All Time Faves: Our favorite books about...American History

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Although America may not be as old as other countries, we still have a lot of fascinating history. Check out these titles to learn more about major eras in American history.

Colonial America | Revolutionary War | Pre-Civil War and Civil War | Great Depression & World War II

Colonial America

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Everyday Life in Early America
By Hawke, David
1989/01 - Harper Paperbacks
9780060912512 Find It

"In this clearly written volume, Hawke provides enlightening and colorful descriptions of early Colonial Americans and debunks many widely held assumptions about 17th century settlers."--"Publishers Weekly" ...More

Book Cover Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War
By Philbrick, Nathaniel
2006/05 - Viking Books
9780670037605 Find It

Winner - 2007 ALA Notable Non Fiction Selection
Massachusetts Book Award - 2007 Nonfiction Award
BookPage Notable Title
The startling story of the Plymouth Colony--from the flight to religious freedom to the war that ravaged New England--is told by the bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea, winner of the National Book Award.

Revolutionary War

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Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
By Ellis, Joseph J.
2000/10 - Alfred A. Knopf
9780375405440 Find It

Winner - 2001 Pulitzer Prize for History
From the author of "American Sphinx", the award-winning biography of Thomas Jefferson, comes an illuminating study of the intertwined lives of the founders of the American republic--John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.

Book Cover Redcoats and Rebels: The War for America 1770-1781
By Hibbert, Christopher
2008/06 - Pen and Sword
9781844156993 Find It

Redcoats and Rebels provides a thorough introduction to the Revolutionary War. Told with great authority and clarity it describes and details the effects of each notable event from 1770 to 1781, examining each of the major battles and skirmishes but not getting bogged down in deep analysis of battle formations and strategies.

Instead concentrating on the war as a whole and its political and economic impacts on Britain and America and consequently how each commander's strategy was affected, the book is filled with anecdotes to give the reader a clearer understanding of how the war affected the lives of those involved.

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By McCullough, David
2007/10 - Simon & Schuster
9781416542100 Find It

BookPage Notable Title
Twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Truman and John Adams, David McCullough returns with the story of the Revolutionary War--a book certain to be another landmark in the literature of American history.

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Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation
By Roberts, Cokie
2005/03 - Harper Perennial
9780060090265 Find It

Drawing upon personal correspondence, private journals, and even favored recipes, Roberts reveals the often surprising stories of the fascinating women--such as Abigail Adams, Eliza Pinckney, and Deborah Read Franklin--who fought the Revolution as valiantly as the men. ...More

Pre-Civil War and Civil War

Book Cover Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1865-1869
By Ambrose, Stephen E.
2000/08 - Simon & Schuster
9780684846095 Find It

The Union had won the Civil War and slavery had been abolished. Abraham Lincoln, however, would not live to see the next great achievement of the American people-the building of the transcontinental railroad. This fascinating book opens with Lincoln, who had championed the building of railroads as a young lawyer, and ends with the golden stake as the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific are linked in 1869. It is the story of the men who made this dream a reality -- businessmen who risked their money, engineers and surveyors who risked (and lost) their lives, and common men -- Chinese, Irish, defeated Southerners -- who did the dangerous and backbreaking work on the tracks that joined the continent as a nation.

In Stephen Ambrose's hands, the Railroad's tale is a truly riveting, truly American tale. ...More

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The Civil War: A Narrative
By Foote, Shelby
1974/11 - Random House
9780394465128 Find It

Already recognized as one of the finest histories ever fashioned by an American, this is a narrative of over a million and a half words which recreates on a vast and brilliant canvas the events and personalities of an American epic: The Civil War. ...More

Book Cover The Illustrated Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
By McPherson, James M.
2003/10 - Oxford University Press
9780195159011 Find It

The bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the Civil War is now available in this beautiful new edition that boasts some 700 illustrations, including 150 color images and 24 maps--plus period cartoons, etchings, woodcuts, and more. ...More

Book Cover The Approaching Fury: Voices of the Storm, 1820-1861
By Oates, Stephen B.
1998/06 - Harper Perennial
9780060928858 Find It

An award-winning historian tells the story of the coming of the Civil War through the voices of 13 principal players of the drama--via their letters, diaries, and speeches--including Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Jefferson Davis, and Abraham Lincoln. ...More

Great Depression & World War II

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The Greatest Generation
By Brokaw, Tom
1998/01 - Random House
9780375502026 Find It

One of NBC's most famous anchormen celebrates the greatest generation in history--Americans born in the 1920s who came of age during the Great Depression, fought in World War II, and went on to build America. "The Greatest Generation" will be also be the subject of a concurrent NBC-TV show. Photos throughout. ...More

Book Cover No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II
By Goodwin, Doris Kearns
2007/01 - Simon & Schuster
9780684804484 Find It

Winner - 1995 Pulitzer Prize for History
Presenting an aspect of American history that has never been fully told, this Pulitzer Prize-winning work paints a detailed, intimate portrait of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt and provides a brilliant narrative account of America during wartime.

Book Cover Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945
By Kennedy, David M.
Woodward, C. Vann
1999/03 - Oxford University Press
9780195038347 Find It

Winner - 2000 Pulitzer Prize for History
The newest volume in the award-winning Oxford History of the United States--a brilliant narrative spanning the Great Depression, FDR's New Deal, and the Second World War. 58 illustrations.

Book Cover Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal: 1932-1940
By Leuchtenburg, William E.
2009/03 - Harper Perennial
9780061836961 Find It

When the stability of American life was threatened by the Great Depression, the decisive and visionary policy contained in FDR's New Deal offered America a way forward. In this groundbreaking work, William E. Leuchtenburg traces the evolution of what was both the most controversial and effective socioeconomic initiative ever undertaken in the United States--and explains how the social fabric of American life was forever altered. It offers illuminating lessons on the challenges of economic transformation--for our time and for all time. ...More

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The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression
By Shlaes, Amity
2007/06 - HarperCollins Publishers
9780066211701 Find It

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From one of the nations most respected economic commentators comes a fresh new interpretation of a crucial yet widely misunderstood moment in American history—the Great Depression.

Book Cover Hard Times: An Oral History of Great Depression
By Terkel, Studs
2005/04 - New Press
9781565846562 Find It

Studs Terkel's classic history of the Great Depression. ...More


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