American History: A Survey

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American History: A Survey
A survey.JPG
Twelfth Edition (2007)
Author Richard N. Current
T. Harry Williams
Frank Freidel
Alan Brinkley
Country United States
Subject United States history
Publisher McGraw-Hill
Publication date
1961 (1st ed.)
2009 (13th ed.)
Pages 922 (13th ed.)
ISBN 0-07-338549-2 (13th ed.)

American History: A Survey is a textbook first published in 1961 that was written initially by the historians Richard N. Current, T. Harry Williams, and Frank Freidel and later by Alan Brinkley, the Allan Nevins professor of history at Columbia University. The book provides an account of United States history spanning from the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the age of globalization in the most recent editions. As of December 2014, the current edition is the 14th published in 2011.

This textbook has been commonly used in AP United States History classes and in college survey courses.


American History: A Survey is organized in a way that reflects a high school-level U.S. history course. The chapters follow the nation's history chronologically, and the subheadings allow instructors to select portions of chapters to suit their syllabi.

In the preface to the book, Brinkley states his purpose is "to be a thorough, balanced, and versatile account of America's past that instructors and students will find accessible and appropriate no matter what approach to the past a course chooses."[1]

American History: A Survey includes supplemental features such as "Where Historians Disagree" essays, which allow students to understand the controversial nature of much of America's past. This feature encourages students to think for themselves about what different aspects of U.S. history actually mean. The text also incorporates full-color maps with captions and chapter introductions that focus on main themes of the chapter.


In 2004, American History: A Survey was found to be used in 14 of 258 U.S. history survey college courses, which made it the fifth most popular textbook. At universities (as opposed to community and junior colleges) it was the fourth most popular textbook.[2]



  1. ^ Brinkley, Alan (2003). American History: A Survey (11th ed.). McGraw-Hill. 
  2. ^ Cohen, Daniel J. (March 2005). "By the Book: Assessing the Place of Textbooks in U.S. Survey Courses". The Journal of American History. 91 (4): 1405–1415. doi:10.2307/3660181. Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. 

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