I wrote these pieces over a period of ten years for my history classes at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, in Sudbury, Ma., though not to compete with the many U.S. history textbooks already available. These texts, often dry and lifeless, do serve a purpose, providing students with a long narrative thread and serving as a compendium of names, dates, and facts.
While I do selectively use texts to supplement my course readings and to provide students with chronological structure, I have found that these books tend to slight or omit non-mainstream topics. Moreover, when I am looking for a relatively brief five to ten-page overview of a particular topic (mainstream or otherwise), I find textbooks too superficial and lacking in texture to be of much help.
To compensate for these limitations, while also reducing the amount of lecturing I have to do, I began to write Seats of Power, Seats of Pants. Hopefully, these pieces are also written in a more personal, lively, and interesting manner than the weighty texts that most students have to lug around.
The articles represent nothing more than one teacherŐs attempt to surmount the challenge of teaching history in a meaningful and engaging way. Seats of Power, Seats of Pants can be used by other teachers, or provide a model for their own experiments in writing curriculum for their students.