history best non fiction books
Historian Bart Ehrman seeks to answer those questions and more in this book. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers – Life in the maelstrom of Hurricane Katrina, The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession by Dana Goldstein – Teacher training, normal schools, and “bad teachers”, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann – The case that helped put the FBI on the map, Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin – A stirring account of the watershed 2008 election, Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes by Adam Hochschild—Early 20th-century America viewed through the life of one extraordinary woman, Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace by Peter Janney – The CIA murder conspiracy that ended JFK’s plan for peace, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of the American Empire by Stephen Kinzer – The origins of the American empire, Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream by Nicholas Lemann—Economic inequality deconstructed in a brilliant historical study, Neither Snow nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service by Devin Leonard – An entertaining history of the post office, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson – When a U-boat sank the Lusitania and changed history, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nancy MacLean – Historical perspective on “the vast Right-Wing conspiracy”, One Nation Under Gods: A New American History by Peter Manseau – America’s surprising religious history in a highly readable book. Many of those biographies might also be classified as history, as they cast light on the times in which their subjects lived. For instance, you’ll certainly see some parallels between contemporary immigration issues and what Zia writes about in Last Boat Out of Shanghai. Mary was the niece of Gifford Pinchot, a Teddy Roosevelt confidante, the first head of the U.S. Forest Service, and a former two-term Governor of Pennsylvania. The picture that emerges is shattering. Historians typically zero in on the stuff of politics and policy, and in wartime on the ebb and flow of battle. That’s the world as the Joint Chiefs of Staff must view it. Rejecting historians’ definition of the discipline as beginning with the advent of written records just 5,500 years ago, Christian’s course began with the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years in the past. I generally trust "best of all time" lists voted by authors and experts over user-generated lists. Rivers affect wars and politics. The current edition of the book covers Japan’s historical timeline from 1989 to 2008 and includes a brand-new chapter that analyzes some of the recent national problems fac… If you’re looking for a comprehensive and unflinching look at Black history and racism in America, Ibram X. Kendi’s book is the one to read. Two decades ago a UCLA geography professor named Jared Diamond published Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. You may notice that some authors appear more than once on this list. As you read and learn the true story of a crime that has almost become the stuff of legends, you be the judge and jury: what really happened when Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August 1892? This book is the story of Edward Oscar Heinrich, who has been called (you guessed it) “the American Sherlock Holmes.” Heinrich cracked at least 2,000 cases in his 40 year career and pioneered forensic science as we know of it today. Also read TIME’s lists of the 10 best fiction books of 2020, the 100 must-read books of the year and the 10 best video games of the year . The facts, just the facts, about the world as it really is, The geopolitical reality behind the “pivot to Asia”, An intriguing murder mystery set in 18th century China. Reinvented stories about amazing women throughout history using fairytales as a framing device? Who knew that street addresses meant so much? In fact, if you yourself believe that claim, it’s even more important that you read this surprising and revealing book. You won’t want to put it down. This is an eye-opening portrait not just of a hotel but of a city. More than two thousand years ago, some five decades before the year we give the number 1, an extraordinary Roman philosopher-poet named Lucretius wrote a 7,400-line masterpiece named De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things). For instance, Driving While Black reflects on Gretchen Sorin’s own personal family history and experiences with traveling on the road. Somaiya’s investigation of this crime includes entirely new evidence, firsthand accounts, and interviews. This was a time period where free love, common-law and transient marriages, serial partners, cohabitation outside of wedlock, queer relations, and single motherhood became more commonly accepted. This is the story of these brothers’ lives as “circus freaks” and their mother’s 28-year-long struggle to get her sons back. Small Business Strategy. This post was updated on December 31, 2020. And because this was a year like no other, we looked back at the most 2020 books of 2020, from prescient science fiction novels to political tell-alls. If you’re looking for a biography on civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Taylor Branch’s Parting the Waters is an excellent read. Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer — How the Koch brothers are revolutionizing American politics, A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War, and the Conquest of the American Continent by Robert W. Merry – The President who launched the Mexican-American War, Right Out of California: The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism by Kathryn S. Olmsted – How today’s conservatism grew in the cotton fields of California, A Bright and Guilty Place: Murder, Corruption, and L.A.’s Scandalous Coming-of-Age by Richard Rayner – Murder and corruption under Hollywood’s bright lights, Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese-American Internment in World War II by Richard Reeves – The shameful story of Japanese-American Internment in WWII, Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin — The shocking reality behind the secret US war on “terror”, Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power by Seth Rosenfeld – J. Edgar Hoover, Ronald Reagan, and the violence in 1960s Berkeley, Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda by Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker – Understanding the secret American campaign against Al Qaeda, Game Changers: Twelve Elections That Transformed California by Steve Swatt, with Susie Swatt, Jeff Raimundo, and Rebecca LaVally – 12 elections that were game changers, Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love by David Talbot – From the Summer of Love to the Jonestown massacre, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government by David Talbot – When America’s secret government ran amok, The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by Jake Tapper – How the U.S. military wages war in Afghanistan, Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United by Zephyr Teachout – Citizens United, bribery, and corruption in America, American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin – The kidnapping that shook America, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam by Nick Turse – A wrenching view of how the U.S. military fought the Vietnam War, A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves by Walter Alvarez – The unlikely story of life on Earth, The Invention of Yesterday: A 50,000-Year History of Human Culture, Conflict, and Connection by Tamim Ansary—Understanding human history as an extraterrestrial might view it, Empire of Cotton: A Global History by Sven Beckert – Capitalism reexamined from an historical perspective, The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization by Vince Beiser—We never think about it, but our civilization is built on sand, Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present by Cynthia Stokes Brown – A new approach to the past, Origin Story: A Big History of Everything by David Christian—A survey of Big History by the man who created the field. The book also explains how the country gradually adopted Western culture, military strategy, and politics after the First World War. I … Grebe’s book is an eponymous celebration of this … Robertson bases her information on 20 years of research, featuring newly discovered evidence. It was far from clear that a catastrophic clash of the extremes could be prevented. Speaking of books that are a fun mix of genres, enter The Golden Thread by Ravi Somaiya. We’ve looked at a lot of books that cover earthly issues. Copyright © 2020 by Mal Warwick Blog on Books | Site by Tarleton Design Studio, 20 top nonfiction books about history plus more than 80 other good ones, My 10 favorite books about business history (plus dozens of others), Science explained in 10 excellent popular books (plus dozens of others), Great biographies I’ve reviewed: my 10 favorites, The New Jim Crow: reexamining mass incarceration in America, Understanding human history as an extraterrestrial might view it, Nixon, Kissinger, and the genocide history has ignored, Teddy Roosevelt and the dark side of American foreign policy. A Man Called Intrepid. Historical Nonfiction Books Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham Adam Higginbotham’s page-turner of a historical nonfiction book tells the story of the April 1986 meltdown of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. If you’re looking for historical nonfiction that focuses more on the lives of Black women, read this book. This one is a no-brainer. Now, Talbot has delved more deeply into the record and taken a far more critical look at Dulles’ career. This is an interesting look at relationships and gender roles, a lot of which were established more recently than you may realize. Racist attitudes were so prevalent and unchallenged in the U.S. at the turn of the 20th Century that the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science—the founder of anthropology in the U.S.—could observe, “The Aryan family represents the central stream of progress, because it produced the highest type of mankind, and because it has proved its intrinsic superiority by gradually assuming control of the earth.” In hindsight, then, it should be no surprise that such celebrated figures as Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and his successor, William Howard Taft, would speak openly about America’s “destiny” to dominate Asia and the Pacific, imposing the benefits of Aryan civilization on the “Pacific niggers” (their term for Filipinos) and “Chinks.” This is the persistent theme of best-selling author James Bradley’s portrayal of Roosevelt and Taft in The Imperial Cruise. The Trial of Lizzie Borden is a well-researched book about the infamous case. And where did our beliefs about the afterlife come from? But when most people think of the Tudor period, they think about a country and culture that was predominantly white. Black people in the rural South lack access to healthcare, sustainable income, and even their own identities and traditions. In the time between the two world wars, London’s Mecklenburgh Square became a home to students, struggling artists, and revolutionaries. Du Bois, and activist Angela Davis. Read the review. by Michael Benninger | Dec 20 2019 This has been a banner decade for publishers of nonfiction, as sales have steadily outpaced fictional literature every year since 2013. Donald Trump’s playbook revealed in a penetrating new book, “How Fascism Works”, 12 good books about the Holocaust, including both fiction and nonfiction, 5 top nonfiction books about World War II (plus many runners-up), 20 most enlightening historical novels (plus dozens of runners-up), Top 10 historical mysteries and thrillers reviewed here (plus 100 others). Our top picks stretch across time and the globe, but you can see many of our favorites are about Western civilization, recent history, and the United States. Higginbotham’s book draws from hundreds of hours of interviews. Following several lists defined (often arbitrarily) by category that include more than 100 good nonfiction books about history. My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit – A prominent Israeli columnist’s sober assessment: Will Israel survive? The central subject of this extraordinary book is the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer in October 1964. The graphic novel series March looks at John Lewis’s lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, comparing where we are now to the Civil Rights Moment of the 1950s. Nixon’s frantic efforts to sanitize his record—including ten books he wrote after resigning from the presidency—and the cult of secrecy that envelops the US government have obscured another history-changing episode: his and Henry Kissinger’s inexcusable collaboration in murdering hundreds of thousands of people in 1971 in what today is Bangladesh. With his eyes focused on the harsh realities of that all-consuming conflict, Hastings debunks the myths that inspired these books and takes their exaggerations down a peg with a long-lacking sense of perspective. Shelves-full of history books have been written about the triumphs of Allied intelligence in World War II. The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic by Benjamin Carter Hett – How democracy died in Germany: is there a lesson for America today? This book rides the border between fiction and non-fiction, but I’ll allow it, because it’s so cool. This is the story of the death of renowned diplomat and UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld. The twins were forced to play racist caricatures throughout their careers. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the Lizzie Borden case, this is the only book you need to read. Read the review. More books reviews and … Sellers writes his own personal story while also asking readers to acknowledge the crisis affecting the other “Forgotten Men & Women” of America. By Dan Kois and Laura Miller Delivering an account of the first month of World War I in 1914, Tuchman tells not just a war story, but an event that would upend the modern world. I said “over 1,000 pages.” This book is long, but the story is compelling. This time in history was a time of great change, and these writers were revolutionaries at the center of that change. We just can’t escape people, it seems. One Nation Under Gods is an ideal companion volume to Howard Zinn’s classic secular history, A People’s History of the United States. What is less well known is how he managed from day to day to persist in the face of such overwhelming odds during the critical first year of his five years in office. Some lists count more than others. Skip to main content.us. Biographies of generals, presidents, activists, etc. And the CIA was deeply involved in her murder. These stories are well researched, thought provoking, and are just as riveting as fiction. I’ve read all these and many more. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Tamim Ansary will help you understand human history as an extraterrestrial might view it. With John Lewis’s recent passing, many people (myself included) have become even more interested in the important work Lewis did in his lifetime. Each year, the judges pick out outstanding books that are both originally researched and readable. Why the West Rules—for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris – Is history too important to leave to historians? But she also focuses on traveling by car and how this mode of transportation has been liberating for Black people in America. Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies by Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit – Why do so many people hate Western values? With extensive research and thoughtful prose, Sankovitch traces the lives of John Hancock, John Adams, Josiah Quincy Jr, Abigail Smith Adams, and Dorothy Quincy Hancock, examining how each of these historical figures played their own distinct roles in the American Revolution. Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World by Laura Spinney – Was the Spanish Flu of 1918 a greater disaster than World War II? The Woman Warrior is such a unique addition to the historical nonfiction and memoir genres. 34 best books for history lovers: ... hoping to confer protection against future attacks. This is a unique and interesting look at Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette. Unlike many of the pioneering books in Big History, Ansary’s is written in a breezy, conversational style that brings the past to life. Sorin looks at how travel guides, Black-only businesses, and informal communications networks have helped keep Black people safe on the roads in the 20th century. Operation Mincemeat. Be it biography, history, nature writing or any other form of true story, non-fiction writing is often loaded with just as much suspense and character as the most exciting novel. This post contains affiliate links. We’ve known for some time that the FBI and Ronald Reagan’s gubernatorial administration were involved in the sometimes-violent conflicts that roiled Berkeley in the 60s. If you need even more historical nonfiction, we’ve got you covered. Bettye Kearse is a presumed descendant of an enslaved cook and President James Madison. You may also be interested in my posts, 12 good books about the Holocaust, including both fiction and nonfiction, and 5 top nonfiction books about World War II (plus many runners-up). The first book in the series covers Lewis’s youth in rural Alabama, the meeting with Martin Luther King Jr. that changed Lewis’s life forever, the creation of the Nashville Student Movement, and the movement’s fight against segregation. A prominent Israeli columnist’s sober assessment: Will Israel survive? Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. Instead of putting together a list of the 223,546 best historical fiction books, I opted instead for adult historical fiction showstoppers that present a wide array of time periods, places, characters, and more. Some of the best historical nonfiction reflects issues that we’re still dealing with to this day. We read historical fiction because we want to travel through time and space. This was essentially the birth of criminal investigation in the 20th century. The books listed here do not include My 10 favorite books about business history (plus dozens of others). Read the review. Contemporary events in Europe suggested that even the best-educated and most sophisticated societies could all too easily turn dangerously radical: barely more than a month earlier, Hitler had been named Chancellor of Germany. I recommend this book to those who wish to demonstrate their physical strength in public and show off that they can read a giant Russian history book one-handed, but also I recommend this book to everyone, ever, in the world, because it’s so fantastic. The story of Churchill’s courage and his brilliant if unorthodox leadership style is well known. Read the review. Each is followed by a linked title to my review. Zero in on the moon landing was quite the accomplishment for the States! Medieval historical nonfiction mixed with memoir is such a unique and interesting look at relationships and gender roles, lot... Reflects issues that we ’ ve been taught that God handed down the ten to. To postpone China ’ s life: 1599 are all arranged in order... Washington social circles is long, but the story of Churchill ’ s sober assessment will. People of Africa by Ravi somaiya in other countries and complicated relationship with the people of Africa six books... 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