A History of US

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A History of US
Author Joy Hakim
Subject United States History
Publisher Oxford University Press
Publication date
1995 (1st ed.)

A History of US is a ten-volume (and one sourcebook) historical book series for children, written by Joy Hakim and first published in its entirety in 1995. The series is published by the US branch of Oxford University Press and is currently in its third edition. Originally conceived as a trade children's series, the books quickly found fans among classroom teachers; in response to the prompting of educators Oxford University Press developed ancillary teaching materials to accompany the series. Branded as 'alternatives to traditional textbooks' the series is regularly used in both public and private schools, usually in middle school classes. The books are all written in a personal tone, as if the author were a storyteller. The texts have been released to ample praise by teachers, home-schoolers, students, and many others. The series has won the James A. Michener Award in Writing and the Parent's Choice Gold Award.


The books are titled:

  1. The First Americans: Prehistory–1600
  2. Making Thirteen Colonies: 1600–1740
  3. From Colonies to Country: 1735–1791
  4. The New Nation: 1789–1850
  5. Liberty for All? 1820–1860
  6. War, Terrible War: 1855–1865
  7. Reconstructing America: 1865–1890
  8. An Age of Extremes: 1880–1917
  9. War, Peace, And All That Jazz: 1918–1945
  10. All the People: Since 1945

The eleventh volume is a sourcebook and index, containing full text of the primary sources—usually government documents, speeches, or famous writings—referenced throughout the series and words.


The series won the James A. Michener Award in Writing from the National Council of the Social Studies in 1997 and the Parents' Choice Gold Award in 1995 for a Reference book for ages 9–12.[1] The series has sold millions of copies and was accepted as a textbook in several U.S. states.[2] David McCullough, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of history books, praised A History of US before a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing in 2005.[3]

Although it has received positive reviews from most people, several others have criticized the works for its biased political orientation and personal voice.[4]

A series of reviews in 2000–2001 in The Textbook Letter, a publication of the Textbook League, criticized various aspects of the first two books of A History of US. In a review of volume 2, Making Thirteen Colonies: 1600–1740, Alice Whealey noted many claims regarding the history of Western civilization as erroneous, focusing on republicanism, Moorish Spain, and Abrahamic religious stories presented as fact.[5] Also regarding volume 2, Earl Hautala wrote that Hakim's inclusion of the Bible stories of Abraham and Moses is unjustified and incorrect from both a Biblical and a non-Biblical perspective.[6] William J. Bennetta argued that volume 1, The First Americans: Prehistory–1600, presented a politicized multicultural view of early history.[7][8]


  1. "A History of Us: The Story of America". Parents' Choice Awards. Parents' Choice. Retrieved March 13, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. May, Michael (September 13, 2002). "Making Everyone Happy: The state textbook review process blends homogenized boredom". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved March 13, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "U.S. History: Our Worst Subject?". Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. June 30, 2005. Retrieved March 13, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Ravitch, Diane (2003). The Language Police. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 100–104. ISBN 0-375-41482-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Whealey, Alice. "Joy Hakim Should Not Write About the History of Europe". The Textbook Letter. 12 (1).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Hautala, Earl (March–April 2000). "Textbook-Writers Promote Religious Tales as "History"". The Textbook Letter. 11 (1).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Bennetta, William J. (March–April 2000). "Multi-Culti Joy". The Textbook Letter. 11 (1).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Bennetta, William J. (July–August 2000). "More Hokum from Hakim". The Textbook Letter. 11 (3).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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