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Joseph Locke (editor) and Ben Wright (editor)
2019

A Free and Online, Collaboratively Built American History Textbook.

In an increasingly digital world in which pedagogical trends are de-emphasizing rote learning and professors are increasingly turning toward active-learning exercises, scholars are fleeing traditional textbooks. Yet for those that still yearn for the safe tether of a synthetic text, as either narrative backbone or occasional reference material, The American Yawp offers a free and online, collaboratively built, open American history textbook designed for college-level history courses. Unchecked by profit motives or business models, and free from for-profit educational organizations, The American Yawp is by scholars, for scholars. All contributors—experienced college-level instructors—volunteer their expertise to help democratize the American past for twenty-first century classrooms.

Many American history textbooks struggle to encapsulate American history. Some organize around themes—The American PromiseThe Story of American Freedom—while others surrender to the impossibility of synthesis and retreat toward generality—America’s HistoryThe American People. But in the oft-cited lines of the American poet Walt Whitman we find as good an organizing principle as any other: “I too am not a bit tamed—I too am untranslatable,” he wrote, “I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” Long before Whitman and long after, Americans have sung something collectively amid the deafening roar of their many individual voices. Here we find both, chorus and cacophony, together, as one. Always free, always open, this textbook offers the story of that barbaric, untranslatable American yawp.

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