Your “Book Project Assignment” involves reading two different pieces. First is a book about some particular events issues, place, persons, industry, or technology in U.S. economic history. The second piece is some current news-type article on the Web.
Finding Your Book
So let’s start with the “book”. Actually, you need to start by thinking about what interests you. You could think of something that is either aligned with your career or life interests or your own family history. Or maybe it’s something you’ve found interesting in what you’ve read in this course already. The only restriction is that it be about something in the U.S. economic past. Try not to be too broad. We’re not looking for a monumental dissertation here that explains everything about our history. Instead think of your topic as illustrating some larger trend by providing an example from our history – not an explanation of the entire phenomenon itself.
For example, don’t pick “slavery”, pick a particular aspect of slavery such as living conditions for slaves immediately after emancipation. Don’t pick “the auto industry” – pick a particular inventor such as Charles Kettering or focus on a particular company or event such as Ford Motor’s infamous massacre on Miller Road bridge. Don’t pick “the Gilded Age” of the late 1800’s – pick a couple of particular rich plutocrats and bring them to life. As an example, I’m reading a book now on the history of refrigeration and how it evolved and changed our lives and economy. It would make a good topic.I’ve been using the word “book” because that’s what I expect most of you will choose.
To help you get an idea of the kinds of books I hoping you might select, I’ve created an Amazon store below on this page with a list of books I’ve found. You don’t have to choose from this list of books, but please look it over as it may help you understand what I’m looking for. If you choose something not on this list, please let me know first by either posting on the Commons or via email.
Likewise there’s no necessity for you to buy a the book from Amazon – or buy it from anyone else! I strongly suggest you consider using the the fantastic LCC Library and you can search for books from home over the Internet. If they don’t have the book you need, they can probably borrow it from another library in the state for you.
Last, there’s also the option of not using a book at all but instead using a series of videos. It’s probably easier to use the book option but I’m open to using a series of videos about U.S. economic history (be sure it’s economic history) such as some of those produced by PBS and available on their web site. If you go this route, I definitely want you to clear your choice with me first.
Finding Your News Article
Besides the book, you’ll need a news or analysis article about a relatively current issue or event or topic. The article or news story needs to be on the Web. You will need to save the URL address for the article and make a link in your project page to the article. I suggest starting with either Google search or whatever news sources you may already be using. The primary qualification for your article is that it be an original story or write-up. What I mean by that is that I want an actual article or essay from the Web. There’s no minimum length per se, but it needs to be substantial. What doesn’t work is to use a Facebook post, or a Tweet, or a Reddit discussion. It could be a published story you found through Facebook, but I want the actual story source itself.