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What should I expect from a history book?

  1. Sep 16, 2008 #1
    In my World Civilization class, I'm reading "World History in Brief" 6th ed, by Peter N. Stearns. I read chapter after chapter, but I don't feel like I'm absorbing anything. I believe it's because the book is non-interactive; there are no exercises. There are some "key questions" in some chapters. But other than that, I'm just reading. Is this typical for academic or college level history books? Amazon.com readers have left some positive reviews, but I'm skeptical. My economics book, by contrast, is filled with problems and questions. I feel like I'm really getting something out of this book, and economics is the least interesting course to me. I loathe the terminology, yet I can apply it to the world around me and am starting to make some sense of what I read in business articles. I don't feel like I'm getting that out of this history book.

    What are your thoughts about any of your history books from school?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2008 #2
    I know what you mean. I'm taking my first polysci class this year and reading a textbook about politics and government is def. a change of pace from doing organic chem...what i found helpful is to make sure that I know the vocabulary and for some reason, just by knowing the vocab. i was able to start making the connections...
  4. Sep 17, 2008 #3


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    Yes, the non-math and science courses don't have problems in the books (economics is still math-based, so has problem sets). I never learned much from history textbooks, and most of what I've learned about history came AFTER my school years when I found other books that were more interesting or looked up things online as questions arose.

    I wouldn't try to just "read" it. Use it more as a reference to fill in details from lectures. I don't know how your class is taught, but my history classes all focused on "Who, What, Where, When," while I was craving answers to "Why and How?" Maybe you just need to try asking yourself the questions you crave? When I reached that stage, and sought those answers from other sources on my own, I was much more interested in history.
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