History Odyssey: Modern Times Level 2 Study Guide

Required Resources and Alternative Book List

The following books must be obtained apart from the History Odyssey Modern Level 2 Study Guide. You may use any version, eBook, or print edition of these books. This list includes both the required books and also alternate options (see the note **).

Disclosure: This list contains affiliate links. If you purchase after clicking one of the links, Pandia Press receives a small commission at no cost to you.

Main Reference Spine: The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia (1999 or newer edition)

Optional Additional Reference Spine: The Story of Mankind * by Hendrik Willem Van Loon (optional) There is a free eBook edition of TSOM available at: www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/754.

The History Odyssey Timeline from Pandia Press (or a homemade timeline)

Other Required and Alternate/Additional Books:

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne


Things Fall Apart by China Achebe


The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling


The Red Baron by Manfred Van Richtofen

Alternate/Additional: Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Browne. The story of a boy who finds his father shell-shocked during World War I.

Alternate/Additional: The War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. This story follows the adventures of Joey, a farm horse who is sold to the arm and must survive during World War I.


The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Alternate/Additional: In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III. This is a Native-authored book that tells the story of the famous Lakota warrior during a road trip taken by a modern-day Lakota grandfather and his grandson.


Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith or The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Alternate/Additional: Behind Rebel Lines by Seymour Reit


Animal Farm by George Orwell


Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Alternate/Additional: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Alternate/Additional: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Alternate/Additional: It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Adapted forYoung Readers) by Trevor Noah. The true biography of the famous comedian as he grew up in South Africa Apartheid.


Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah


No Promises in the Wind by Irene Hunt

Alternate/Additional: Instead of this book, your student could do a research project on Dorothea Lange, an American photographer and photojournalist. Some of her most famous and powerful work was her documentation of the Great Depression.

Additional books that could be added to Modern Times Level 2:

Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac. An incredible story from World War II that highlights Native American culture and achievement.

The Night Diary by Veela Hiranandani. A tale written in diary form about the Partition of India in 1947.

I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition) by Malala Yousafzai. This book connects readers with Middle Eastern current events through a young person’s perspective who was greatly impacted by the cultural and political climate of the region.

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park. Focuses on two kids in the Sudan and how their lives intersect, tackling issues of refugees and the importance of clean, available water.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. A story about the ingenuity of one young man who helped his Malawian village by bringing electricity to combat drought and famine.

Click here for a link to the Alternative/Additional list as well as suggested schedule to implement the alternative/additional books in with History Odyssey Modern Level 2: https://www.pandiapress.com/wp-content/uploads/MT-2-Alternative-Booklist.pdf

**A note from Samantha Matalone Cook, who has created our alternate/additional book list for History Odyssey: Modern Level 2:

As the world changes, so does historiography. The approaches and methods used to tell the story of history are rapidly evolving to reflect a more inclusive, holistic view of world history. There are new resources, materials, and research that, even in just the past few years, have revealed how history as a subject has missed, marginalized, or distorted the past for many people and communities.

As I work on writing a new History Odyssey series, my goal is to present middle and high school students with a history education that embodies an intersectional, balanced, global experience that connects them with concepts and skills while underlining the impact the past has had on current events.

In the meantime, I’ve created a list of some alternative books to use with the current History Odyssey Level Two series that are more aligned with the goals mentioned above but still fit within the framework of the existing curriculum.

Thanks for choosing History Odyssey,

Samantha Matalone Cook, MAT


*The Story of Mankind: Due to the polarizing nature of The Story of Mankind by Hendrick Van Loon, it is optional reading in this level two course. It should be considered a possible resource for gathering information. If students choose not to read TSOM, they might need to seek out other resources on the Internet or at a library in order to complete some of the lessons.

Lessons 1-6. Around the World in 80 Days and Geography Review


Includes a map of the travels in Around the World in 80 Days: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Around_the_World_in_Eighty_Days

Free ebook of Around the World in 80 Days through Project Gutenburg: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/103

Public domain version of the audio book: https://librivox.org/search?title=Around+The+World+In+Eighty+Days&author=Verne&reader=&keywords=&genre_id=0&status=all&project_type=either&recorded_language=&sort_order=catalog_date&search_page=1&search_form=advanced

The BBC program of Michael Palin’s Around the World in 80 Days is very good if you are able to locate it.  It is a documentary from 1989 where Mr. Palin follows the path, roughly, from the book. You can read the text from his accompanying book here: https://www.palinstravels.co.uk/static-7

Lessons 11-12. Scramble for Africa
Lesson 13. Point of View- Things Fall Apart

More information about Things Fall Apart: https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/things/


Lessons 22-24. Ireland

The Potato Famine: https://www.history.com/topics/immigration/irish-potato-famine


Short video about the Irish Potato Famine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAnT21xGdSk&feature=emb_logo

Song of the Famine: https://unionsong.com/u806.html

Interesting site from the town of Skibbereen, an Irish town that was devastated by the Great Famine: https://skibbheritage.com/home/skibbereen-history/

 BBC Ireland Independence: Why Jan 1919 is an important date  https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/46480953

Video about the Irish War of Independence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31lilUvmXUA&feature=emb_logo

Lesson 25. A Short History Presentation
Lesson 26. European Control of Southeast Asia
Lesson 29. Japan Opens Its Borders
Lesson 30. Imperialism in China
Lessons 33-34. The Crimean War


This site is practically helpful in determining the causes of the war: http://www.victorianweb.org/history/crimea/index.html

You can listen to Tennyson reading his poem, recorded on an Edison wax cylinder in 1890.  Follow along with the written poem; the recording is hard to hear. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LightBrigade-Tennyson.ogg

Florence Nightingale: https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/florence-nightingale-1

Lesson 36. The Birth of Italy


A timeline of the events of the Risorgimento:  https://www.theflorentine.net/2011/03/10/the-italian-risorgimento-a-timeline/

This short video has an overview of Italian and German unification (also has good information for lesson 37): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSjDe9_jZk8&feature=emb_logo

Lesson 39. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Complete text of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer from the Project Gutenberg: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/74/74-h/74-h.htm

This cave system is located in Mark Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, Missouri and has many of the locations that are mentioned in the book: https://www.marktwaincave.com

The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Missouri has lots of great information about Mark Twain: https://marktwainmuseum.org

Lesson 42. Life in Antebellum America

Primary sources about slavery in the US: https://www.loc.gov/classroom-materials/slavery-in-the-united-states-primary-sources-and-the-historical-record/#students

African-American resources including narratives from slaves:http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/aohome.html

Conditions of antebellum slavery from PBS: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p2956.html

History of Transportation on the Mississippi River: https://cgee.hamline.edu/rivers/Resources/Voices/transportation1.htm

Video lessons about life in America right before the Civil War: https://study.com/academy/topic/life-in-antebellum-america-1807-1861.html

The Pre-Civil War Era: https://www.sparknotes.com/history/american/precivilwar/context/

History of Public Schools in America: https://people.howstuffworks.com/public-schools1.htm

Lesson 43. Literary Elements: Foreshadowing and Symbolism
Lesson 44. Rifles for Watie or The Red Badge of Courage

The full text and also study help for The Red Badge of Courage: https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/redbadge/


Lessons 45-47. The American Civil War




Library of Congress Civil War collection: https://www.loc.gov/search/?in=&q=civil+war&new=true&st=

The Gettysburg Address performed/read by various actors/singers/political figures: https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/gettysburgaddress.htm




The Ken Burns film The Civil War is very good (possibly available on streaming services or at some libraries). This PBS site also includes a whole section for teachers with lesson plans and activities associated with the film but many are great even without the film.: http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/civil-war/

 Crash Course Civil War: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY9zHNOjGrs&feature=emb_logo




Harriet Tubman Historical Society: http://www.harriet-tubman.org

Abraham Lincoln: https://www.thoughtco.com/abraham-lincoln-16th-president-united-states-104273



Ulysses S. Grant: https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/ulysses-s-grant/


Robert E. Lee: https://www.battlefields.org/learn/biographies/robert-e-lee


Lesson 49. Around the World Prior to World War I

Some great maps that show parts of the world before WWI and situations leading up to WWI: https://www.vox.com/a/world-war-i-maps

Lessons 52-53. The Story of World War I
Lesson 57. The Russian Revolution- Make the Connection
Lesson 62. Political Satire
Lesson 64. U.S.A.

Woodrow Wilson: https://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/woodrow-wilson

An article from Smithsonian Magazine about Woodrow Wilson contracting the 1918 flu while in office (includes a short video): https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/what-happened-when-woodrow-wilson-came-down-1918-flu-180975972/


Charles Lindbergh: https://www.biography.com/historical-figure/charles-lindbergh

Al Capone: https://www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/al-capone


Warren G. Harding: https://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/warren-g-harding


Franklin Roosevelt: https://www.thoughtco.com/franklin-d-roosevelt-1779848


The Ken Burns film- The Roosevelts is very good (This documentary series focuses on Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Eleanor Roosevelt).  Available on some streaming services: https://kenburns.com/films/roosevelts/

Eleanor Roosevelt: https://www.thoughtco.com/eleanor-roosevelt-1779802


Constitutional Amendments: https://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Amends

The Jazz Age: https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/modern-world-history-1918-to-1980/america-1918-1939/the-jazz-age/




Art Deco: https://www.theartstory.org/movement/art-deco/


Lessons 65-66. The Great Depression


Video about the Great Depression around the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqjHHhPWDw8

For fun, this is a 1937 film that was intended to boost the spirit of Great Depression-weary Americans about new technical and scientific advances.  (Some of these might make you smile, like cars getting 300 miles to the gallon): https://archive.org/details/Frontier1937

Several topics concerning the Great Depression: https://www.history.com/topics/great-depression


The Ken Burns documentary series The Dust Bowl is very good.  There is a lot of extra information on this website that goes along with the topic. Available on some streaming services: https://www.pbs.org/kenburns/dustbowl/

Causes of the Great Depression: https://www.thoughtco.com/causes-of-the-great-depression-104686

The Great Depression in the UK: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/Great-Depression/

Recipes from the Great Depression era: https://www.thespruceeats.com/depression-era-recipes-1388459

Recipes from the Great Depression: https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/depression-era-recipes/

Lesson 69. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

The Anne Frank house museum has some great information: https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/who-was-anne-frank/

This page from the Anne Frank Museum has a tour of the Secret Annex: https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/secret-annex/

Lesson 71. German Expansion
Lesson 73. The Start of World War II


Newspaper clippings from WWII: https://www.newspapers.com/topics/world-war2/

Information and photos of Lyudmila Pavlichenko, a very successful female sniper who fought for the Soviet Red Army and later toured North America and Britain: https://www.bygonely.com/lyudmila-pavlichenko/

Lesson 76. Holocaust/Genocide Project

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has a large collection on the Holocaust: https://www.ushmm.org


Lesson 84. Wars in Asia

Korean War




Newsreel footage from the Korean War (1950): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OF_Ts_6oSi8&feature=emb_logo

U.S. involvement: https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/korean-conflict

Korean War FAQs from China’s perspective: http://centurychina.com/history/krwarfaq.html

Photos from the Korean War: https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/korean-war-rare-pictures-1951-1953/

The Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C.: https://www.abmc.gov/about-us/history/korean-war-memorial


Vietnam War

The Ken Burns documentary The Vietnam War is vey good, though it has some very disturbing sections especially for younger viewers.  There is a broadcast version as well as a full version.  This section of the PBS website has a lot of extras about the film as well as just general information about the war under the “classroom” tab.  The documentary is available on some streaming services: https://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-vietnam-war/

Part of the above PBS website, this section has stories and photos collected from viewers of the film: https://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-vietnam-war/stories/

Ho Chi Minh: https://www.thoughtco.com/ho-chi-minh-195778

Viet Cong: https://www.thoughtco.com/the-viet-cong-the-vietnam-war-195432



John F. Kennedy: https://www.jfklibrary.org/learn/about-jfk/life-of-john-f-kennedy

Richard Nixon: https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/richard-m-nixon/

Khmer Rouge: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-10684399


Pol Pot: https://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/pol-pot

Lesson 89. State-Sponsored Terrorism
Lesson 90. To Kill a Mockingbird
Lessons 91-92. Civil Rights












Emmaline Pankhurst: https://www.thoughtco.com/emmeline-pankhurst-1779832

Lucretia Mott: https://www.nps.gov/wori/learn/historyculture/lucretia-mott.htm


Elizabeth Cady Stanton: https://www.nps.gov/wori/learn/historyculture/elizabeth-cady-stanton.htm


Available on some streaming services, American Experience’s The Vote, is an excellent, in-depth look at the women’s suffrage movement in the US: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/vote/

Klu Klux Klan: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/flood-klan/


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: https://www.si.edu/spotlight/mlk



Nelson Mandela: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1993/mandela/biographical/

Suggested Books for Further Reading

Recommended Resources

Imperialism and British Control

Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850 by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

History of Australia by Manning Clark (Out of print, check your local library)

The Penguin Historical Atlas of the British Empire by Nigel Dalziel

South Africa: 1880 to the Present: Imperialism, Nationalism, and Apartheid by Bruce Fish

Far West: The Story of British Columbia by Daniel Francis

Ireland: A History by Robert Kee

The Penguin Atlas of African History by Colin McEvedy

Imperialism: A History in Documents by Bonnie Smith.  Part of the Pages from History series, collection of primary source documents.

Nationalism and Unification Prior to WWI

The Crimean War by Deborah Bachrach. An account of the war for young readers.

The Age of Nationalism and Reform, 1850-1890 by Norman Rich. High School level

North America Prior to WWI

A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich. Historic fiction. The moving account of American frontier settler Abbie Deal, who crossed the prairie to settle in Nebraska during the mid-1800s.

Bull Run by Paul Fleischman. Historic fiction. Diary accounts of 16 characters from each side fo the American Civil War.

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt. Historic fiction. The story of the effects on family life and community on both sides of the American Civil War.

Fields of Fury: The American Civil War by James M. McPherson. A concise account of the Civil War for young people, including details on every major battle, maps, photographs, and illustrations.

The Boy’s War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War by Jim Murphy. Diaries, journals, memoirs, and letters of boys who served in the Union and Confederate armies during the American Civil War. 

Wild West: DK Eyewitness by Stuart Murray.

Co. Aytch: A Confederate Memoir of the Civil War by Sam R. Watkins. Civil War primary source. The humorous and tragic personal narrative of a soldier fighting for the South in the American Civil War. 


World War I: DK Eyewitness by Simon Adams

Eyes Like Willy’s by Juanita Havill. Part of the American War series. Middle school/high school level. Tells the true story of World War I. Contains photos and maps. 

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo. Historic fiction. Story of Thomas Peaceful, 15-year-old soldier fighting in France in the trenches during World War I. 

Gay-Neck, The Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Mukerji. Historic fiction. The story of the training and care of a carrier pigeon during World War I.

After the Dancing Days by Margaret I. Rostkowski. Historic fiction. The story of a young American girl and a wounded veteran right after World War I has ended. 

Kipling’s Choice by Geert Spillebeen, translated by Terese Edelstein. The fictionalized biography that follows the true story of John Kipling, Rudyard Kipling’s son, during World War I on the Western Front. 

Between the Wars

Six Days in October, The Stock Market Crash of 1929 by Karen Blumenthal. Detailed story of the event that many believed started the Great Depression in America. Contains many primary sources and photographs. 

The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler by James Cross Giblin. Detailed biography with many photos for young readers. 

The Depression and the New Deal: A History in Documents by Robert S. McElvaine. Part of the Pages From History series. Collection of primary source documents.

We Had Everything But Money by Deborah Mulvey (editor). Personal accounts and anecdotes that offer insight into life during the Great Depression. Describes such events as the closing of banks, looking for a job, braving the Dust Bowl, and discovering homemade fun. (Out of print. Check your local library.) 

The House of Sixty Fathers by Maurice Sendak. Historic fiction. Story of Tien Pao, a young boy trapped in China and and separated from his parents during the Japanese invasion in the 1930s.


World War II: DK Eyewitness by Simon Adams

Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler. Historic fiction. Brutal account of Stalin’s Russia and tyrannical dictatorship at the brink of World War II. (High school level)

World War II by Loyd E. Lee. Concise account of the war including weaponry, rise of Hitler, and long-term impacts of the war. (High school level)

World War II for Kids. A History with 21 Activities by Richard Panchyk. Full of history and hands-on actives for ages 10 and up.

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Translated by H.T. Willetts. Historic fiction. The haunting tale of a typical brutal day in a Stalinist labor camp in Siberia. 

Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac. This young adult book tells of the Navajo men in the U.S. Marine Corp during WWII through the fictionalized tale of Ned Begay, a sixteen-year-old Navajo boy who becomes a code talker. 

Shores Beyond Shores: From Holocaust to Hope, My True Story by Irene Hasenberg Butter.  Irene tells the story of her childhood living through the Holocaust with her family. (Irene is still alive as of 2021, and you can find interviews with her discussing her life experiences on Youtube.  She routinely talks to middle school and high school students about her life and the Holocaust.) This book is appropriate for middle school and up. 

Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive by Laura Hillenbrand. This books tells the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who competed in the Berlin Olympics and then became an airman in WWII and his harrowing journey after being shot down over the ocean. (There is the original as well as a young adult version of this book.) 

World War II: A Student Companion by William L. O’Neill. Encyclopedia-style, readable, concise, and informative book. (High school level)

The World Post WWII

Living Through the Cold War- Living Under the Threat of Nuclear War by Derek Maus.

The Cold War: A History in Documents by Allen Winkler. Part of the Pages From History series. Collection of primary source documents.  

The Vietnam War: A History in Documents by Marilyn B. Young, et.al. Part of the Pages From History series. Collection of primary source documents. 

Vietnam War: DK Eyewitness

The Middle East

The Handbook of the Middle East by Michael Sort

The Middle East (Kingfisher Knowledge) by Miranda Smith

The Haj by Leon Uris. Historic fiction. Story of a Palestinian-Arab family before and after the 1948 war for Israeli independence. (High school level)

Civil Rights, The Environment, and the Economy

The Encyclopedia of the Environment edited by Stephen Kellert. Out of print. Check your local library. 

Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories by Ellen Levine.  The stories of children and teenagers who contributed to the civil rights movement in the United States. 

The Civil Rights Movement for Kids: A History with 21 Activities by Mary C. Turck. Full of history and hands-on activities for ages 10 and up. 

The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley by Malcolm X and Alex Haley. 

The Civil Rights Movement: A Photographic History, 1954-68 by Steven Kasher

General and Other


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