Friday, November 12, 2010


Don’t know much about US history.

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Photo credit: Flickr

So I’m probably in the minority here…but, I value my high school education more than my college one. For me, college was a lesson in experience, and yes, I got a whole lot out of it. But I learned that practical life and career stuff. It’s the high school kind of learning that makes me feel…well, educated. Math equations and sentence structure and important dates and places….I like learning substantive information where you either know it or you don’t, instead of the analytical, subjective stuff you have to do in college where you’re measured against everyone else in your class.

Since it’s been about six years since high school, my brain has been aching for some learnin’. Therefore, I am embarking on a big reading project—Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.
I’ve had this book since senior year AP US History where we had to read excerpts here and there…and I thought it was so boring and pointless. I thought it was just my left-leaning, aged hippie history teacher trying to spread his “liberal agenda” to Tennessee’s 11th and 12th graders (because I was completely apolitical at the time and was wary of any side). And unfortunately for my teenage self, I completely lacked the analytical questioning skills required to read this book (didn’t learn those until college…so I guess I did get something out of it!), nor did I really care to spend the time on it. Please, it was SENIOR YEAR. I just wanted the facts I’d need for the AP test and then to get the hell out of there!
So now I am reading it chapter by chapter in full marginal note-taking mode. I’ll be taking this five chapters at a time and posting on every Friday. I have the 2003 edition, so there are 25 chapters. If anyone else is interested in embarking on this mission with me, as little or as much as you want, I invite you to join. The schedule I’ll (try to) stick to:

November 19: Chapters 1–5 — roughly, Columbus to Revolutionary War
November 26: Chapters 6–10 — Independence to the Civil War
December 3: Chapters 11–15 — Post-War to The Depression
December 10: Chapters 16–20 — WWII to the 1970s
December 17: Chapters 21–25 — The 1980s to the “War on Terror”


1 comment:

Kari said…

Despite Tennessee being "home," I've never been to Memphis. Is that the one at the Lorraine Motel? I know the hotel is featured in the roadtrip scene of Elizabethtown…haha.