Book Reviews and Notes
American Political and Social History. By Harold Underwood
Faulkner. (New York: F. S. Crofts & Co., 1937. Crofts
American History Series. Dixon Ryan Fox, General Editor.
Pp. xxii, 772. Illustrations, bibliography.)
Best known for the production of the first readable economic
histories of the United States, Professor Faulkner has turned his
attention to a general history with a freshness of approach and
a discrimination in content that recommends it to the student
and instructor in lower division American history courses. Limited
in space to a one-volume text, and in scope by the obligation of
repeating a large number of facts common to all other American
history textbooks, Professor Faulkner has yet been able to intro-
duce a wealth of new material not previously exploited in com-
parable works. More than a third of the book is given to phases
of American life that have generally been neglected in a general
course, particularly the everyday life of the people in various
periods: their means of gaining a livelihood and enjoying leisure,
their occupations, professions, social customs and usages, travel,
education, art. These difficult phases of life and history have not
been relegated to an isolated chapter, but have been used through-
out to demonstrate their integration with the political and economic
trends of the time.
Dr. Faulkner leans toward the liberal point of view customary
in modern textbooks. This attitude becomes evident with his first
chapter on the background of European expansion and remains
to the last on the New Deal and the reelection of Roosevelt. This
approach has the merit of leaving some points open to discussion
and will doubtless stimulate interesting disagreement, and, it is
hoped, further inquiry.
Guidance to pertinent reading restricted to a few pages in
leading secondary sources and readily available collections of source
materials is appended to each chapter. An appendix contains a
general critical bibliography arranged topically for each chapter,
probably included with the faint hope that some students may
discover and possibly use it. Seventeen full-page illustrations,
chosen with discriminating care to arouse interest, and twenty-
three useful maps are bound into this sturdy volume.
Professor Faulkner's long experience in the classroom is evi-
dent on every page, and his American Political and Social History
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 41, July 1937 - April, 1938. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101103/. Accessed September 16, 2014.