISBN 9781502626615.

Miller, Caitlyn & Elizabeth Schmermund. Minority Soldiers Fighting in the Vietnam War. ISBN 9781502626660.

––––. Minority Soldiers Fighting in World War I. ISBN 9781502626639.

ea vol: 112p. (Fighting for Their Country: Minorities at War). bibliog. further reading. photos. websites. Cavendish Square. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $42.79.

Gr 7 Up –These volumes provide accounts of the respective conflicts, individual soldiers or units, and their postwar lives. Readers learn of the Revolutionary War spy James Lafayette, Cherokee Nation member and Confederate Stand Watie, and the Tuskegee Airmen. Though informative, there is overlap; several volumes explore topics such as slavery and Jim Crow laws. Glaring errors, such as Robert E. Lee’s surrender occurring on May 9, 1865, and Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination in the summer of 1918, are misleading. Though fairly comprehensive, with illustrations and photographs appropriately accompanying the text, the narrative is dry. The emphasis is mostly on the experience of African Americans with some time dedicated to Native Americans but little about Latinx or Asian Americans. VERDICT Errors, didactic writing, and the fact that most of the popular topics are covered elsewhere make these volumes of limited use.

Roxburgh, Ellis. The Amistad Revolt. ISBN 9781538207642; ISBN 9781538207703.

––––. Nat Turner’s Slave Rebellion. ISBN 9781538207659; ISBN 9781538207758.

––––. The Raid on Harpers Ferry. ISBN 9781538207666; ISBN 9781538207741.

––––. The Seminole Wars. ISBN 9781538207673; ISBN 9781538207734.

––––. Shays’ Rebellion. ISBN 9781538207680; ISBN 9781538207727.

––––. The Whiskey Rebellion. ISBN 9781538207697; ISBN 9781538207710.

ea vol: 48p. (Rebellions, Revolts, and Uprisings). photos. Gareth Stevens. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $31.95. pap. $14.05.

Gr 4-7 –Attractive titles that succinctly but comprehensively relate important rebellious moments in U.S. history. A common theme is human rights. The Amistad Rebellion and the raid on Harpers Ferry took stands against slavery while Shays’ Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion focused on unfair taxation. Background information is provided and followed by chronological narratives of the revolts. The accounts are fairly balanced—Nat Turner is presented sympathetically without glossing over the violence. Each concludes with a legacy evaluation, such as Shays’ Rebellion setting the stage for the U.S. Constitution and the raid on Harpers Ferry being a catalyst for the Civil War. The text is accessible and enhanced by illustrations and photographs (some contemporary). VERDICT Engaging, all-purpose titles for middle school collections.

Young readers will especially enjoy Capstone’s “Smithsonian Field Trips” and “Landmarks in U.S. History,” and PowerKids’ “Landmarks of Democracy.” They will likewise appreciate Capstone’s “Introducing Primary Sources” and “Cause and Effect: The Bill of Rights.” Older readers will be pleasantly surprised by the readability of Enslow’s “Presidents at War” and Gareth Stevens’s “Rebellions, Revolts, and Uprisings.”

Margaret Nunes, Gwinnett County Public Library, GA

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