Select one of the keywords
The Untold History of the United States: Young Readers' Edition, 1898-1945, Vol. 1    by Oliver Stone, Peter Kuznick & Susan Campbell Bartoletti order for
Untold History of the United States
by Oliver Stone
Order:  USA  Can
Atheneum, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Purportedly based on the latest archival findings and recently declassified information, this account of American history will set the record straight as it offers a 'crucial counterpoint to today's history textbooks', or so say the authors!

After reading the book's Foreword you'll have a good sense of the political bias of the authors which, no doubt, determined what historical events would be revisited and what new information or ignored facts would be presented and evaluated.

'I've long been drawn to the dark side of history. I look often for the untold stories from history that have been marginalized, at best, or absent altogether. I especially look for stories where our actions don't match the words of our US constitution and those times when we have strayed from our mission,' writes Susan Campbell Bartoletti.

Admissions like this make me nervous because this book is intended for young, unsophisticated readers who do not have much of a foundation (if any) in reading U.S. history.

A history minor in college and a U.S. history teacher on the secondary level, I feel I have a strong foundation in the subject. Although there are many oversimplifications here in this presentation, there are also some very valid points raised about many of the events discussed and how they have been presented in our history textbooks.

Yes, I found this book interesting, but I would not give it to a middle school or high school student to read before I felt that individual had a fairly strong background in U.S. history. I would not want the student to accept all the observations here as gospel because the historical background presented here is certainly open to interpretation and not as balanced as I would like. Just as some historians lean to the right, there are certainly others who lean in the opposite direction.

This book has a place in any historian's library, but I'm not about to recommend its use with a young reader who may not yet possess the reading skills necessary to raise questions about some of the sweeping generalities and simplistic interpretations that crop up from time to time here.

The troubling results of a test given by the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that last year 18% of the eighth graders who took the exam scored at or above the proficient level in U.S. History. Obviously American young people, at least at this grade level, do not have the knowledge to intelligently assess and perhaps question some of the assertions made in this book.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Teens books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews