This chapter of UNITED STATES history includes multi-paragraph sections about Henning von Tresckow and Karl Dönitz, but no mention whatsoever of the Flying Tigers, the Doolittle raid, Aleutian Islands campaign, Rosie the Riveter, the Tuskegee Airmen, George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, or rationing of consumer materials on the American homefront.He has a couple other criticisms of the book too, all of which are fair and deserved. He then goes on to discuss the culture of expert-exclusion that seems to be one of Wikimedia's hallmark features. I will posit that Wikibooks doesn't have that same problem, we have been not only tolerant but welcoming and encouraging to "experts". We've hosted a number of classroom-related projects, teachers and students working to produce very nice books. I've never heard a single disparaging remark from an expert about the culture of Wikibooks. In fact, the response has always been overwhelmingly positive.
Am I the only one who finds this appalling? I would not want my daughter learning about the most significant events in American history this way.
I don't say this to try to disprove what Greg is saying above. I actually agree with him to a point and I don't take offense to people criticising the project. Wikibooks is young, but we are growing and improving. Perfection takes time, even wikipedia hasn't achieved it and they have us beat by two years and several million man-hours.
Writing a book is hard. Ignore the fact that your average book is just a tad longer then your average article (it's not uncommon for a mature book on Wikibooks to be several hundred pages long), there is a lot of stylistic issues that need to be dealt with. Beyond just having length, a book must be continuous: it must build logically from beginning to end, and it must teach along the way. We don't just present information, we must find ways to ensure the target audience can learn. Sometimes, this means we have to cover the same topics over and over again, in different ways for different people.
Wikibooks doesnt have the same mass as WP has, our authors are more spread out around the project. It's not uncommon for some of our users to toil in peace, not interacting with any other users at all. We tend to have about one active author per book, rarely a popular book can attract 2 or 3. This is a far cry from the "many hands" mantra that powers Wikipedia. Mistakes are easy to catch if you have dozens of people reading your book, harder if there are only a few, and near impossible if there is only one. People write what they know, and if a particular author doesn't have Rosy the Rivetter on the top of his head, it likely won't end up in the book.
This isn't a condemnation of Wikibooks, just an admission that we are small and need more people. Everybody needs more people, I read Larry Sanger's blog regularly and he's always trying to convince people to join Citizendium. I might even consider it too, if I had the time or the energy in me to participate in another project. From what I read and from what I hear in casual conversation, Wikibooks is a lot more similar to Citizendium then it is to Wikipedia.
Featured books on Wikibooks are designated rather informally. Sometimes a vote by as few as 4 or 5 people can seal the deal. Voter apathy plays a big part in this, many of our members would rather just write then discuss meta content all day. What we look for in our Featured Books is not perfection, that much should be obvious. We're looking for books which are comparatively good and which are a good model that other developing books can follow. The secret to our method is that books can be de-featured easily, and we do it regularly as the bar gets raised. As we increase our standards, new books rise to the occasion, and old books (like the US History book) fall out the bottom. Finding featured books that aren't good enough to be called "featured" anymore is not a condemnation of Wikibooks or our culture, it's an affirmation that our standards are higher now then they used to be. This is because our editors, while few, are hard working and dedicated. Perfection is the end goal, and Wikibooks is approaching it, slowly, incrementally. We do set reasonable interim goals for ourselves until we reach perfection, and we're not ashamed of that.