Americans, it seems, are notoriously uneducated about our own history — and it's been well-documented. These kinds of headlines have been. Which are the best books on American history? Brent Glass, Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, selects his top five. If you want to learn more about American history you have countless books to choose from. The problem is that most American history books.
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This book should be required reading for anyone interested in the making of today's uneasy superpower." - Robert Cook, Professor of American History. medical-site.info: A History of the American People (): Paul Johnson : Books. The top history books of last year picked by site Book Review Editor, Chris History of the United States is the only volume to tell America's story from the.
He writes that the war could limit the freedom granted to African-Americans by allowing the government control over how that freedom was gained. Chapter 10, "The Other Civil War", covers the Anti-Rent movement , the Dorr Rebellion , the Flour Riot of , the Molly Maguires , the rise of labor unions , the Lowell girls movement, and other class struggles centered around the various depressions of the 19th century.
He describes the abuse of government power by corporations and the efforts by workers to resist those abuses. Chapter 11, "Robber Barons and Rebels" covers the rise of industrial corporations such as the railroads and banks and their transformation into the nation's dominant institutions, with corruption resulting in both industry and government.
The Teller Amendment is discussed. Zinn portrays the wars as racist and imperialist and opposed by large segments of the American people. Chapter 13, "The Socialist Challenge", covers the rise of socialism and anarchism as popular political ideologies in the United States. Du Bois , and the Progressive Party which Zinn portrays as driven by fear of radicalism.
Chapter 14, "War Is the Health of the State" covers World War I and the anti-war movement that happened during it, which was met with the heavily enforced Espionage Act of Zinn argues that the United States entered the war in order to expand its foreign markets and economic influence. Zinn states that, despite popular belief, the s were not a time of prosperity, and the problems of the Depression were simply the chronic problems of the poor extended to the rest of the society.
Also covered is the Communist Party 's attempts to help the poor during the Depression. Chapter 16, "A People's War? Zinn, a veteran of the war himself, notes that "it was the most popular war the US ever fought",  but states that this support may have been manufactured through the institutions of American society. He cites various instances of opposition to fighting in some cases greater than those during World War I as proof.
Zinn also argues that the US's true intention was not fighting against systematic racism, since the US had this itself, such as with the Jim Crow laws leading to opposition to the war from African-Americans. Another argument made by Zinn is that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not necessary, as the U.
The chapter continues into the Cold War , which Zinn writes was used by the U. Zinn believes this was possible because both conservatives and liberals willingly worked together in the name of anti-Communism.
Chapter 17, " 'Or Does It Explode? Zinn argues that the government began making reforms against discrimination although without making fundamental changes for the sake of changing its international image, but often did not enforce the laws that it passed. Zinn also argues that while nonviolent tactics may have been required for Southern civil rights activists, militant actions such as those proposed by Malcolm X were needed to solve the problems of black ghettos.
Chapter 18, "The Impossible Victory: Vietnam", covers the Vietnam War and resistance to it. Zinn argues that America was fighting a war that it could not win, as the Vietnamese people were in favor of the government of Ho Chi Minh and opposed the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem , thus allowing them to keep morale high. Meanwhile, the American military's morale was very low, as many soldiers were put off by the atrocities they were made to take part in, such as the My Lai massacre.
Zinn also tries to dispel the popular belief that opposition to the war was mainly among college students and middle-class intellectuals, using statistics from the era to show higher opposition from the working class. Zinn argues that the troops themselves also opposed the war, citing desertions and refusals to go to war, as well as movements such as Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
People and events from the prison movement covered include George Jackson , the Attica Prison riots , and Jerry Sousa. Chapter 20, "The Seventies: Under Control? Zinn argues that the resignation of President Richard Nixon and the exposure of crimes committed by the CIA and FBI during the decade were done by the government in order to regain support from the American people without making fundamental changes to the system.
According to Zinn, Gerald Ford 's presidency continued the same basic policies of the Nixon administration. Chapter 21, "Carter-Reagan-Bush: Bush administrations and their effects on both the American people and foreign countries.
Zinn argues that the Democratic and Republican parties keep the government essentially the same, maintaining policies favorable for corporations and militant foreign policy whichever party was in power.
Zinn uses similarities among the three administrations' methods to argue for this. Chapter 22, "The Unreported Resistance", covers several movements that happened during the Carter-Reagan-Bush years that were ignored by much of the mainstream media.
Chapter 23 , "The Coming Revolt of the Guards", covers Zinn's theory on a possible future radical movement against inequality in America. Zinn argues that there will eventually be a movement made up not only of groups previously involved in radical change such as labor organizers, black radicals, Native Americans, feminists , but also members of the middle class who are starting to become discontented with the state of the nation.
Zinn expects this movement to use "demonstrations, marches, civil disobedience ; strikes and boycotts and general strikes ; direct action to redistribute wealth, to reconstruct institutions, to revamp relationships". Zinn argues that despite Clinton's claims that he would bring change, his presidency kept many things the same.
Zinn argues that attacks on the U. Bush , but by grievances with U. Professor Zinn writes with an enthusiasm rarely encountered in the leaden prose of academic history, and his text is studded with telling quotations from labor leaders, war resisters and fugitive slaves. There are vivid descriptions of events that are usually ignored, such as the Great Railroad Strike of and the brutal suppression of the Philippine independence movement at the turn of this century.
Professor Zinn's chapter on Vietnam—bringing to life once again the free-fire zones, secret bombings, massacres and cover-ups—should be required reading for a new generation of students now facing conscription.
Blacks, Indians, women, and laborers appear either as rebels or as victims. Less dramatic but more typical lives—people struggling to survive with dignity in difficult circumstances—receive little attention. A People's History reflects a deeply pessimistic vision of the American experience. Foner called for "an integrated account incorporating Thomas Jefferson and his slaves, Andrew Jackson and the Indians, Woodrow Wilson and the Wobblies.
Zinn was often taken to task for peeling back the rosy veneer of much of American history to reveal sordid realities that had remained hidden for too long. Herbert quotes from Zinn's account of the presidency of Andrew Jackson as an example of what he means. Also writing for The New York Times , columnist Michael Powell praised the text's impact on changing the perspective of modern histories:.
To describe it as a revisionist account is to risk understatement. A conventional historical account held no allure; he concentrated on what he saw as the genocidal depredations of Christopher Columbus, the blood lust of Theodore Roosevelt and the racial failings of Abraham Lincoln. Stephen B. Amity Shlaes Goodreads Author. Catherine Drinker Bowen.
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David M. Naomi Klein. Rick Perlstein. Richard Hofstadter. John Keegan. Mark Bowden. Jim Bishop. Vincent Bugliosi. Lester J. Cappon Editor. Eric Foner. Vann Woodward. Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Flagging a list will send it to the Goodreads Customer Care team for review.
We take abuse seriously in our book lists. Only flag lists that clearly need our attention. As a general rule we do not censor any content on the site. The only content we will consider removing is spam, slanderous attacks on other members, or extremely offensive content eg. We will not remove any content for bad language alone, or for being critical of a book. Cindy books friends. Steven books friends. Dave books 51 friends.
Heather books friends. Don books friends. Todd books 13 friends. Lisa books 27 friends. Rob books 23 friends. Oct 15, That's the best American History book. Feb 02, So why isn't it up there? I mean, if you think it's the best then it should have at least one vote right? Jul 26, How is The Rape of Nanking about American history?
Sep 17, Who on earth selected these books? Where is Shelby Foote or Bruce Catton?
Where is a decent history of the American Revolution? Where is there a history of Political Parties in the US? Some of these authors are inferior in writing on the subject matter. It is not only important to learn about our history, but to learn about it from leaders in the field of the subject matter.
Where is the Viet Nam War? Sep 20, It's pretty easy to add books, over at the right side of the page. Shelby Foote is on the list, on page two. There are plenty of books on the list that are either about the American Revolution, or are biographies of the people involved in it. And the books were selected by the people who have chosen to vote on this list. Mar 20, I love this list! I have found some great reads from it.
Thanks to everyone who chose the books. My latest read was Indian Givers and it was amazing. Nov 12, I've read: The Revolutionary Generation" Good. Currently reading: Has been Excellent. Nov 16, I have yet to read a McCullough I haven't liked.
Dec 30, Apr 17, I love The Killer Angels and you can learn a lot from it, but it's a novel. Isn't this a non-fiction list? Johnny Tremain is a wonderful novel that brings pre-Revolutionary Boston to life, but it's not a history. All of Jeff Shaara's books are novels.
I haven't read them and it's unlikely that I will , butI don't think Ron Paul's books are history. Gore Vidal's Lincoln, Burr, etc. Cindy, you're the creator of this list - you want me to remove the non-fiction? I really had non-fiction in mind, but I admit that I voted for Killer Angels.
I really don't want this to turn into a historical romance list, but there's a difference between Gone With the Wind and Killer Angels. What does everyone else think? Apr 18, Y'all tell me what to delete, and I'll be happy to delete it. Jul 03, Jul 04, I don't see any reason why Rise and Fall of the Third Reich should be on, no. Jul 05, Susanna wrote: Aug 29, Go ahead and delete all the fiction.
Also Leaves of Grass, What Ifs? Aug 30, What about Rise and Fall of the Third Reich? I think I have found and removed the non-fiction.
Yes, that one too! Aug 31, OK, I shall remove it, then. Oct 24, Am I Not a Man? Oct 25, Alright, I'll remove it. Apr 07, Although I'm reluctant to be critical of anyone who undertakes the kind of effort on display here, I can't resist commenting that any list of books on American History that includes Jesse Ventura's book and excludes those of Bernard Bailyn -- not to mention Barrington Moore and David Hackett Fischer -- cannot be taken seriously.
You can, of course, add them. Adding books to lists is easy; at the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes. Four British Folkways in America , at least, is on the list, because I voted for it. It is, in fact, currently Washington's Crossing is Loved Albion's Seed.
I read it because of this list. Great book. I certainly think so. Apr 08, Cindy, do you want me to remove Ron Paul's The Revolution: A Manifesto? I'm dubious about this one. Weezer and the Painted Frog fiction. Plankton Have Been Changed by Industrialization. Ingenuity Ingenuity Festival. The Innovative Spirit. Morse Code Celebrates Years and Counting. Library of Congress Celebrates Whitman's th. Travel American South. Travel With Us. The Sublime Sensation of the Swimming Hole.
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