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Americana: A Civics Handbook, 2nd Edition Review by Melissa Batai and Cassandra Holdeman

Mary B. Mackley
Craven Gap Publishing
P.O. Box 8902
Asheville, NC 28814

Americana: A Civics Handbook, 2nd edition, is written by Mary B. Mackley and would serve as an excellent study guide for anyone preparing to take the United States Citizenship exam. This comprehensive book is written with fairly large print and is 284 pages long. The book retails for $14.95.

The book covers the following topics:

Pre-Colonial and Colonial America,
U.S. States Admitted after Original Thirteen Colonies,
Timeline for Declaration of Independence & U.S. Constitution,
Facts about the Declaration of Independence & U.S. Constitution,
Events Leading to Declaration of Independence & U.S. Constitution,
Three Branches of U.S. Government,
Electoral College,
United States Flag,
United States Presidents,
States, Capitals & Other Information,
National Floral Emblem,
National Anthem,
Uncle Sam,
National Bird,
Pledge of Allegiance,
Declaration of Independence,
Signers of the Declaration of Independence,
United States Constitution, Including All Amendments,
Signers of the U.S. Constitution,
Sketches and Images,
Civics and Citizenship,
Civics Test,
Civics Test (with the Answers),
America’s Wars (Additional Guide for Civics Test)
A Note about the National Parks,
National Parks and History,
National Parks with a Connection to Colonial American and the American Revolution,
National Park Service: Sites of Remembrance,
Fifty Nine Special National Parks by State,
Endnotes and Bibliography,
Map of the United States

As mentioned earlier, this book would be a fabulous resource to prepare a person to take the U.S. Citizenship exam. It would also be an excellent reference source for any family. It could also be used to prepare students for AP government tests.

My son is in 6th grade. He’s a history and government buff. He enjoyed reading through this book and testing his knowledge. He also enjoyed the trivia in this book such as this tidbit about the colony of Massachusetts: “In 1737, the first municipal celebration of St. Patrick’s Day was held in Boston by the newly established Charitable Irish Society.” I imagine this book will become even more valuable to him when he enters high school. We intend to keep the book as a reference guide.

While this book is chock-full of valuable information, the layout of the book makes it look more like a dissertation. The layout could have been better formatted with more spacing between paragraphs and fewer bullet points. In addition, there are pictures in the book which offer visual appeal, but we would have preferred to see the pictures in color rather than black and white.

Americana: A Civics Handbook by Mary B. Mackley contains information that all Americans should know, but, unfortunately, probably don’t. This is a valuable resource to have in your home library.

--Product Review by Melissa Batai, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February, 2016

Americana: A Civics Handbook, Second Edition
Mary B. Mackley
Craven Gap Publishing

Asheville, North Carolina

As natural born citizens of the United States, our family has never really thought much about what we would do if we had to take the United States Civics Test. We recently found out that we would totally fail this test if we had to take it without many hours of studying. Thankfully we received a copy of Americana: A Civics Handbook, Second Edition by Mary B. Mackley to review and study so that we could learn the information needed to prepare for the Civics Test. This edition of Americana includes the Civics Test and A Note on the National Parks.

Americana: A Civics Handbook, Second Edition is a 284-page resource for learning, reviewing, discovering early American history and government. It includes information about the founding of our country and the thirteen colonies, the three branches of government, the electoral college, states and their capitals, national symbols, and information on all of our presidents including our current president, Donald J. Trump. This book includes facts about our United States flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Declaration of Independence, and many other topics. It also includes the complete texts of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This book includes the U.S. Citizenship test along with the answers. There are many historical sketches in the book along with maps. There is an entire section on our National Parks and the history of them along with sites to see at the parks. This resource is available for just $14.95.

When we first received this book, I copied the Civics Test so we could take it to see what we knew before we started reading and studying this book. The test is much harder than we ever thought it would be.  We thought we knew a lot about American history and government until we took the test.  It really opened our eyes. After we bombed the test, my son and I started reading and studying this book. The facts and details are clearly stated and very informative. Both my son and I appreciated the charts and tables throughout the book that we could study. We read through a few sections of the book on average of three days a week. It took us a few weeks to get through all the reading that we needed to for the test. Then we spent some time reviewing what we had read before we tried the test again. The test includes one hundred questions and it is given as an oral test. When a person takes this test to obtain citizenship, they are asked ten questions from the one hundred questions available. In order to pass this test you have to get six out of ten questions correct. I am happy to say that my son and I were able to pass after we had read and studied this book. We are planning to continue learning the facts from this book because we both eventually want to be able to answer all one hundred questions correctly. My son also really enjoyed learning more about our National Parks. He has created a list of the parks he wants to visit now after reading this section of the book.

Learning the material from Americana: A Civics Handbook has been a great reminder for me not to take our country's history for granted and I want to do a better job of making sure my children understand it as well. Our family highly recommends this resource if you want to learn more about civics and our nation's history. It is also a great resource if you ever have to take the U.S. Civics Test.

-Product review by Cassandra Holdeman, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2017