IB History Textbooks
History has probably the most complex textbook selection of the IB subjects as it has a wide range of topic options: students can take either route 1 (History of Europe and the Islamic world) or route 2 (20th century history). Within these two routes, students must study three core topics (different for each route), and a selection of optional topics. Higher Level (HL) students must study additional options. Each HL option has multiple sub- topics which must be studied!
Oxford University Press tend to produce single textbooks that cover one entire topic (core or optional), whereas Cambridge produce individual textbooks that cover the sub-topics of the HL options. Hodder Education also have a range of IB History textbooks, taking the same approach as Cambridge. These books have the advantage of being available in e-book form – an option which is typically not available for books from Oxford or Cambridge.
History Skills and Practice Guides
Skills and practice books do not contain historical ‘content’ for the purposes of teaching or learning, but rather contain practice assessments and exams that students can use to prepare for the final IB assessments.
This skills and practice guide does not focus on content but on assessment skills, including source analysis. It addresses all assessment areas for the latest History syllabus (first exams 2010).
Route 2: 20th Century World History Prescribed Subjects
This book covers all three prescribed topics from IB History route 2: 20th Century World History. This book is an alternative to buying separate texts that cover peacemaking and peacekeeping, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and Communism.
Note that if you purchase this book, be sure to get the most recent edition which focuses on the new history syllabus.
Hodder Education are not as well known as Cambridge or Oxford, but produce a range of good textbooks with excellent detail. As well as common textbook features such as practice exam questions and guidance, many of Hodder’s books have the advantage of being available in e-book format – which (in general) textbooks from Cambridge and Oxford are not.
This text from Cambridge covers the required material for the first History prescribed topic: Peacemaking, peacekeeping, and international relations, including Wilson, the Paris Peace Treaties, the League of Nations, and their political and economic impacts.
The Arab-Israeli conflict is a core topic for Route 2 History students, and this book addresses all required content. The book includes a wide range of primary and secondary sources aimed at helping students succeed in their Paper 1 assessments.
As with all Cambridge history books, it includes practice exam questions, examiner’s comments, and mark schemes.
This textbook covers the third of the IB History prescribed topics. It includes example questions, practice exam papers and mark schemes, and examiners comments to help students achieve the highest grades.
Route 2: 20th Century World History Topics
In addition to the three mandatory topics above, the IB History syllabus contains five topics, of which SL and HL students must study two. Each topic contains themes and required content and subtopics. Textbook publishers have generally produced separate textbooks for each of these topics. This means that while several books may need to be purchased, students do not need to buy books that contain topics they will not be studying.
Cambridge University Press have a range of IB History textbooks which cover each of the topics separately and in detail. This book covers the First World War, Second World War (1939-45), Chinese Civil Wars, and the Spanish Civil War (1936-9) and enables students to make comparisons between their causes and effects.
This entry into the bloated IB History textbook market from Pearson covers all required material for the 20th Century World History topic Causes, Practices, and Effects of War.
Route 2: Topic 2: Democratic States – Challenges and Responses
This book covers in detail five democratic states for the route 2 paper 2 topics: South Africa from 1991 to 2000; the United States from 1953 to 73; India from 1947 to 64, and Weimar Germany from 1919 to 33.
Like the IB syllabus, the book is divided into themes that allow students to compare different states and different periods of time: the nature and structure of democratic states, the economic and social policies, and political, social, and economic challenges.
Route 2: Topic 3: Origin and Development of Authoritarian and Single Party States
This book covers everything history students need to study topic 3 of 20th century history. The following states are covered in detail: Castro’s Cuba, Mao’s China, Hitler’s Germany, and Stalin’s USSR.
Divided into themes including the origins and nature of single-party states, and the establishment of single-party states, this textbook covers route 2 topic 3. Practice questions and sample answers are included.
Note that this book does not cover all of the single-party states included in the IB syllabus.
Route 2: Topic 4: Nationalist and Independence Movements
This textbook addresses the requirements for IB History Route 2 topic 4, covering nationalist and independence movements in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), India and Pakistan, Indochina, Czechoslovakia, and Poland.
Route 2: Topic 5: The Cold War
The Cold War is addressed in detail in this textbook, with clear and detailed coverage of the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan,the Warsaw Pact, Castro, Gorbachev, Kennedy, Mao, Reagan, Stalin, and many more essential topics.
This highly-regarded textbook covers all material that IB History students need to study the cold war as one of their optional topics.
Textbooks for HL Options
History Higher Level students must study additional topics. Some of these are well addressed by textbook publishers; others less so. Each option has a range of required sub- topics (for example, the Aspects of the History of the Americas option requires the study of the Cold War). Oxford usually publish one book that covers the entire option, while Cambridge and Hodder Education usually publish separate books per sub-topic (even though each sub-topic must be studied).
Route 2: HL Option 3: Aspects of the History of the Americas
Written by experienced IB history teachers and examiners, this textbook covers all of the required topics within the HL Option 3: Aspects of the History of the Americas. It is an alternative to purchasing several separate books that cover each aspect of American history separately.
This book addresses HL Option 3. Note that it does not cover all sub-topics of this option: the 5 which are not covered are: 3. United States Civil War: causes, course and effects; 4. The development of modern nations; 6. The Mexican Revolution; 8. The Second World War and the Americas, and 11. Civil rights and social movements in the Americas. However, most of the missing topics are covered in detail by other textbooks.
Although not quite so well known, Hodder Education’s Access to History range cover several topics which do not have dedicated textbooks from Oxford or Cambridge.
As the title suggests, this book covers the causes and effects of the American Civil War, which is a required topic for students taking HL Option 3. Note that there is a similarly titled book (Access to History: The American Civil War: Causes, Courses and Consequences) which is not IB-specific. The version described here is designed for the IB syllabus and includes exam advice and integrated TOK activities.
Topic 7 The Great Depression is covered in detail in this book from Cambridge. As with all of Cambridge’s textbooks for the IB History options, this one includes practice exam questions and mark schemes, plus student answers with examiner’s remarks.
This Access to History for the IB Diploma book focuses on the Second World War, which is a sub-topic of HL option 3: Aspects of the History of the Americas. It includes a range of exam-style questions, example answers, and practice activities to help students.
A comprehensive textbook which covers all of the required civil rights movements from the IB syllabus. The book also has sections focused on writing the paper 3 exam, particularly how to achieve the highest grade on the the essay questions.
The Access to History series is designed specifically for the IB History course and covers a wide range of topics. This book covers the civil rights and social movements in the Americas, which is a required topic for students taking HL option 3. The book also includes advice for addressing the assessment requirements, plus example questions with model answers.
This book is an alternative to the Cambridge book offered above. Like most of Hodder Education’s textbooks, it is also available on the Kindle.
The Cold War and the Americas is a required sub-topic of HL option 3: Aspects of the History of the Americas. As with all of the Cambridge textbooks in this series, this book contains detailed historical content and sources, plus exam questions, examiner’s comments, and marking schemes to help students understand the assessment requirements.
Route 2: HL Option 5: Aspects of the History of Europe and the Middle East
Oxford University Press’ IB textbooks are all written in conjunction with the IB and therefore very closely aligned with the syllabus and assessments. Whereas Cambridge produce separate books for each sub-topic of the IB options, Oxford tend to publish a single book that covers all content at once. In this case, the text covers everything required to study the Higher Level option 5.
Students study history route 2, option 5 will find this textbook very helpful. In addition to covering one of the required sub-topics of this area (unification of Germany and Italy, the book features example exam questions, with sample answers commented on by IB examiners.
This book covers all of the required material for IB History HL Option 5, topic 5. It has in depth coverage of Imperial Russia, the Revolutions, and the Emergence of the Soviet State from 1853 to 1924, as well as practice exam questions, sample answers, and mark schemes.
This book is part of Cambridge’s textbook series that covers the Higher Level IB History options – in this case, part of the Aspects of the History of Europe and the Middle East option. The book is closely tied to the IB syllabus and like all of Cambridge’s IB history books it includes example exam questions, mark schemes, and comments from examiners.