Name that book.
January 25, 2012 9:25 AM   Subscribe

I want to track down the AP US History textbook I had in the 2001-2002 school year because I want to re-read it. How do I figure out what it was?
posted by anthropomorphic to Education (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This book? (an older edition of)
posted by musicismath at 9:27 AM on January 25, 2012

Ask the school system you were in. Without further clues, I don't think this question as stated is answerable since there were certainly a number of such textbooks in general use.
posted by beagle at 9:28 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe you don't want to ask the school system, because that would be hard. (Even if you can contact them, will they have that on record?)

Here's an idea: go here -- it's a link to the reviews of resources for people teaching AP courses. Choose "US History" and "textbook". You'll get a list of reviews of textbooks -- which you don't particularly care about -- but the reviews are titled with the name of the book. Although I am not a history teacher, I suspect that this list includes many of the most common textbooks. Maybe you'll recognize the name. Maybe you won't but you can search for the name and you'll recognize the cover of the book.

There's also a more general page of information for people teaching AP US History but I couldn't find a list of common textbooks there, which is what I was really looking for.
posted by madcaptenor at 9:37 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

In 1998/1999, my high school used America: A Narrative History by George Tindall et al. I think we only used volume I, or maybe it was in one volume back then?

This is probably not the "official" AP History textbook as used by most high schools, as I attended an unorthodox magnet high school in which all courses were considered to be at the AP level (in fact often were more at the advanced undergraduate level) and for the most part courses were not Taught To The Test. So we'd never have used a textbook officially geared toward the AP exam.

Alums of my school STILL mention "Tindall" (which is what we called it, pretentious nerds that we are) on facebook every now and again.
posted by Sara C. at 9:40 AM on January 25, 2012

I took the course the same time you did! Our textbook was a college-level American History book. If getting the exact same text doesn't matter, you may want to try If it does matter, call your high school! They may have some extras floating around somewhere. If your teacher has retired since then, the school may be willing to pass on his contact information. If your teacher is anything like my teacher-loaded family, they'd both love to hear from you and have a copy of the textbook on their personal shelves they'd be willing to loan you.
posted by troika at 9:41 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd just contact the teacher directly, unless I knew they had died.

If the teacher is still working, you might be able to get a working email address from your school's webspace.

If not, just search for them on the wider web and on facebook and such. Nobody sane is going to flip out if they get an email / message / friend request on the order of "Are you the Ralph Q. Hamsterlicker that taught me AP history at VI Lenin High in 2001? I'd really like to get in touch with you to thank you and ask a few questions about history, if I could."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:51 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

We used The American Pageant, also in 2001-02. It was an awesome book, partly because it had hilariously unnecessary physical descriptions of many historical figures.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:54 AM on January 25, 2012

We used John McKay. I took AP before you did, but I can tell you that McKay in later editions is still in use.
posted by oflinkey at 9:56 AM on January 25, 2012

I also second trying to contact the teacher directly. They're both more likely to know the answer to the question and more likely to talk to you.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:09 AM on January 25, 2012

Here is a list of widely used textbooks in AP US history courses (did anyone else call it APUSH, pronuouced a-push?). Scroll to the bottom of the page.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:03 AM on January 25, 2012

I took AP US (yep, a-push!) two years ago and used The American Pageant. Just based on the fact that you're looking to reread it, I'm willing to bet that you used this book, simply because it is hilarious. Such immortal lines as:

"The soil wasn't fertile but the people were."
"Jovial Taft, with ‘mirthquakes’ of laughter bubblings up from his abundant abdomen was personally popular."
"[Adams] was even accused of having procured a servant girl for the lust of the Russian czar- in short, of having served as a pimp."
"Britain ruled the waves, and waived the rules."
" John Quincy Adams was a chip off the old family glacier."
"President Polk, broken in health by overwork and chronic diarrhea..."
"[on Thomas B. Reed] Opponents quailed at the crack of his quip."
posted by estlin at 11:56 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

My teacher used A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn.
posted by smirkette at 12:47 PM on January 25, 2012

Oh, it turns out the AP people have a list of textbooks.
posted by madcaptenor at 1:51 PM on January 25, 2012

I took APUSH in 04-05 and we used American Pageant, A People's History of the United States, and one other book with letters from...historical people?
posted by firei at 5:17 PM on January 25, 2012

I took it the same year, 2001-2002, and we also used American Pageant. As mentioned upthread, the descriptions were hilarious. In fact, when I was back home at my parents house last year I was searching for it to bring back with me to reread. But unfortunately by then my parents had already thrown everything away or donated, and turned it into a gym/sewing room.
posted by peachtree at 10:26 PM on January 25, 2012

I would contact the librarian at your old high school. They've probably got old textbooks on heir shelves somewhere.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 2:24 PM on January 26, 2012

Response by poster: thanks for all the help everyone. unfortunately, i think the only way i would recognize it is by the cover, and i remember that the books were physically falling apart, which suggests an even older edition to me. amazon does not reliably show me the photos of the covers for old editions.

my former teacher has since passed away, and i realize calling the school district is an option, but who exactly do i call? who do i ask for? i doubt the reception will know.
posted by anthropomorphic at 1:34 PM on January 27, 2012

Response by poster: all i really remember about the text is that we skipped the first few chapters because my teacher said they were boring and poorly-written (they were) but the rest of the chapters were great. sigh.
posted by anthropomorphic at 1:36 PM on January 27, 2012

Is there a Facebook page for alumni of your school? Someone else from the same time period might remember. Or their mom still has their copy in her basement.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:38 PM on January 27, 2012

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