The following sources provide overviews of topics in American history and culture. They are a quick way to find out the basic facts and pick up on current points of debate.
When using an article in an encyclopedia or handbook, check the bibliography for further reading at the end of the entry. It will provide a selective list of books, articles, and, sometimes, Web resources considered to be the most authoritative.
Literature reviews are a particularly useful resource when doing research. They address the issues involved in a particular question and the debates among scholars. They map out the intellectual terrain succinctly and give you the major landmarks in terms of key authors and significant titles for greater understanding.