Monday, June 21, 2010

Notable E-Book: Social History of the United States

History has too often been the story of the rich and powerful (as well as the white and male). In recent years, there has been a movement to reflect the lives of working ("ordinary") folk, people of color and women in history, too. We have many databases that will help scholars get at primary documents--databases like Social and Cultural History: Letters and Diaries Online (from Alexander Street Press) and Primary Sources in U.S. History (from LexisNexis). Reference books can also be oriented towards primary documents. (For an example, see the Milestone Documents series, that we have in print and online through the publisher.)

But beyond primary documents, researchers might be interested in finding secondary overview information about changes in American society in the Twentieth Century, and how these changes impacted everyday Americans. For this need, we have recently added an eBook encyclopedia consisting of ten volumes worth of scholarly analysis of United States history in the last century. It is called Social History of the United States, and is available on the ABC-CLIO (formerly Greenwood) platform.

After linking from the catalog, you will be at a page related to this particular reference set. You can browse contents from the left frame, or you will see a green Quick Search box in the upper left that is already set up to search "within this title." (If you want to search all of our ABC-CLIO books, just change the setting of the search box.)

The ABC-CLIO interface is not the most elegant in the world, but it does the trick and quickly gets you into the long chapters in this series. There are lots of tables (which don't always display well in html), charts, and tables, as well as a nice array of historical photographs.

Caption: This store in Oakland, California, was closed following orders that all Japanese Americans evacuate to internment camps during World War II. The owner, a University of California graduate of Japanese descent, placed the “I am an American” sign on the storefront the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese forces in December 1941. (National Archives)

Above the text in the large right frame are many menu options, including print, email, cite and link functions, as well as a quick-use dictionary (the American Heritage College Dictionary, Fourth Edition). This extensive set has a little bit of everything and can be useful for anyone studying American society in the last century. A publisher PDF description of the series can be found here.

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