Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Patriotic Books

My boyfriend majored in ancient history: Greece, Rome, Egypt, even China and Japan. Compared to these countries, he finds America's history... well... short. I however love American history. I think we've crammed an awful lot of interesting stuff into just a few centuries and being as how we are here now, I think it affects our lives more (although perhaps it would affect it less if our politicians actually did know something about ancient history instead of dooming themselves to repeat and repeat and repeat, but alas, that's unlikely to change.)

If you agree with me and are in a patriotic mood this 4th of July, here are some terrific, below-the-radar books about American history:

A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists, and Other Adventurers in Early America by Tony Horwitz
-American history didn't start in 1776! My review here.

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan
-One of the harshest periods in American history, explained.

A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation by Catherine Allgor
-In my opinion, Dolley is the best First Lady we've ever had, and without her James would have been one of the worst presidents (but wasn't.)

Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk
-Our greatest president was also our most human. My review here

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard
-Our most badass president did other awesome stuff besides presidenting, like exploring. My review here.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
-Chicago was remade with this event which really did change America in so many ways, not all of them good.

All the President's Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
-Our most flawed president is crucial for understanding the state of America today.

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West by Stephen E. Ambrose
-Lewis and Clark, forever synonymous with the West, went on an epically dangerous journey that took balls of steel and more than a dash of crazy.

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
-Sarah loves presidential assassinations and so took a series of quirky trips to find out more about Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed The River of Doubt. Its narative had nothing that would interest me but thanks to my book club I read it.

I'm partial to WWII books, and Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose is one of my favorites.