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America: The Last Best Hope

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Has anyone used Bennets America: The Last Best Hope for your American History credit?  If so, how did you use it?  It looks like there are three volumes, so I am not sure how I could schedule them to get them all done in one school year.  

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I was going to use it as a counterpoint to Zinn, but when we got to the part where Bennett said that all the stuff the Europeans did to the folks already in the Americas was balanced out because the Europeans got syphilis in return, my son refused to continue reading.

 

So, I don't know.  

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We are using it for US History. There are three volumes. My kids read them, and also listen to Great Courses lectures. We like Turning Points in American History.

For DS, who will cover US history in a separate one year course, we scheduled Vol. 1 for the fall semester and the shorter Vol 2+3 for the spring.

 

DS had asked for a syllabus, and I obliged and scheduled out (which was foolish, since he never followed the syllabus and was always either working ahead or catching up, LOL). Vol. 1 came out nicely to 13 weeks with 1 chapter per week.

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I was going to use it as a counterpoint to Zinn, but when we got to the part where Bennett said that all the stuff the Europeans did to the folks already in the Americas was balanced out because the Europeans got syphilis in return, my son refused to continue reading.

 

So, I don't know.  

 

Can you tell me what volume/page that was referenced?

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Can you tell me what volume/page that was referenced?

 

Syphilis is mentioned starting on the bottom of page 5 of volume one.  He says that the sailors, having not had contact with the opposite sex were thrilled that the native women they encountered were "sexually open."  The soldiers then went back to Europe and gave the disease to prostitutes who spread it throughout Europe.  (And, in looking at this passage again, I see now that Bennett was actually blaming women for the whole debacle--it was the *women* who were "open" and "irresistible" and *women* of ill repute who spread it.  Frankly, this depiction of women is much more offensive than what he says about the Columbian exchange.)  

 

On page 9, he excuses the whole exchange of germs by saying that no one knew about the germ theory of disease in the 1500s so it's not like they did it on purpose--which is obviously true.  He compares the devastation of the peoples of the Americas to the devastation of the peoples of Europe by the Plague though he fails to mention that the people who carried the Plague from Asia were invited, in the sense that trade had been established.

 

I should point out that Bennett doesn't explicitly say syphilis balanced everything out.  The issue my son had with the book (the little he read of it) was that Bennett seemed to be trying very hard to excuse the horrific things the Europeans did in the Americas by saying that they couldn't have known about the diseases, that everyone practiced slavery, etc., which is just as annoying as going the other way.

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On page 9, he excuses the whole exchange of germs by saying that no one knew about the germ theory of disease in the 1500s so it's not like they did it on purpose--which is obviously true.  He compares the devastation of the peoples of the Americas to the devastation of the peoples of Europe by the Plague though he fails to mention that the people who carried the Plague from Asia were invited, in the sense that trade had been established.

 

I should point out that Bennett doesn't explicitly say syphilis balanced everything out.  The issue my son had with the book (the little he read of it) was that Bennett seemed to be trying very hard to excuse the horrific things the Europeans did in the Americas by saying that they couldn't have known about the diseases, that everyone practiced slavery, etc., which is just as annoying as going the other way.

 

I don't see what a difference it makes in the context of disease whether the carriers of the germs arrived one way or another - since the spreading was unintentional and not understood.

Sure, European conquerers did a lot of horrible things that should not be glossed over; however, blaming them for bringing germs makes little sense to me since they did not have any concept of germs. They could not have known, and they had no way to anticipate the devastating effect their diseases would have on a population without immunity. 

They can be blamed for a number of things, but I don't see how they can be blamed for this.

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I do like Regentrude. We read the books, discuss and add in the same Teaching Co. lecture series.

To do it in a year, we read roughly a chapter per week. 

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They can be blamed for a number of things, but I don't see how they can be blamed for this.

 

I know.  I said so in my previous post.

 

On page 9, he excuses the whole exchange of germs by saying that no one knew about the germ theory of disease in the 1500s so it's not like they did it on purpose--which is obviously true.  

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I have read some of the Bennet book and found it very interesting. Just wanted to throw another option out there - "A History of the American People" by Paul Johnson. I find it to be a bit more detailed than the Bennet books. We are using it, along with the Great Courses US History course and also "Lies my Teacher Told Me."

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I have read some of the Bennet book and found it very interesting. Just wanted to throw another option out there - "A History of the American People" by Paul Johnson. I find it to be a bit more detailed than the Bennet books. We are using it, along with the Great Courses US History course and also "Lies my Teacher Told Me."

 

I considered Bennett's, but already had A Patriot's History of the Unites States   :patriot:  by Larry Schweikart and really liked it, along with it's companion The Patriot's History Reader (primary docs), so decided to use it instead and (hopefully) the lesson plans from Classical Historian (which uses this material for their High School US His. course) or I'll make my own.

 

I use several of Bennett's other stuff.

 

Like Bennett,  there is a supportive website, though not as extensive as Bennett's. 

 

http://www.patriotshistoryusa.com/teaching-materials/ 

 

Of course, I also have Clarence Carson's books lurking in the background... :unsure:  :ph34r:

Edited by historymatters
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I chose to spread US History over two years. We did one of the years last year and will do the other one next year. DD read the first book last year in conjunction with some of Zinn's book, primary sources (in Critical Thinking Company books), some other books, and GC lectures (History of the U.S.). She had some regular written output, but nothing too onerous. I haven't started scheduling out next year yet. but the goal is to cover the other two books.

 

If we tried to do the whole thing in one year, I wouldn't have been able to schedule as much outside of the main spine.

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Those of you that have used the Great Courses for American History can you share how they work.  I have never used them before.  Do you just watch the lectures, or are there questions that go along with them?  I would love to know which ones were your favorites for American History.

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Those of you that have used the Great Courses for American History can you share how they work.  I have never used them before.  Do you just watch the lectures, or are there questions that go along with them?  I would love to know which ones were your favorites for American History.

 

We used History of the United States, which corresponded nicely with our main spine. You just assign the video when the student has done the reading. It's very easy.  I don't know how the set will correspond with Mr. Virtue's book. The GC course is a standard US History survey course, which is why the material lines up well with many college texts. I have other GC sets that I pulled from in various areas.

 

You might want to look at the Hillsdale  online courses, which would be more in keeping with Bennett's political bent. They are in the process of finishing the lectures, but the early ones are up.American Heritage.

Edited by swimmermom3
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