Year 11 History Enrichment Activities
The core textbook is: Clayton, Murphy, Barnard, Bullock. (2015) Democracies in Change: Britain and the USA in the 20th Century. London: Pearson. ISBN: 9781447985297. Make sure you check the ISBN as there are two books of the same title, but Hodder publishes the other.
While you do not need to start reading this textbook in detail (you can if you like!), it is useful to begin to get used to the layout and different sections of the book.
You can also read the two introductory sections:
- Britain Transformed, 1918-97 (pp.8-9)
- The USA, c.1920-55: boom, bust and recovery (pp.166- 67)
There are some good documentaries available to help set the scene of the two year 12 units. These are some of the best:
- The BBC series Andrew Marr’s The Making of Modern Britain is normally on YouTube. Episodes 1-3 give you some good background about Britain between 1900 and 1918, helping to prepare you for the starting point (1918) of the course itself.
- The PBS series The Century: America’s Time provides a good overview to the history of the USA since 1900. For background to the A-Level course (which starts c.1920), you should watch episode 1 (‘The Beginning: Seeds of Change) and episode 2 (‘1914-1919: Shell Shock’). Also on YouTube.
Fiction and Non-Fiction:
There are also some good books, both non-fiction and fiction, you can read to help you understand the period.
For the Britain course, the best general history of the period covered by the A-Level course is Clarke, P. (2004) Hope and Glory: Britain, 1900-2000.
For the USA, Zinn, H. A People’s History of the USA is a classic, though is a big book that covers the whole of American history since 1492.
If you would like to read some fiction to help you understand the topics you will be studying in the A-Level course, books such as Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh can help you understand England from an upper-class perspective in the 1920s and 1930s. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks, is a good route into understanding a British soldier’s experience of the First World War, as background to the course. The classic book depicting 1920s America is undoubtedly The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. These are obviously just a few suggestions, but any reading on Britain or the USA during the relevant periods will certainly help you!