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Best Books on American History

Recommendations from 14 articles, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Bill Gates and 92 others.
98 books on the list
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David McCullough - Jun 27, 2006 (first published in 2005)
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In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence - when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amo...
Recommended by
Sean Junkins
Battle Cry of Freedom
The Civil War Era
James M. McPherson - Dec 11, 2003 (first published in 1988)
Goodreads Rating
Filled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, Battle Cry of Freedom will unquestionably become the standard one-volume history of the Civil War. James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one ...
New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
Charles C. Mann - Oct 10, 2006 (first published in 2005)
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In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492.Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who a...
Recommended by
John Leguizamo
American Colonies
The Settling of North America, Vol. 1
Alan Taylor - Jul 30, 2002 (first published in 2001)
Goodreads Rating
AMERICAN COLONIES starts with the earliest years of human colonization of the American continent and environs with the Siberian migrations across the Bering Strait 15,000 years ago. It ends in around 1800 when the rough outline of the contemporary North America could be perceived.Dropping the usual Anglocentric description of North America's fate, ...
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 - May 25, 2010
Goodreads Rating
In the tradition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a stunningly vivid historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all.S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise...
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
An Indian History of the American West (Arena Books)
Dee Alexander Brown - Dec 01, 1987 (first published in 1970)
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Now a special 30th-anniversary edition in both hardcover and paperback, the classic bestselling history The New York Times called "Original, remarkable, and finally heartbreaking...Impossible to put down."Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Dee Brown's eloquent, fully documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the s...
Recommended by
Rob Schneider
Trail of Tears
The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation
John Ehle - Jan 01, 1988
Goodreads Rating
One of the many ironies of U.S. government policy toward Indians in the early 1800s is that it persisted in removing to the West those who had most successfully adapted to European values. As whites encroached on Cherokee land, many Native leaders responded by educating their children, learning English, and developing plantations. Such a leader was...
Runaway Slaves
Rebels on the Plantation
John Hope Franklin - Jul 20, 2000
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From John Hope Franklin, America's foremost African American historian, comes this groundbreaking analysis of slave resistance and escape. A sweeping panorama of plantation life before the Civil War, this book reveals that slaves frequently rebelled against their masters and ran away from their plantations whenever they could. For generations, impo...
Jean Edward Smith - Apr 09, 2002 (first published in 2001)
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Ulysses S. Grant was the first four-star general in the history of the United States Army and the only president between Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson to serve eight consecutive years in the White House. As general in chief, Grant revolutionized modern warfare. As president, he brought stability to the country after years of war and upheaval. Y...
The Worst Hard Time
The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
Timothy Egan - Sep 01, 2006 (first published in 2005)
Goodreads Rating
The dust storms that terrorized the High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since. Timothy Egan’s critically acclaimed account rescues this iconic chapter of American history from the shadows in a tour de force of historical reportage. Following a dozen families and their communities through the rise...
The Radicalism of the American Revolution
Gordon S. Wood - Mar 02, 1993
Goodreads Rating
In a grand and immemsely readable synthesis of historical, political, cultural, and economic analysis, a prize-winning historian describes the events that made the American Revolution. Gordon S. Wood depicts a revolution that was about much more than a break from England, rather it transformed an almost feudal society into a democratic one, whose e...
This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust
Advanced Placement United States History, 2020 Edition by John J Newman
Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
The Story of American Freedom by Eric Foner
Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis
Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick
Seizing Destiny by Richard Kluger
With the Old Breed by E. B. Sledge
Rocket Men by Robert Kurson
The Civil War by Shelby Foote
Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
Master Of The Senate by Robert A. Caro
The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch
Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin
The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam
A World Undone by G. J. Meyer
An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson
She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton
The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides
In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides
The Great Bridge by David McCullough
A Stillness at Appomattox by Bruce Catton
American Nations by Colin Woodard
The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman
An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
American Caesar by William Manchester
The Fifties by David Halberstam
Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris
The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
Rise to Rebellion by Jeff Shaara
The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto
The American Spirit by David McCullough
A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo
The Glory and the Dream by William Manchester
What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe
Blood at the Root by Patrick Phillips
Landscape Turned Red by Stephen W. Sears
Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer
The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Vietnam by Stanley Karnow
Crazy Horse and Custer by Stephen E. Ambrose
Reconstruction by Eric Foner
Everything You Need to Ace American History in One Big Fat Notebook by Workman Publishing
Thirteen Days by Robert F. Kennedy
Grant by Ron Chernow
Leadership by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Path to Power by Robert A. Caro
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
These Truths by Jill Lepore
The Passage of Power by Robert A. Caro
Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King
Titan by Ron Chernow
A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan
Unfreedom of the Press by Mark R. Levin
We Were Soldiers Once...And Young by Harold G. Moore
The Rise and Fall of American Growth by Robert J. Gordon
Slavery by Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon
All the Shah's Men by Stephen Kinzer
Indianapolis by Lynn Vincent
The Accidental President by A. J. Baime
Rebel Yell by S. C. Gwynne
Hellhound on His Trail by Hampton Sides
How to Hide an Empire by Daniel Immerwahr
Apollo 8 by Jeffrey Kluger
On Desperate Ground by Hampton Sides
A. Lincoln by Ronald C. White Jr.
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Boom Town by Sam Anderson
Means of Ascent by Robert A. Caro
Justice on Trial by Mollie Hemingway
Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
The Outpost by Jake Tapper
Our Man by George Packer
Frederick Douglass by David W. Blight
Season of the Witch by David Talbot
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
The British Are Coming by Rick Atkinson
A Very Stable Genius by Philip Rucker
American Ulysses by Ronald C. White
The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence S Ritter
We've Got People by Ryan Grim