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Best Books on American History

Recommendations from 22 articles, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Alicia Keys and 110 others.
Best Books on American History
99 books on the list
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1776 book cover
David McCullough - 2006-07-04 (first published in 2005)
Goodreads Rating
Join General George Washington and his army on their intense journey towards American independence. In this powerful account, David McCullough captures the stories of Americans from all walks of life who fought for their noble ideals as well as the British commander and his disciplined redcoats. With extraordinary narrative, 1776 tells the story of two young American patriots, Nathaniel Green and Henry Knox, and the inexperienced but steadfast Washington, who had never before led an army in battle. Based on extensive research, this landmark work in American history is not to be missed.
Recommended by
Sean Junkins
Battle Cry of Freedom book cover
Battle Cry of Freedom
The Civil War Era
James M. McPherson - 2003-12-11 (first published in 1988)
Goodreads Rating
This riveting history of the Civil War dives into the political, social, and military events that led up to the war and the battles, personalities, and politics that shaped it. With fresh interpretations and insights, the author challenges old myths and sheds light on new ones. The book touches on topics such as the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, and the North's eventual adoption of a policy of emancipation. Through this fast-paced narrative, readers will gain a deep understanding of this transformative period in American history.
1491 book cover
New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
Charles C. Mann - 2006-10-10 (first published in 2005)
Goodreads Rating
Explore a fascinating and surprising world with this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology. Charles C. Mann challenges the widely-held belief that pre-Columbian Americans lived sparsely in a wilderness. Instead, he reveals that they molded and influenced the land around them in incredible ways, from creating advanced cities to engineering corn in a specialized process. Enrich your understanding of the Americas before 1492 with this transformative read.
Recommended by
John Leguizamo
Empire of the Summer Moon book cover
Empire of the Summer Moon
Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History
S. C. Gwynne - 2010-05-25
Goodreads Rating
A gripping and meticulously researched historical account of the 40-year battle between the all-powerful Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West. Spanning Spanish colonialism, the Civil War, and the destruction of the buffalo herds, this fascinating narrative centers on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all, and his pioneer mother Cynthia Ann Parker, who was kidnapped at age 9 and grew to love her Comanche captors. S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon is a thrilling epic that offers a historical feast for anyone interested in the origins of the United States.
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee book cover
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
An Indian History of the American West (Arena Books)
Dee Alexander Brown - 2001-01-23 (first published in 1970)
Goodreads Rating
Explore the devastating history of the American Indian's systematic destruction in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. This classic bestseller, hailed as "Impossible to put down," is an eloquent and fully documented account of the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that left the Indigenous people defeated and demoralized. Through personal accounts and council records, Dee Brown masterfully tells the story of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes in their own words, changing our vision of how the West was really won. With an incisive new preface, this 30th-anniversary edition is a must-read for those seeking a unique and disturbing narrative of American history.
American Colonies book cover
American Colonies
The Settling of North America, Vol. 1
Alan Taylor - 2003-07-31 (first published in 2001)
Goodreads Rating
Explore the rich and complex history of the American continent and its surroundings, from the earliest Siberian migrations 15,000 years ago to the formation of contemporary North America in the 1800s. American Colonies sheds light on the diverse and often overlooked perspectives of Spanish, French, Native, Russian, and English societies as they competed for control and influence over the continent and its neighboring areas. Don't miss out on this compelling and illuminating story of human migration and society.
American History book cover
American History
A Visual Encyclopedia
Goodreads Rating
Discover the key moments that shaped American history in this extensive encyclopedia for children. From the Battle of Yorktown to the Wild West legends, the book covers everything from the first Native Americans to present-day events. With more than 750 photographs and paintings, extensive maps and charts, and state-specific information, American History: A Visual Encyclopedia is the ultimate tool for exploring the history of the United States. Perfect for both homework help and fascinating leisure reading.
Founding Brothers book cover
Founding Brothers
The Revolutionary Generation
Joseph J. Ellis - 2002-02-05 (first published in 2000)
Goodreads Rating
This book explores the intertwined lives of America's founding fathers, including John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. Author Joseph J. Ellis focuses on six key moments that shaped the nation, from Hamilton and Burr's deadly duel to Adams and Jefferson's final correspondence. With lively storytelling and a focus on personal character over institutional structure, Founding Brothers illustrates the unpredictable forces that have shaped American politics then and now.
Stamped from the Beginning book cover
Stamped from the Beginning
The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (National Book Award Winner)
Ibram X. Kendi - 2016-04-12
Goodreads Rating
This history book explores the creation, spread, and deep-rooted nature of racist ideas in American society. The author, Ibram X. Kendi, argues that racism is still a prevalent issue in America and traces its history through the lives of five major American intellectuals. Kendi explains that racist ideas were created to justify discriminatory policies and ultimately perpetuate racial inequities. Despite the heavy subject matter, Kendi offers hope by providing tools to identify and combat racist thinking. This book won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction and was named one of the Best Books of the Year by multiple publications.
Team of Rivals book cover
Team of Rivals
The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Doris Kearns Goodwin - 2006-09-26 (first published in 2005)
Goodreads Rating
Discover the inspiring leadership techniques of one of America's greatest presidents with this bestselling and award-winning book. Team of Rivals is a thrilling narrative history that shows how Abraham Lincoln saved America by appointing his fiercest rival to key cabinet positions. This book was so impactful that it inspired Barack Obama during his presidency. Doris Kearns Goodwin, one of the most acclaimed non-fiction authors, presents a compelling portrait of Lincoln as a virtuosic politician and managerial genius.
American Nations by Colin Woodard
No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman
The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
John Adams by David McCullough
Trail of Tears by John Ehle
A Patriot's History of the United States by Larry Schweikart
The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood
Grant by Jean Edward Smith
This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust
AP United States History by Eugene V. Resnick M.A.
Cracking the AP U.S. History Exam 2020, Premium Edition by The Princeton Review
Advanced Placement United States History, 2020 Edition by John J Newman
Runaway Slaves by John Hope Franklin
Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
The Story of American Freedom by Eric Foner
Seizing Destiny by Richard Kluger
When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson
Rocket Men by Robert Kurson
These Truths by Jill Lepore
How to Hide an Empire by Daniel Immerwahr
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
With the Old Breed by E. B. Sledge
The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch
The Civil War by Shelby Foote
Roots by Alex Haley
Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Master Of The Senate by Robert A. Caro
A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin
Stoner by John Williams
The Little House by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Lincoln by Gore Vidal
Little Leaders by Vashti Harrison
Little Legends by Vashti Harrison
Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam
She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson
The Great Bridge by David McCullough
A World Undone by G. J. Meyer
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
The Fifties by David Halberstam
Dances With Wolves by Michael Blake
A Stillness at Appomattox by Bruce Catton
The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto
Who Was Ruth Bader Ginsburg? by Patricia Brennan Brennan Demuth, Who HQ Who HQ
Rise to Rebellion by Jeff Shaara
Crazy Horse and Custer by Stephen E. Ambrose
The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe
The Underground Abductor by Nathan Hale
Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska
One Dead Spy by Nathan Hale
The American Spirit by David McCullough
Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz
My Name Is Resolute by Nancy E. Turner
I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 by Lauren Tarshis
Grant by Ron Chernow
Leadership by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Accidental President by A. J. Baime
The Path to Power by Robert A. Caro
Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King
The Passage of Power by Robert A. Caro
Unfreedom of the Press by Mark R. Levin
A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan
All the Shah's Men by Stephen Kinzer
We Were Soldiers Once...And Young by Harold G. Moore
Indianapolis by Lynn Vincent
Slavery by Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon
The Rise and Fall of American Growth by Robert J. Gordon
Hellhound on His Trail by Hampton Sides