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Best History Books

Recommendations from 16 articles, Barack Obama, Jimmy Fallon, Bill Gates and 130 others.
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Sapiens
A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari - May 15, 2018 (first published in 2011)
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100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be ens...
The Power Broker
Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
Robert A. Caro - Jul 12, 1975 (first published in 1974)
Goodreads Rating
One of the most acclaimed books of our time, winner of both the Pulitzer and the Francis Parkman prizes, The Power Broker tells the hidden story behind the shaping (and mis-shaping) of twentieth-century New York (city and state) and makes public what few have known: that Robert Moses was, for almost half a century, the single most powerful man of o...
Recommended by
Ryan Holiday
How to Hide an Empire
Daniel Immerwahr - Mar 03, 2020 (first published in 2019)
Goodreads Rating
Named one of the ten best books of the year by the Chicago TribuneA Publishers Weekly best book of 2019 - A 2019 NPR Staff PickA pathbreaking history of the United States' overseas possessions and the true meaning of its empireWe are familiar with maps that outline all fifty states. And we are also familiar with the idea that the United States is a...
Recommended by
As'ad AbuKhalil
An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - Aug 11, 2015 (first published in 2014)
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The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the...
Recommended by
Margari Aziza
The Island at the Center of the World
The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America
Russell Shorto - Apr 12, 2005
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When the British wrested New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664, the truth about its thriving, polyglot society began to disappear into myths about an island purchased for 24 dollars and a cartoonish peg-legged governor. But the story of the Dutch colony of New Netherland was merely lost, not destroyed: 12,000 pages of its records–recently declared a...
They Were Her Property
Stephanie E Jones-Rogers - Jan 07, 2020
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A bold and searing investigation into the role of white women in the American slave economy Bridging women’s history, the history of the South, and African American history, this book makes a bold argument about the role of white women in American slavery. Historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers draws on a variety of sources to show that slave-owning w...
Grant
Ron Chernow - Sep 25, 2018 (first published in 2017)
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The #1 New York Times bestseller. New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books of 2017Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most compelling generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant.Ulysses S. Grant's life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and an ...
The Complete Maus
Art Spiegelman - Nov 19, 1996 (first published in 1986)
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Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor's Tale and Maus II - the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler's Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation ...
With the Old Breed
At Peleliu and Okinawa
E.B. Sledge - Sep 25, 2007 (first published in 1981)
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Eugene B. Sledge was part of the war's famous 1st Marine Division - 3d Battalion, 5th Marines. Based on notes that Sledge secretly kept in a copy of the New Testament, With the Old Breed captures with utter simplicity and intense frankness the experience of a Marine in the fierce Pacific Theatre. Here is what saved, threatened, and changed his life...
Recommended by
Paul Graham
They Called Us Enemy
George Takei - Jul 16, 2019
Goodreads Rating
A graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon -- and America itself.Long before George Takei braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war wit...
Say Nothing
A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
Patrick Radden Keefe - Feb 25, 2020 (first published in 2018)
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From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussionsIn December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never...
Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham
Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch
The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker
Leadership by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Lessons of History by Will Durant
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
13 Hours by MItchell Zuckoff
Postwar by Tony Judt
The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan
The Last Lion by Paul Reid
The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
Indianapolis by Lynn Vincent
The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam
Rebel Yell by S. C. Gwynne
Command and Control by Eric Schlosser
Dreadnought by Robert K. Massie
On Desperate Ground by Hampton Sides
The Beatles - All These Years by Mark Lewisohn
The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett M. Graff
March by John Lewis
Stamped by Jason Reynolds
Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
If This Is a Man and The Truce by Primo Levi
Fearless by Eric Blehm
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger
The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre
Assata An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
March by John Lewis
Evicted by Matthew Desmond
Women, Race, & Class by Angela Y. Davis
Blowout by Rachel Maddow
Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari
The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein
Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza
The Last Lion by William Manchester
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden
Red Notice by Bill Browder
The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States by Pauline Maier
Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
The Story Of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
The Guns at Last Light by Rick Atkinson
Rocket Men by Robert Kurson
The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Path to Power by Robert A. Caro
The World as It Is by Ben Rhodes
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Endurance by Alfred Lansing
Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
The Civil War by Shelby Foote
Voices From Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
Master Of The Senate by Robert A. Caro
White Rage by Carol Anderson
The Passage of Power by Robert A. Caro
Factfulness by Hans Rosling
Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis
The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
Why We Can't Wait by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder
Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell
Red Platoon by Clinton Romesha
And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts
Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Clayborne Carson
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson
Skunk Works by Ben R. Rich
Black Flags by Joby Warrick
The Prize by Daniel Yergin
Maus II by Art Spiegelman
My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King
The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes
The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski
Masters of Doom by David Kushner