Friday, January 13, 2006

Textbook question

File under: shamelessly soliciting (advice) I'd like to buy a good college biology textbook for my son. My textbook was wonderful, but it also has a 1980 pub date. That might work for math or physics, but biology changes faster than that (especially phylogenetics . . . 1980 is pre-Archaebacteria, if I'm not mistaken). I'd also like to buy him an American History textbook, high school or college level. As long as I'm on this topic, we're going to get to European History after American History -- any suggestions for that? Thanks, folks. D.


Blogger Kate R said...

hey sshhhhhh... but my dh is a microbiology professor who gets extra dough by critiquing textbooks. I'll ask him and maybe he'll have one of those thick nasty books they've sent him (and that cost a gazillion dollars) he can send to you. He has strong opinions.

Also. My son #1 is a history dweeb currently taking ap history. He reads history for fun. He'll also have Opinions. Are all those opinions of any use? I'm fairly sure that his advice for anyone studying american history is to use Jon Stewart's America: the Book as your main textbook.

I think he lurves Howard Zinn. The People's History of the United States has been around forever. It was my textbook in high school.

1/13/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Um, we do own Jon Stewart's America (surprised?) and we've taught Jake from it. Nice for supplemental information, but as a primary text . . . ahem. I'd be interested in your son's and your DH's opinions. And if he wants to part with a freebie, I'd be tickled silly. You have my email addie, right?

1/13/2006 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

For American History you can't beat Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen, although Hugh Brogan's Penguin History of the USA is perhaps a bit more mainstream (the title is misleading, as it does not mention penguins at all, although I can see them adding a few for the next edition).

For Yerpeen History you want Europe: A History by Norman Davies.

Can't help you on the biology front - I haven't been near the subject for more than two decades.

1/13/2006 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Thanks, Stephen! And thanks for alerting everyone to fact that, for far too long, penguins have been neglected in any discussion of American history ;o)

1/13/2006 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Gal said...

Speaking off the record as a high school American History teacher (ahem) they all suck. But you can probably find one at Just pick a major publisher and supplement, supplement, supplement, editorialize, editorialize, editorialize. And don't forget Blue Gal's rule of teaching American History starts with a healthy worship of Eleanor Roosevelt.

1/13/2006 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Kate R said...

Mike, the husband, wants to know if you want a majors or non-majors bio book. Boy one is currently doing AP bio in 10th grade (it's busting his butt) and using a majors book that's pretty good, says Mike. They do fancy-pants labs for that class too.

Mike's got a bunch of extra non-majors books around the place but only a couple of majors books that are "worthwhile". He'll give up one that's about 6-8 years old. The others you'd have to pry out of his dead, cold hands. The non-majors ones he doesn't mind giving up.

Turns out boy one (the history fanatic who wants to be a historian) tends to gravitate toward battles battles battles. His favorites are Of Gods and Generals and other books by Shaara.

He says you should go for primary material like his "hero Machiavelli," which worries me.

1/13/2006 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Kate R said...

they read machiavelli last year and he's apparently memorized chunks of it.

oh dear.

1/13/2006 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Kate, just be glad he didn't get into Nietzsche.

Please email me the name of DH's fave biology major text. I don't mind buying one for my son. And thanks!

1/13/2006 06:53:00 PM  

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