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Looking for Literature suggestions to go along with American History...

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I am looking for approximately 5 literature selections to go along with American History for my 15dd. We will be using BJU history, and I'd like to add whole literature.


DD will be taking an outside Brit Lit course (mostly for writing purposes) where she will also be reading 6 books.


Please share your "must reads".



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"The Scarlet Letter" Colonial New England--Puritans

"Giants in the Earth" Norwegian settlers in the Midwest

"Huckleberry Finn" Antebellum South

"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" Early modern New York City life--Irish, mostly

"To Kill A Mockingbird" Early modern Southern life

"In Dubious Battle" Depression era labor organizing in CA agriculture

"The Moon Is Down" World War II (takes place in Europe, but it is a very American book by John Steinbeck)

"The Color Purple" Southern life in the 50's and 60's

"The Bean Trees" 80's--Poverty and American Indian issues. Quite a unique viewpoint.


The last two have some se*ual content.



Supplemental--read but don't study too much as they are pretty light. They do convey an era, though:


"Cheaper By the Dozen" and "Belles on Their Toes" Flapper era and early industrialization


"Battle Cry" WWII from an American perspective


"Advise and Consent" The Cold War at home


"The Women's Room" The 60's -- how they effected women of different classes and inclinations. Quite liberal and s*xual in places, but again, conveys an era very well. Would be a fantastic contrast with the Drury books through "Capable of Honor"

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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Slopes of War, Perez

Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Twain

Call of the Wild, London

The Red Badge of Courage, Crane

To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain

The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck

The Captain's Dog, Smith

Uncle Tom's Cabin, Stowe

The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne

The Crucible, Miller

Moby-Dick, Melville

Walden and Civil Disobedience, Thoreau

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Smith

The Outsider, Hinton

Anything by Ralph Moody

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas

My Antonia, Cather

Black Like Me, Griffin

Up from Slavery, Washington

Our Town, Wilder

Benjamin Franklin's The Art of Virtue

Anything by Joan Bauer but especially Sticks and Stand Tall for boys


Oh, did you say you only wanted 5 books:D

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I think the single most influential book I ever read (that really got me to stop eating hot dogs, LOL) was "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair. It really summed up both the industrial revolution AND capitalism in one fell swoop.




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We're doing the Teaching Company's Great American Bestsellers: the Books that Shaped America and the 10 books I picked for us to read along with the lectures are:


Common Sense, Ragged Dick, (watch Little Women), The Virginian, The Jungle, The Maltese Falcon, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Native Son, The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Catch-22

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I think the single most influential book I ever read (that really got me to stop eating hot dogs, LOL) was "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair. It really summed up both the industrial revolution AND capitalism in one fell swoop.


I loved this book--Ds and I had really good discussions about it, and we read the one that had extra material that the publisher edited out b/c of its inflammatory nature.


I think Scarlet Letter, Walden, Huck Finn, The Jungle, Grapes of Wrath and something contemporary--maybe check the rec's in WTM for a recent novel--would be good choices. All of them reflect movements in literature and the culture at the time they were written. You could also do Red Badge of Courage for Naturalism if you wanted--it's a quick read.

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Here's what I've narrowed it down to so far, and still need to cut further. One thing I've realized is that we can *watch* a film versions of the plays, and even possibly a few of the novels to squeeze in a few more works. Also, we can do more short stories in the same time as one novel, so we can cover more authors that way. BEST of luck in making your final cuts! Warmest regards, Lori D.




- Rip Van Winkle (Washington Irving)

- The Minister's Black Veil (Nathaniel Hawthorne)

- The Cask of Amontillado -- OR -- The Tell-Tale Heart (Edgar Allen Poe)

- Billy Budd (Herman Melville)

- Celebrated Jumping Frog (Mark Twain)

- Outcasts of Poker Flats -- OR -- Luck of Roaring Camp (Bret Harte)

- Bride Comes to Yellow Sky (Stephen Crane)

- To Build a Fire (Jack London)

- Gift of the Magi -- OR -- The Ransom of Red Chief (O. Henry)

- The Snows of Kilimanjaro (Ernest Hemingway)

- A Good Man is Hard to Find -- OR -- Revelation (Flannery O'Connor)

- The Lottery (Shirley Jackson)




- Moby Dick (Herman Melville)

- The Scarlett Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)

- Adventures of Tom Sawyer -- OR -- Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)

- The Red Badge of Courage (Stephen Crane))

- Call of the Wild (Jack London)

- The Jungle (Upton Sinclair)

- The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

- The Old Man and the Sea -- OR -- Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway)

- The Grapes of Wrath -- OR -- The Pearl (John Steinbeck)

- To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

- The Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison)

- Black Like Me (John Howard Griffin) -- autobiography

- The Chosen (Chaim Potok)

- I Heard The Owl Call My Name (Margaret Craven)

- Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)




- Our Town (Thornton Wilder)

- Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller)

- A Raisin in the Sun (Lorraine Hansberry)




- a few poems by Anne Bradstreet

- a few poems by Phyllis Wheatley

- The Raven (Edgar Allen Poe)

- a few poems by Emily Dickenson

- a few poems by Walt Whitman

- a few poems by Robert Frost

- a few poems by Carl Sandburg

- a few poems by Langston Hughes




- Of Plymouth Plantation (William Bradford journal)

- Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, or excerpts from his Poor Richard's Almanac

- Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (Jonathan Edwards sermon)

- Common Sense (Thomas Paine essay)

- A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Fredrick Douglass autobiography)

- Up From Slavery (Booker T. Washington autobiography)

- The Story of My Life (Helen Keller autobiography)

- Ernie Pyle journalism articles on WW2

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We just finished studying American History and Literature. Here's what we read: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Scarlet Letter, The Life and Narrative of Frederick Douglass, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, My Antonia, The Great Gatsby, The Crucible (play), Raisin in the Sun(play). For poetry we studied Ann Bradstreet, Edgar Allan Poe, William Cullen Bryant, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost. For short stories we read Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Jack London, William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor. We read a couple of essays by Emerson and excerpts from Walden as well.


The biggies we missed were Walt Whitman (I can't stand his poetry!!!!) and Herman Melville. I also really wanted to get Eugene O'Neill and Steinbeck in there but we just didn't have time. Each student also read something extra and wrote a paper on it. My oldest dd reread Little Women and talked about the influence that book and Alcott had on American lit. My son read The Devil and Daniel Webster by Stephen Vincent Benet and talk about that enduring story line in American culture. Another boy who was studying with us wrote about The Red Badge of Courage and how realistically it portrayed war.

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