It’s time to choose books for the Fall 2012 semester. After great thought and deliberation here are my selections:

HIS 201 History of the United States I

R.B. Bernstein, The Founding Fathers Reconsidered (Oxford Univ. Press, 2011) ISBN 9780199832576

Students responded well to Bernstein’s biography of Jefferson, and I’m counting on a similar reaction to this book.

Williamjames Hull Hoffer, The Caning of Charles Sumner (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2010) ISBN  9780801894695

This episode is one I have students act out in class, so having them read about the background might make it more meaningful. I also want to expose them to the concept of honor.

Stephanie G. Wolf, As Various as Their Lands: The Everyday Lives of Seventeenth-Century Americans (Univ. of Arkansas Press, 2001) ISBN 978-1557285997

I’ve had success with other books in this series. I also want to refresh my memory on some of the particulars of 17th-c. social history.

HIS 300 Civil War

Stephen Berry, Weirding the War: Stories from the Civil War’s Ragged Edges (Univ. of Georgia Press, 2011) ISBN 978-0820341279

The topics are diverse (and weird) enough that I think students will take to this book.

Stanley Harrold, Border War: Fighting over Slavery before the Civil War (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2010) ISBN 978-0-8078-3431-2

I wanted to try something different this time around.

Tony Horwitz, Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War (Vintage, 1999) ISBN 978-0679758334

One of my favorite books and one that students love. I also considered Kevin Levin’s forthcoming book on the Battle of the Crater, but it won’t be out in time for me to preview it before our deadline.

Jason Phillips, Diehard Rebels: The Confederate Culture of Invincibility (Univ. of Georgia Press, 2007) ISBN 978-0820334332

This book by Phillips, who replaced my advisor, John Marszalek, at Mississippi State, almost made the final cut last time around, but I didn’t have time to preview it.

HIS 340 American Presidency

Alan Brinkley and Davis Dyer, ed., The American Presidency (Houghton Mifflin, 2004) ISBN 978-0618382736

A basic reference textbook for students to use.

Richard J. Ellis and Michael Nelson, eds., Debating the Presidency, 2d. ed. (CQ Press, 2009) ISBN 978-1604265651

Since this course is cross-listed with political science, I want to make sure we examine some of the controversies surrounding the chief executive. This short book satisfies that requirement.

Annette Gordon-Reed, Andrew Johnson (Henry Holt, 2011) ISBN 978-0805069488

I usually assign at least one short biography of a president for this course. Johnson’s presidency will allow us to look at impeachment and executive vs. legislative power.

Donald A. Ritchie, Electing FDR: The New Deal Campaign of 1932 (Univ. Press of Kansas) ISBN 978-0700616879

I’m a big fan of this UP of Kansas series. I’ve used several of the other books with success.