Cover image for Freedom : a history of US
Freedom : a history of US
Hakim, Joy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
406 pages : illustrations (some color), maps (some color) ; 27 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E178 .E146 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E178 .E146 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E178 .E146 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E178 .E146 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E178 .E146 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Master storyteller Joy Hakim has excited millions of young minds with the great drama of American history in her award-winning series A History of US. Hailed by historians, educators, and parents for its exciting, thought-provoking narrative, the books have been recognized as a break-throughtool in teaching history and critical reading skills to young people. And the kids themselves agree: Hakim has piles of fan letters as testimony. Beginning in January, PBS, in association with Thirteen/WNET, General Electric and Kunhardt Productions, will present Freedom: A History of US, an innovative television mini-series based on Joy Hakim's award-winning books. Katie Couric will host the series, George and Laura Bush willintroduce the first episode, and celebrated actors such as Paul Newman, Glenn Close, Robin Williams, Matthew Broderick, Angela Bassett, Jeremy Irons, John Lithgow, and Morgan Freeman will participate as narrators. The program will focus on the history of the United States through the inspiring storyof our fight to uphold the ideal of freedom, beginning with the Declaration of Independence in 1776, culminating in the Civil Rights movement, and concluding with the challenges posed by the September 11th attacks. In 8 one-hour episodes appearing nationally on public television, the story ofAmerica will unfold through Joy Hakim's vision: her belief that freedom survives again and again, despite all the mistakes and tragic setbacks, and that in order to succeed in upholding this great ideal we must examine the past. The Freedom: A History of US companion book to the PBS series will capture both the visual energy of the programs and Hakim's rare gift for telling history through the lives of its makers. The book will follow the thread of the programs and also expand on them, providing a more completepicture of the people and events that shaped a defiant band of thirteen colonies into a great nation of 50 states. More than 400 illustrations, sidebars, and historical documents enhance this stunning look at American history for families to share, discuss, and treasure. Freedom: A History of US isan essential book for every household in America, and reminds us that great storytelling and a passion for freedom will always have a place at the table.

Author Notes

Joy Hakim is a former teacher, newspaper writer, and editor who spent seven years writing the award winning A History of US series, developing the books in classrooms and using children as her editors.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Hakim is the author of the 10 volume-series A History of US (1993), written for children, which has sold more than 4 million copies. A 16-part TV series beginning on January 12, 2003, on PBS is based on these books. In Freedom, Hakim divides American history into 16 parts, from the time of independence to a final chapter that chronicles the years from 1968, when Nixon was elected president, to the present. In between, she offers a lucid picture of the events and people that shaped our country: our treatment of Native Americans as settlers pushed westward; early industry with its child laborers; slavery; and the Civil War. Other topics include Reconstruction, women's suffrage, the labor movement, the Depression, World War I, World War II, the cold war, the Vietnam War, and the civil rights movement. With more than 400 illustrations, the book's theme--our continuous struggle for freedom--is explored visually as well as through the author's fluid narrative. George Cohen

Publisher's Weekly Review

If members of the History Book Club do not recognize the name Joy Hakim, grade school students know her as the grandmother who writes history. Hakim's widely acclaimed 10-volume A History of US has earned a place in classrooms across the nation. Now she aims to bring history into the nation's homes as well with a companion book for the upcoming PBS miniseries Freedom. She considers herself a storyteller, and indeed, she writes U.S. history from colonial times to the new millennium as the story of the march of liberty. As she recounts the struggles of women, workers, blacks, immigrants and other minorities to participate equally in American society and government, she reiterates the ideals of freedom of religion and speech, and the right to vote, to a fair trial and to education. Despite advertising claims that the book is "for families," Hakim seems to be writing for children. Young readers will like the personable characters, lively action and conversational style ("There's a whole lot more to this freedom story"). Parents may find her chummy "we" presumptuous and her references to the "founding daddies" impudent. The commitment to liberty and justice for all, Hakim writes, is "not corny; it's not maudlin." True; yet for even the most patriotic Americans, her telling of the nation's history may appear a bit of both. 400 color and b&w illus. (Nov. 15) Forecast: The weekly 16-part PBS miniseries begins airing January 12, 2003, hosted by Katie Couric and introduced by George and Laura Bush, with such noted actors as Paul Newman and Julia Roberts. The inevitable media fest includes a Parade magazine feature and a Today show appearance, an author tour, joint advertising with PBS and series sponsor GE. All this plus Hakim's reputation among teachers, parents and students promise strong sales for the 300,000 first printing. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Both of these works provide a refreshing approach to narrative histories of the United States. Weinstein (Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case), the founder and president of the Center for Democracy, and juvenile author Rubel here offer a college-level work that revolves around 26 events from American history, beginning with Corts and Moctezuma and concluding with September 11, 2001. This approach allows the authors to contextualize events by describing a period in greater detail than in a broad overview. This thematic approach is nicely supplemented by a broad array of illustrative material, ranging from cartoons to contemporary maps, and both the layout and the graphic design are aesthetically pleasing. Each chapter is supplemented by a two-page biographical essay written by a well-regarded historian (e.g., Elliot West, Joseph Ellis, and Robert Dallek). Hakim's Freedom: A History of Us is the companion to the PBS series set to air in January 2003 and is loosely based on her popular ten-volume series, A History of Us. Hakim, a former reporter, editor, and teacher, was reportedly so appalled by the history texts her grandchildren were reading in junior high school that she set out to write her own. Her book is an extraordinary departure from the typical text found in most public schools. Her voice resonates throughout, and her tone is that of a knowledgeable but opinionated maternal figure who doesn't let every detail keep her from crafting a great story. Her work too is copiously illustrated. Although written for different audiences, both of these books are highly recommended for public libraries.-Daniel Liestman, Florida Gulf Coast Univ. Lib. Svcs., Ft. Myers (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Hakim paints an attractive and intriguing portrait of U.S. history as an ongoing quest for freedom, played out by heroic individuals from all social strata. The book is the companion volume to the recent PBS mini-series, and a reworking of her 10-volume A History of US (Oxford, 1995). Lavishly illustrated with color and black-and-white photographs, reproductions, and political cartoons with well-written captions, Freedom pulsates with the life and vigor of the ongoing American story. The author sees freedom as "both our legacy and our destination," and traces that continuity through the individual stories that are woven together in our history. Substantial sidebars bring specific figures to life, and the main text alternates between past and present tense, lending immediacy and drama to the telling. Beginning with the Declaration of Independence, Freedom ends with the events of September 11, 2001. The major events and movements of U.S. history are included, with attention paid to women's suffrage, slavery, and civil rights. Hakim concludes with comments about current concerns over low voter turnout and educational achievements, expressing her fear that "we don't understand our heritage or responsibilities." Her enthusiasm for the American quest for freedom is infectious, at times even a little corny, but always highly effective.-Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.