The list of modern American history books is ordered chronologically for you. 10 best history books. Recounting the final year of the Civil War, Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winner Catton brilliantly describes the epic clashes that turned the tide of the conflict in the North’s favor: the Wilderness, the Bloody Angle, the Crater, etc. There wasn’t another Great War until World War One. One reviewer also mentioned they liked this book for, ultimately, being not just about the Civil War but a meditation on the meaning of war in general. 1. You can see that in debates throughout American history. I wrote my book with the expectation that people will use it as a springboard to stimulate their curiosity about American history. After dropping out of an officer training program to ensure that he wouldn’t miss the war, Sledge joined the U.S. Marines as an enlisted man. Is American teaching like that as well? Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967). A Brief History of American Culture By Robert M. Crunden North Castle Books, 1996 Read preview Overview Something Happened: A Political and Cultural Overview of the Seventies By Edward D. Berkowitz Columbia University Press, 2006 War correspondent Atkinson brings a novelist’s flair for storytelling to this Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the Allied invasion of North Africa. Here in England, whenever we learn history, it seems whether as an undergraduate, at school, or even at primary school, you always learn about the Tudors. ... his book is a telling description of modern power. From Martin Luther King, Jr.’s organization of the Montgomery Bus Boycott to his involvement in the pivotal Birmingham campaign, Branch expertly chronicles a time of radical change in America. Which book shall we talk about next? The Crusades by Thomas Asbridge. His latest book is Fifty Great American Places. The 40 best books to read during lockdown. I choose not to get into that debate, but it has been demonstrated that the original settlements were probably 15-16,000 years ago instead of 7000-8000 as had originally been thought. There’s an expectation that government has a role to play in ensuring our freedom as well as the limits of government. Runner-Up: Voices of Freedom by Henry Hampton and Steve Fayer. We pride ourselves on self-government. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller) 5. Ted Morgan writes about both those places. And then, perhaps, the final frontier—of death—which is reflected in Drew Gilpin Faust’s book. Winner: Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett Fischer. Plus it's quite inexpensive for a scholarly work. It has a sense of permanence, an enduring quality, a combination of beauty and functionality that has inspired artists and filmmakers and poets. And I want to encourage people to preserve historic sites. When you read a book like Drew Gilpin Faust’s This Republic of Suffering, I think you get an understanding of just how impactful the Civil War was on succeeding generations. Some of the most recent theories are that the first Americans may have arrived in the Americas by boat rather than by coming over the Bering Strait. As the world went into lockdown early in 2020, many of us without frontline jobs and lucky enough not to fall sick with Covid-19 found more time to read than usual. Read Today, the same rate of death would equal 6.5 million. It wasn’t just about preserving the Union, now the civil war was going to be about giving us—to quote from the address—‘a new birth of freedom.’ This connects back to Eric Foner’s book. That influenced me quite a bit and shaped how I selected my sites for my book. Then there is the personal freedom movement of the 1960s and beyond, where especially in Western countries—and especially the United States—the idea of personal liberty and personal freedom became very widespread. Parting the Waters : America in the King Years 1954-63 – Taylor Branch. It is based on decisions and choices that people make. This is a seminal work of historical scholarship. So we had nearly fifty years of peace. When you see the Brooklyn Bridge, or you walk over the bridge, you feel as if it just belongs there. But Guinn’s gritty and gripping account reveals that much of what we think we know about the iconic event—including where it happened—is wrong, and shows that on the dusty streets of the Old West, the line between hero and villain was never as sharply drawn as it looks in retrospect. And that debate goes on today, especially during our election campaign. And also, I sense from your books, that the history being written now is more unvarnished? But what suggested it to me was that this bridge is unique as an illustration of how nature and technology can be in harmony. Emanuel Leutze’s iconic—but historically inaccurate—painting, Most Exciting Thriller Books of Summer 2020, Magical Realism Is the Escape You Need Right Now. Few moments in the history of the Wild West are more celebrated than the 1881 showdown between Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and a gang of outlaw cowboys at the O.K. The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) 3. Religion and science. Subscribe to get articles about writing, adding to your TBR pile, and simply content we feel is worth sharing. Whereas here in England ‘freedom’ isn’t a term that comes up much in a political context. But this book is a survey of American history on the theme of freedom, and how that word has changed in meaning, depending on what period of time we’re talking about. The first two places I talk about are the Cahokia Mounds along the Mississippi river near St Louis in Illinois and the other is Mesa Verde in Colorado. Do people get a bit fed up of learning about certain events and wish that they had a broader perspective? These are: the story of freedom, the influence of war, the impact of innovation and technology, the tradition of diverse cultural experiences, and the influence of the American landscape. In fact, many people—including many notable women leaders—have had the vision to recognise the importance of preserving history. But what the Civil War was about, when you break it down to its essential components, was mass killing on a scale that we had never ever dreamed of. John Adams. 5. But the Spanish presence, the French presence, and the Dutch—as well as the English later on—all play a major role in the settlement of North America. Hampton Sides is well known as a writer about nature and the outdoors. There’s also the exploration of the human experience that these books represent. A Pulitzer Prize winning book detailing the civil rights movement in the United States. “Told with vivid urgency and sharp political insight, Nixonland recaptures America’s turbulent 1960s and early 1970s and reveals how Richard Nixon rose from the political grave to … Howard ZinnLively written and well researched, A People’s History narrates the story of the US through the eyes of ordinary people and their experiences, something that most history books tend to ignore. Modern American History ( MAH) showcases top-quality, emerging research on the history of the United States since the 1890s. The national cemetery there is one of the first that was developed in the country. History is not inevitable. Brent Glass, Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the world’s largest museum devoted to telling the story of America, chooses five standout books in a crowded field. Runner-Up: The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto. [mk_fancy_title size=”28″ font_family=”none”]These excellent books detailing the most important chapters of U.S. history are as engrossing as they are informative. After the stock market crash of 1929, the devastating combination of drought, wind, and overworked farms that created the Dust Bowl couldn’t have come at a worse time. Read. With wit and style, Shorto documents life in 17th-century New Netherland, and its capital, New Amsterdam, revealing the Dutch colony’s influence on the American character. Let’s talk about your first book, which is David McCullough’s The Great Bridge. We ask experts to recommend the five best books in their subject and explain their selection in an interview. Divisions between Federalists and Republicans, the threat of war with France, and the third-rail of slavery all threatened to doom the new nation in its infancy. It’s an unlikely work to revive interest in American history but it has taken New York and the country by storm. Read It was financed privately by James Gordon Bennett, Jr., who was the publisher of the New York Herald. The second idea is ‘self-government,’ that we are governing ourselves. There was no such thing as national cemeteries, for example, until the Civil War. Atkinson’s insightful character sketches and enthralling action sequences turn the dry facts of history into an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride. I was born in Brooklyn and grew up on Long Island so I have some personal connections with this particular site. 4.05 avg rating — 315,507 ratings. He was able to put together, through an amazing use of source material, this incredible story of the efforts to discover the North Pole. I have met Eric Foner on several occasions and he’s a distinguished professor at Columbia University and has published many books, most of them on the 19th century and some of the key issues of the 19th century. score: 45,158 , and 460 people voted. Read. Runner-Up: This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust. 3 It gave new meaning to the Civil War. Buy Modern history: 1700 to 1900 books from today. We publish at least two new interviews per week. Michael Burleigh is author of The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: a History of the Present (Macmillan, 2017). This book shaped my understanding of human geography. If you are the interviewee and would like to update your choice of books (or even just what you say about them) please email us at We often take for granted that many of these places have always been here and will always be here. Which country could be the first to reach the North Pole? As Ellis makes clear, the decades that followed the American Revolution and the Constitutional Convention were anything but tranquil. 10 Best History Books in 2020. It is the most talked about and the most written about. He immediately encountered some of the fiercest fighting of WWII at Peleliu and Okinawa, where he secretly recorded his impressions in a pocket-sized New Testament. While he was serving the site, he fell and later died of tetanus. I have seen one estimate that if we were to have the same number of people killed today, as a percentage of the American population, we would have lost six million people. The timeline the book covers is extensive; taking you from time Columbus landed on th… 2. There’s the combination of the emotional and the intellectual in the realisation of the impact of death. Firstly, ‘inalienable rights’ — which are mentioned in the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s a process, and it watch here works, but with today’s technology and offerings, things can be much simpler. Exactly. It explains to readers how the average men and women (as opposed to the ‘Great men of history’) have been the main driving force behind change. We were often taught American history as going from East to West and the British settlement as being the preeminent story. Runner-Up: The Last Gunfight by Jeff Guinn. On the other hand, we expect the government to protect us from the encroachments of capitalism or the downturns of the economy. At a time when record heat waves and severe storms are occurring with greater frequency, it’s essential to remember how the country once survived a natural disaster of its own making.