Defining Moments

History Resources for Today's Students

American history can be taught as a series of “defining moments”—events that have transformed the political, cultural, and social landscape of the nation and its people. The Defining Moments series provides authoritative accounts of these crucial events in American history. Vivid narratives bring the past to life, while biographical profiles furnish a close look at the players associated with the event. Additionally, each volume includes a wide cross-section of historic and illuminating primary documents to stimulate students’ thinking on the subject.
A One-Stop Resource
Defining Moments meets the demand from teachers, librarians, and students for quality information on formative historical events in U.S. history. Each volume presents an authoritative account of a major moment, providing a one-stop resource for student research. Each volume in the Defining Moments series is divided into three main sections:

The Narrative Overview section provides a detailed, factual account of the event or era’s progression, including the background information that shaped the moment in U.S. history. The narrative also explores its lasting impact on America’s political and cultural landscape.
The Biographies section provides biographical background on the event or era’s leading figures, those that were in pivotal, decision-making roles. Each biography concludes with a list of sources for further information on the profiled individual.
The Primary Sources section collects the most crucial documents of the event and time, including excerpts from official documents, papers and resolutions, speeches, letters, memoirs, editorials, and other important works.

    • Defining Moments Online

      Features the full text of the Defining Moments series—in-depth summaries of 30 "moments" that changed the nation and the world, from the Battle of Gettysburg to the events of September 11. Defining Moments Online features all the elements from the printed volumes, including narrative overviews, primary source documents, more than 1,000 images, biographies, timelines, and glossaries.

      • Publication Date: Annual Access
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1369-4
      • Available as E-Book: No
      • Web Price: $249.00

    • American Indian Removal and the Trail to Wounded Knee

      Provides a detailed account of American Indian Removal policy and its culmination at the massacre at Wounded Knee, including its social and political legacy in modern America. Includes a narrative overview, biographies, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2010
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1129-4
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Attack on Pearl Harbor

      Provides a detailed account of the Pearl Harbor attack and the war in the Pacific. Covers the dramatic events of December 7, 1941; chronicles America’s victory over Japan; and explores the legacy of Pearl Harbor. Includes a narrative overview, biographies, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2009
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1069-3
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Battle of Gettysburg

      Provides a detailed account of the American Civil War and the importance of the Battle of Gettysburg. Examines the forces that contributed to the war; early military battles and the Battle of Gettysburg; and the legacy of the Civil War. Also includes biographies, primary sources, chronology, glossary, bibliography, and index.

      • Publication Date: 2013
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1323-6
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • Brown v. Board of Education

      Provides a detailed account of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case. Explores the segregation policy in America that caused the lawsuit and the ruling’s lasting effects on society. Includes a narrative overview, biographies, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2005
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-0775-4
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • Brown v. Board of Education, 2nd Ed.

      Provides users with an updated and authoritative overview of the landmark Supreme Court decision that ended segregation in American schools. Includes biographies of principal figures involved in this pivotal episode in U.S. history, primary source documents, and more.

      • Publication Date: October 2017
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1512-4
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

      This title is not yet published - please see the publication date above. To place a backorder, please contact Customer Service.

    • The Constitution and the Bill of Rights

      Provides users with a comprehensive and authoritative overview of the events leading up to the drafting and ratification of the U. S. Constitution, and the subsequent adoption of the Bill of Rights. Includes biographies of principal figures involved in this pivotal episode in U.S. history, primary source documents, and more.

      • Publication Date: April 2017
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1419-6
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Cuban Missile Crisis

      Provides users with a detailed and authoritative overview of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 13-day confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union in October 1962 that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Includes biographies of principal figures involved in this pivotal episode in U.S. history, primary source documents, and more.

      • Publication Date: 2015
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1348-9
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Dream of America: Immigration 1870-1920

      Provides a detailed account of U.S. immigration from 1870 to 1920. Explores the forces that drove emigrants to the U.S.; shows what they experienced when they arrived; and reviews the history of U.S. immigration through the present. Includes a narrative overview, biographies, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2009
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1070-9
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Gilded Age

      Provides a detailed account of the Gilded Age. Explores the history of America’s post-war industrialization, the wealth it created during the population boom, and its lasting influence on society. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2012
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1238-3
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Great Depression and the New Deal

      Provides a detailed account of the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression, as well as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ambitious program of New Deal reforms. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2009
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1049-5
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Great Migration North, 1910-1970

      Provides a detailed account of the Great Migration. Explores the history of African Americans, the events leading up to their northern movement, and its lasting influence on society. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2012
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1186-7
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Harlem Renaissance

      Provides a detailed account of the emergence and development of the Harlem Renaissance and its ongoing effect on American society. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2008
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1027-3
      • Available as E-Book: No
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Internet Revolution

      Provides a detailed account of the origins and continuing development of the Internet. Explores how the Internet has and will continue to change the modern era. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2005
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-0767-9
      • Available as E-Book: No
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball

      Provides a detailed account of Jackie Robinson’s life and career, focusing on the events surrounding the shattering of the “color barrier” in Major League Baseball. Discusses his life after baseball, his influential position in the civil rights movement, and his enduring legacy as a racial pioneer. Includes biographies, primary sources, and more.

      • Publication Date: 2013
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1327-4
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • Japanese-American Internment during World War II

      Provides a detailed account of the evacuation and internment of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans; describes living conditions in the camps; discusses the economic, emotional, and physical toll on interned Japanese-Americans; and ponders the legacy of internment on American society. Includes biographies, primary sources, and more.

      • Publication Date: 2014
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1333-5
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Korean War

      Provides a detailed account of the Korean War from inception to conclusion, including the continuation of hostilities into the modern era. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2004
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-0766-2
      • Available as E-Book: No
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Lewis and Clark Expedition

      Provides users with a detailed and authoritative overview of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the epic journey through the unknown western wilderness undertaken by Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and their Corps of Discovery in 1803-1806. Includes biographies of principal figures involved in this pivotal episode in U.S. history, primary source documents, and more.

      • Publication Date: October 2015
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1417-2
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • McCarthyism and the Communist Threat

      Provides a detailed account of Senator Joseph McCarthy and his anti-Communist “witch hunts” of the 1950s. Also explores the how the McCarthy era shaped the trajectory of American politics and culture for decades to come. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2011
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1184-3
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Muckrakers and the Progressive Era

      Provides a detailed account of the muckraking movement in early 20th-century American journalism and its contribution to progressive reforms. Explores how the muckraking tradition and progressive political ideas have continued to the modern era. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2010
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1093-8
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • Plessy v. Ferguson

      Provides a detailed account of the legal drama that established the "separate but equal" doctrine. Details the postwar Reconstruction era; the legal issues involved in Plessy v. Ferguson; the spread of discriminatory Jim Crow laws; the effects of segregation on African Americans; and the efforts to overturn Plessy. Includes biographies, primary sources, and more.

      • Publication Date: 2014
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1329-8
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • Prohibition

      Provides a detailed account of Prohibition. Explores the enduring legacy of Prohibition in the modern era. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2004
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-0768-6
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • Reconstruction

      Provides users with a detailed and authoritative overview of the tumultuous period immediately following the Civil War, when the United States faced the enormous challenges of restoring ties with the shattered South and helping four million formerly enslaved people make the transition to new lives as free citizens. Includes biographies of principal figures involved in this pivotal episode in U.S. history, primary source documents, and more.

      • Publication Date: Aug. 2016
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1510-0
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • Roe v. Wade

      Provides a detailed account of the history of abortion in America, describing the Roe v. Wade case, explaining the decision and its implications, examining the continuing debate over abortion rights, and analyzing its impact on American society and politics. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2008
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1026-6
      • Available as E-Book: No
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Scopes "Monkey Trial"

      Provides a detailed account of the famous Scopes "Monkey Trial" and the continuing debate over evolution and religion in American society. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2007
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-0955-0
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The September 11 Terrorist Attacks

      Provides a detailed account of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Explores the history of Islamist terrorism, America’s military reaction, and the events’ lasting influence on society. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2012
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1240-6
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Spanish-American War

      Provides a detailed account of the Spanish-American War. Explores the history of America’s territorial expansion, the events leading up to the conflict, and its lasting influence on society. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2012
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1235-2
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Stonewall Riots

      Provides users with a detailed and authoritative overview of the Stonewall Riots, beginning with the June 28, 1969, raid on a popular gay bar by New York City police that launched a six-day series of violent protests and inspired the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) civil rights movement in the United States. Includes biographies of principal figures involved in this pivotal episode in U.S. history, primary source documents, and more.

      • Publication Date: March 2016
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1442-4
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Underground Railroad

      Provides users with a detailed and authoritative overview of the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses and secret routes used by thousands of enslaved African Americans in the 1800s to escape to free states. Includes biographies of principal figures involved in these efforts, primary source documents, and more.

      • Publication Date: July 2015
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1346-5
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Vietnam War

      Provides a detailed account of the American military involvement in Vietnam from inception to withdrawal. Explores how the lessons and consequences of the conflict continue to influence the modern era. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2007
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-0954-3
      • Available as E-Book: No
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Voting Rights Act of 1965

      Provides a detailed account of the events that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Explores both the racial discrimination and violence that pervaded the South and the civil rights protests that changed American voting rights. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2009
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1048-8
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • Watergate

      Provides a detailed account of the Watergate scandal. Explores how the consequences and lessons from Watergate have continued into the modern era. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2004
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-0769-3
      • Available as E-Book: No
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • Women’s Suffrage

      Provides a detailed account of the history of the women’s suffrage movement and its impact on American life and society. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2006
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-0776-1
      • Available as E-Book: No
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • Woodstock

      Provides a detailed account of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Places Woodstock within the context of the 1960s; describes the festival itself; details how Woodstock changed American popular music; and explores the festival’s enduring significance. Includes a narrative overview, biographies, primary sources, chronology, glossary, bibliography, and index.

      • Publication Date: 2013
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1284-0
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • Workers Unite! The American Labor Movement

      Provides a detailed account of the American labor movement and explores the movement’s lasting social, economic, and political impact into the modern era. Includes a narrative overview, biographical profiles, primary source documents, and other helpful features.

      • Publication Date: 2011
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1130-0
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • World War I and the Age of Modern Warfare

      Provides a detailed account of the alliances and tensions that triggered the Great War; details the horrors of trench warfare and the new weapons used in the conflict; provides an overview of the war’s key offensives; and explains the legacy of the war. Includes biographies, primary sources, and more.

      • Publication Date: 2013
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1325-0
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The WPA—Putting America to Work

      Provides a detailed account of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the centerpiece of the New Deal programs put in place by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to tame the Great Depression and get America back on its feet. Includes biographies, primary sources, and more.

      • Publication Date: 2014
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1331-1
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

    • The Zoot Suit Riots

      Provides a detailed account of the political events, social trends, and racial attitudes that contributed to a week-long outbreak of violence in Los Angeles in 1943 by white servicemen and civilians against young Mexican-American ‘zoot suiters.’ Includes a narrative overview, biographies, primary sources, chronology, glossary, bibliography, and index.

      • Publication Date: 2013
      • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1285-7
      • Available as E-Book: Yes
      • Web Price: $54.00

"Great for teens assigned to research specific topics in American history. They provide valuable information while remaining readable. Teens can also use the authors' source material if more sources are needed for an assignment … Purchase these for libraries in need of nonfiction for young adults. You will not be disappointed with these additions to your collection."

—VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates, Aug ‘15

"High-school students will likely find this, and others in the Defining Moments series, a boon for writing the dreaded historical-research paper. Rather than identifying and poring over sources for their research, readers can find here a one-stop shop: ideas for related topics; vetted, in-depth, well-documented, and interestingly written descriptions of the subject; biographies of important related people; full-text primary source documents; relevant places and terms; a chronology; and more. In short, a wonderful place to begin."

—Booklist, Dec '13

“The books are very informative and thoroughly cover the topics—not just the “moment” of the title, but events that lead to and from that moment. The narrative section is full of “see also” references to direct readers to the biographies or primary sources. ... Students may think they have an understanding of these moments, but these volumes will help them delve into the subject more thoroughly to gain a deeper understanding. ... A great resource for teachers and students alike.

—VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates, June ‘16

"Each book in the Defining Moments series focuses upon a relevant moment in American history, providing details of the culture surrounding the event and the history of the era. … The book layout is helpful to students with a narrative portion explaining the conditions leading up to the pivotal moment in history, the event itself, and the aftermath. … Significant research and details make this series an outstanding resource for students."

—VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates, June ’13

"The Defining Moments series is designed to serve as a one-stop resource for the defining moments in American history. Designed by librarians and educators, these books are well researched, usefully organized, and highly readable for audiences in middle school and up. The Spanish-American War is no exception."

—American Reference Books Annual, 2012

"Written for middle and high school students, this series is also suitable for college libraries serving students of U.S. history with a rudimentary knowledge of the English language. Simple language and the judicious use of white space make this book easy to read, while notes and references indicate a high level of scholarship throughout."

—Library Journal, June ’09

"The Defining Moments series will appeal to readers who are well beyond its storytelling style generally aimed at middle and high school students because of its selection of primary texts not often reproduced in other histories."

—American Reference Books Annual, 2009

"Bottom line: This and all the other books in the series are rich resources that lay readers and students alike will find useful as starting points for exploring events that have shaped American history."

—Library Journal, July ’07

"Books in the series are meticulously researched and very well organized, making them excellent sources for research."

—VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates, Dec ‘05

Standard Features in Defining Moments

  • Library Binding, 7 1/4 x 9 1/4
  • 240 Pages
  • 30-40 Photographs and Other Illustrations
  • Narrative Overview section—provides a detailed, factual account of the “defining moment”
  • Biographies section—presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with the event
  • Primary Sources section—collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era
  • Research Topics—proposes a list of topics suitable for conducting historical research and writing reports, a valuable starting point for student research
  • Source Attribution—contains references for primary sources and other quoted material that guide users to other historical research resources
  • Glossary of Important People, Places, and Terms—gives brief definitions for the many terms used in the book
  • Chronology—highlights the related events in chronological order, along with “see” references that direct the reader to pages in the narrative with additional information
  • Sources for Further Study—provides annotated citations for selected sources that are most useful to students
  • Bibliography—lists books, periodicals, web sites, and videos consulted in preparing the volume
  • Subject Index—includes people, places, organizations, events, and other topics
  • List price $60 per volume
  • School and library price $54 per volume

Research Topics in Defining Moments

Each volume in the Defining Moments series covers a wide range of topics that students can use as starting points for further research. A sampling of potential research topics for Defining Moments: The September 11 Terrorist Attacksis below:

  • Ways in which Israel’s relationship with its Arab neighbors contributed to the rise of radical Islamic movements in the Middle East.
  • Social and political factors that enabled Osama bin Laden to build his al-Qaeda terrorist network into an organization with cells operating around the world.
  • The importance of Ayman al-Zawahiri and other Islamic radicals in pushing terrorist activities that directly contradicted teachings of the Koran.
  • Key points in the development of the September 11 terrorist plot.
  • Counterterrorism policies of the Clinton and Bush administrations.
  • Reasons why the United States failed to uncover and derail the plot before it could be carried out, with special emphasis on failures within the FBI and CIA.
  • Challenges that the 9/11 Commission confronted in its investigation of the September 11 attacks and America’s failure to stop them.
  • Ways in which America’s clashes with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 1991 and 2003 have influenced the trajectory of U.S. counterterrorism efforts.
  • Impact of 9/11 on Americans’ attitudes about their country and the wider world.