AP U.S. History
Welcome to AP U.S. History! This is the course where we get to unpack the complex, frustrating, and fascinating history of our own place in the world. This is a demanding course and requires that students are committed to reading, and learning United States history. In order to score well on the AP Exam, students need to retain what they learn all year. Facts are crucial to success in this AP course, as dictated by the Advanced Placement Board.
Our textbook is Give Me Liberty! (AP Edition) by Eric Foner, and you will be required to read ca. 700 pages over the course of the school year. In addition, all AP students are expected to be ‘well read’ on primary materials; in other words, we need to read what authors who lived at the time wrote. We will do some of this in class, but the biggest piece is your summer reading assignment.
Listen to a Podcast
Listen to “In the Past Lane” by historian Edward T. O’Donnell, who specializes in the Gilded Age. His podcast covers the entire scope of American history, but he has three episodes specifically dedicated to an overview of the Gilded Age, which will help to set the stage for the book you will read this summer. Each episode is about 25 minutes long. Listen actively, but you do not need to take notes.
You can access this Podcast through iTunes, the Apple Podcast app, Stitcher, or the Google Play app. They are free to download. You can also play it through www.inthepastlane.com (use the Episode Search bar at the bottom).
Read A Book
Read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. You may check this out from a library or get a cheap copy at a used book store. The edition does not matter. This book was written by a journalist from the Gilded Age, who was focused on exposing the poor working and living conditions faced by workers in cities. The Gilded Age is a time period the AP Board considers very significant (chapters 23-28 in your text).
Come prepared to answer a series of short answer prompts about the book and the Gilded Age on the first full day of class. You will be given excerpts from the text for each question and you must be able to identify major plot points, characters, and settings. You will need to be able to contextualize the book within the broader Gilded Age (this should be possible with the information provided by the Podcast).
Purchase a Review Book
Finally, I encourage you to purchase an APUSH review book (used is fine, but note that the test format changed for the 2018 AP Exam administration, so the more recent the review book, the better it will reflect the updated test format). Most varieties will be useful, including Princeton Review, 5 Steps to a 5, and Kaplan, among others. Do not get the CliffsNotes review – it’s not as helpful.
You may contact me at any point this summer if you have questions or are struggling to complete the assignment. My email is email@example.com. I am around most of the summer.
See you in August!
Ms. Laura Wilson