Reference Book of the Week: Milestone Documents in American History
- An overview gives you a quick summary of the document and why it is important.
- The context places it in its historical time.
- You get a note about the document's author.
- A time line of key events related to the document.
- An explanation and analysis of the document.
- An audience note discusses the audience of the time. Who was this document addressing?
- The impact note tells us the historical influence, or why we still read it now.
- a references list for further reading.
In conclusion, this may be the best reason to look at this work: "understanding these historical documents and their context will prepare students to better appreciate the complexities of the twenty-first century" (from the Introduction, xv). In this month when the United States celebrates its birthday as a nation, what better way to celebrate than to look at the documents that shaped the nation? This is an excellent tool to go back and read the words that have empowered the nation (like Cesar Chavez's Commonwealth Address), the words that have moved so many people (say JFK's Inaugural Address), the words that at times were shameful (for example, the Chinese Exclusion Act). It is also a great tool for students studying rhetoric, history, and communications. And while some readers may argue why some other primary document was not included, the book serves as a very good starting point.
The set can be found in the library's Reference Collection in the second floor. The call number is E173 .M62 2008.