Some instructors prefer to have students rely solely on their lectures for examination information, while others assign textbooks and supplemental readings for students. Given the high cost of textbooks, think carefully about whether or not it is necessary to assign one. If you do assign one, be sure to incorporate it into the course to make the purchase useful and establish reading accountability. The following list of previously assigned books and readings offers an overview of some books that history instructors have chosen to use here at Purdue. 

Also, many instructors use a variety of primary sources as assigned readings for their students. Primary sources offer the perspective of historical actors in their specific time periods and can be valuable tools for connecting students to the past. They can also be confusing and difficult for students to understand and engage with at times. Primary sources should be clearly explained for what they are, who wrote them, what their values and goals were, and how their historical voices help explain the ideas of their time periods. One good way to incorporate primary readings into classes is through discussion sections or group activities. This allows students to puzzle over the material, ask questions, and discuss sources of interest and confusion, with the instructor moderating the conversation and providing leading questions.

Given the huge diversity of primary sources available, we are unable to list them all individually. In order to find the primary sources, we suggest you look through the individual weeks on the syllabi class schedules.

Previously Assigned Texts and Textbooks

The following are abbreviated listings for previously assigned books. They only list the last name of primary authors or editors and main titles. The majority of professors chose the most recent editions of textbooks, but students may be able to use older editions (available for a reduced cost on Amazon), just check the chapter titles, subtitles, and page numbers.


Abelard, The Letters of Abelard and Heloise.
Einhard and Notker the Stammerer.  Two Lives of Charlemagne.
Geary, Readings in Medieval History
Herlihy, The Black Death & the Transformation of the West.  
Hollister and Bennett, Medieval Europe: A Short History.
Hollister, et al. Medieval Europe: A Short Sourcebook.
Joinville and Villehardouin, Chronicles of the Crusades.
Rosenwein, A Short History of the Middle Ages.
Simpson, ed. The Poem of the Cid.


Arendt, Eichmann and the Holocaust.
Beaumarchais, The Figaro Trilogy
Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre
Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre. 
Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England.
Farr, Introduction to the Modern World.
Frader, ed. The Industrial Revolution: A History in Documents
Gaskell, North and South.
Greer and Lewis. A Brief History of the Western World, Volume II Since 1300.
Ibsen, League of Youth; A Doll’s House; the Lady from the Sea.
Kagan, et al. Western Heritage: The Brief Edition.
Levack, et al. The West: Encounters and Transformations
Levi, Survival in Auschwitz.
Marks, Origins of the Modern World
Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto.
McKay, Hill, and Buckler, A History of Western Society, Since 1300. 
Molière, The Misanthrope.
Montesquieu, Persian Letters.
Mork, Modern Western Civilization.
Remarque,  All Quiet on the Western Front.
Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.
Spielvogel, Western Civilization.
Wiesel, Night.
Wiesner, et al. Discovering the Western Past.


Achebe, Things Fall Apart.
Bentley, Traditions and Encounters.
Bulliet, et al. The Earth and Its Peoples, A Global History.
Condé, Desirada.
Duras, North China Lover.
Gourevitch, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda.
Hoffer, The Ordeal of Change.
Kang, Under the Black Umbrella: Voices from Colonial Korea
Maalouf, Leo Africanus.
Marks, The Origins of the Modern World: A Global and Ecological Narrative from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-First Century.
McVay, Envisioning Women in World History: 1500 – Present.
Mitchell, Taking Sides: Clashing Views in World History.
Nehru, An Autobiography, with Musings on Recent Events in India
Prashad, The Darker Nations: A Peoples History of the Third World
Salih, Season of Migration to the North.
Strayer, Ways of the World: A Brief Global History
Tignor, et. al. Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of the Modern World from the Mongol Empire to the Present
Wills, 1688: A Global History.
Zobel, Black Shack Alley.


Appleby, ed. Recollections of the Early Republic: Selected Autobiographies.
Becker and Wheeler.  Discovering the American Past: A Look at the Evidence
Belmonte, ed., Speaking of America. 
Breen and Innes,Myne Owne Ground.
Breslaw, Tituba Reluctant Witch of Salem: Devilish Indians and Puritan Fantasies.
Brinkley, American History: A Survey.
Campbell, When Sherman Marched North from the Sea.
Clinton, Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom.
Collier and Collier, My Brother Sam is Dead.
Davidson, US: A Narrative History.
Davidson and Lytle, After the Fact:  The Art of Historical Detection.
Dew, Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War
Douglass, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave.
Edmunds, Tecumseh and the Quest for Indian Leadership
Edmunds, The Shawnee Prophet.
Ellis, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation.  
Fenn, Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82.
Gorn, et al. Constructing the American Past.
Graebner and Richards, The American Record: Images of the Nation's Past.
Greenberg, The Confessions of Nat Turner.
Hawks, ed. Daniel Boone:  His Own Story.
Kidd, The Great Awakening: A Brief History with Documents
Loewen, Lies My History Teacher Told Me.
Miller, The Crucible.  
Morrison, ed. The Human Tradition in Antebellum America.
Murrin, et al. Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People.
Nelson, Steel Drivin' Man: John Henry, The Untold Story of an American Legend
Nichols, Black Hawk and the Warrior's Path.
Pinckney. Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, 1739-1762: Intriguing Letters by One of Colonial America's Most Accomplished Women .
Roark, et al. The American Promise: A History of the United States
Smith, ed. The Unfortunate:  The Voyage & Adventures of William Moraley, An Indentured Servant.
Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Tindall and Shi, America: A Narrative History, Brief Sixth Edition.
Townsend, Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma.
Weisner and Hartford,  American Portraits: Biographies in United States History
Young. The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution.
Zagarri, A Woman’s Dilemma: Mercy Otis Warren and the American Revolution.
Zinn, A People’s History of the United States Volume 1.


Bailey, Sex in the Heartland.
Belmonte, Speaking of America.
Berkin, et al. Making America: A History of the United States.
Blunt, Breaking Clean.
Boyle, Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age.
Caldwell, A Strong West Wind.
Carter, An Hour Before Daylight: Memories of A Rural Boyhood.
Cohen, Out of the Shadow: A Russian Jewish Girlhood on the Lower East Side.
Davidson and Lytle, After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection.
Divine, et al. America: Past and Present. 
Dorsey and Register, Crosscurrents in American Culture: A Reader in United States History.
DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk.
Dumas.  Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America.
Egan, The Worst Hard Time.
Ellis, The Life of an Ordinary Woman.
Faraghar, et al. Out of Many.
Foner, Give Me Liberty: An American History.
Goldfield, et al. The American Journey. 
Gorn, et al. Constructing the American Past:  A Source Book of People’s History.  
Hoffman and Gjerde, Major Problems in American History.
Hunt, Bold Spirit.
Hyser and Arndt, Voices of the American Past: Documents in U.S. History
Jones, et al. Created Equal:  A Social and Political History of the United States.
Kennedy, et al. The Brief American Pageant.
Kennedy, Thirteen Days.
Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America.
Lichtenstein, et al. Who Built America: Working People and the Nation’s Economy, Politics, Culture and Society Since 1877.
McElvaine, Down and Out in the Great Depression: Letters From the Forgotten Man
Moody, Coming of Age in >Mississippi.
Nash, et al., American People.
Norton, et al.  A People and A Nation.  
Palmer, Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the >Mississippi Delta.
Riis, How the Other Half Live.
Rikoon, ed.  Rachel Calof’s Story.
Roark, et al. The American Promise
Roberts and Olson, American Experiences.
Sinclair, The Jungle.
Sitkoff, The Struggle for Black Equality, 1954-1992.
Spewak, Streets: A Memoir of the Lower East Side.
Tindall and Shi, America: A Narrative History.
Tyson, Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story.  
Vine, One Man’s Castle.
Walker, Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan
Wolfe, The Right Stuff.
Yezierska, Bread Givers.

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