Top 10 Best Books to Read in Historical Study - August 2021



Here are our top ten recommendations if you are looking for the best books to read in Historical Study. We have made sure our list is diverse to cater to the interests of different types of readers.

1. Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Historical Study - August 2021

Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the number-one New York Times best seller Outliers , reinvents the audiobook in this immersive production of Talking to Strangers , a powerful examination of our interactions with people we don’t know.  How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn't true?  While tackling these questions, Malcolm Gladwell was not solely writing a book for the page. He was also producing for the ear. In the audiobook version of Talking to Strangers , you’ll hear the voices of people he interviewed - scientists, criminologists, military psychologists. Court transcripts are brought to life with re-enactments. You actually hear the contentious arrest of Sandra Bland by the side of the road in Texas. As Gladwell revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, and the suicide of Sylvia Plath, you hear directly from many of the players in these real-life tragedies. There’s even a theme song - Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout”.  Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don't know. And because we don't know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.  The audiobook edition of Talking to Strangers was an instant number-one best seller, and was one of the most pre-ordered audiobooks in history. It seamlessly marries audiobooks and podcasts, creating a completely new and real listening experience.

  • Author: Malcolm Gladwell
  • Genre: Audible Books & Originals, Health & Wellness, Psychology & Mental Health, Psychology, Social Psychology & Interactions

                 

2. Caste (Oprah's Book Club): The Origins of Our Discontents


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Historical Study - August 2021

Number one  NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST “An instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far.” (Dwight Garner,  The New York Times ) The Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author of  The Warmth of Other Suns  examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions. Named the Number One Nonfiction Book of the Year by Time,  One of the Ten Best Books of the Year by People The Washington Post Publishers Weekly  and One of the Best Books of the Year by the New York Times Book Review O: The Oprah Magazine   NPR Bloomberg   Christian Science Monitor New York Post The New York Public Library  Fortune   Smithsonian Magazine   Marie Claire Town & Country Slate    Library Journal Kirkus Reviews LibraryReads PopMatters Winner of theLos Angeles Times Book Prize National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist  PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction Finalist PEN/Jean Stein Book Award Longlist “As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power - which groups have it and which do not.” In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people - including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others - she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Beautifully written, original, and revealing,  Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents  is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.

  • Author: Isabel Wilkerson
  • Genre: Politics & Social Sciences, Sociology, Social Theory

                 

3. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Historical Study - August 2021

In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of Black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER LYNTON HISTORY PRIZE WINNER HEARTLAND AWARD WINNER DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE FINALIST NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times USA Today O: The Oprah Magazine Amazon Publishers Weekly Salon Newsday The Daily Beast NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New Yorker The Washington Post The Economist Boston Globe San Francisco Chronicle Chicago Tribune Entertainment Weekly Philadelphia Inquirer The Guardian The Seattle Times St. Louis Post-Dispatch The Christian Science Monitor From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves. With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties. Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.

  • Author: Isabel Wilkerson
  • Genre: Politics & Social Sciences, Social Sciences, Ethnic Studies, African Descent & Black, African American Studies

                 

4. The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Historical Study - August 2021

“Funny and fascinating . . . If you’re a comedy nerd you’ll love this book.” — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette   Named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews , National Post , and Splitsider Based on over two hundred original interviews and extensive archival research, this groundbreaking work is a narrative exploration of the way comedians have reflected, shaped, and changed American culture over the past one hundred years.   Starting with the vaudeville circuit at the turn of the last century, the book introduces the first stand-up comedian—an emcee who abandoned physical shtick for straight jokes. After the repeal of Prohibition, Mafia-run supper clubs replaced speakeasies, and mobsters replaced vaudeville impresarios as the comedian’s primary employer. In the 1950s, the late-night talk show brought stand-up to a wide public, while Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, and Jonathan Winters attacked conformity and staged a comedy rebellion in coffeehouses. From comedy’s part in the civil rights movement and the social upheaval of the late 1960s, to the first comedy clubs of the 1970s and the cocaine-fueled comedy boom of the 1980s, The Comedians culminates with a new era of media-driven celebrity in the twenty-first century.   “Entertaining and carefully documented . . . jaw-dropping anecdotes . . . This book is a real treat.” —Merrill Markoe, The Wall Street Journal

  • Author: Kliph Nesteroff
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (November 3, 2015)
  • Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Biographies & Memoirs

                 

5. Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Historical Study - August 2021

Michael C. Bender, senior White House reporter for the Wall Street Journal , presents a deeply reported account of the 2020 presidential campaign that details how Donald J. Trump became the first incumbent in three decades to lose reelection—and the only one whose defeat culminated in a violent insurrection.  Beginning with President Trump’s first impeachment and ending with his second, FRANKLY, WE DID WIN THIS ELECTION chronicles the inside-the-room deliberations between Trump and his campaign team as they opened 2020 with a sleek political operation built to harness a surge of momentum from a bullish economy, a unified Republican Party, and a string of domestic and foreign policy successes—only to watch everything unravel when fortunes suddenly turned. With first-rate sourcing cultivated from five years of covering Trump in the White House and both of his campaigns, Bender brings readers inside the Oval Office, aboard Air Force One, and into the front row of the movement’s signature mega-rallies for the story of an epic election-year convergence of COVID, economic collapse, and civil rights upheaval—and an unorthodox president’s attempt to battle it all.  Fresh interviews with Trump, key campaign advisers, and senior administration officials are paired with an exclusive collection of internal campaign memos, emails, and text messages for scores of never-before-reported details about the campaign.  FRANKLY, WE DID WIN THIS ELECTION is the inside story of how Trump lost, and the definitive account of his final year in office that draws a straight line from the president’s repeated insistence that he would never lose to the deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol that imperiled one of his most loyal lieutenants—his own vice president.

  • Author: Michael C. Bender
  • Publisher: Twelve (July 13, 2021)
  • Genre: Politics & Social Sciences, Politics & Government
  • ISBN: 978-1538734803
  • Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.35 inches

                 



6. Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Historical Study - August 2021

Maps have a mysterious hold over us. Whether ancient, crumbling parchments or generated by Google, maps tell us things we want to know, not only about our current location or where we are going but about the world in general. And yet, when it comes to geo-politics, much of what we are told is generated by analysts and other experts who have neglected to refer to a map of the place in question. All leaders of nations are constrained by geography. In this audiobook, now updated to include 2016 geopolitical developments, journalist Tim Marshall examines Russia, China, the US, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Japan, Korea, and Greenland and the Arctic - their weather, seas, mountains, rivers, deserts, and borders - to provide a context often missing from our political reportage: how the physical characteristics of these countries affect their strengths and vulnerabilities and the decisions made by their leaders. Marshall explains the complex geo-political strategies that shape the globe. Why is Putin so obsessed with Crimea? Why was the US destined to become a global superpower? Why does China's power base continue to expand? Why is Tibet destined to lose its autonomy? Why will Europe never be united? The answers are geographical.

  • Author: Tim Marshall
  • Genre: Science & Math, Earth Sciences, Geography, Historic

                 

7. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Historical Study - August 2021

This updated and revised edition of the American Book Award-winner and national bestseller revitalizes the truth of America’s history, explores how myths continue to be perpetrated, and includes a new chapter on 9/11 and the Iraq War. Americans have lost touch with their history, and in Lies My Teacher Told Me Professor James Loewen shows why. After surveying eighteen leading high school American history texts, he has concluded that not one does a decent job of making history interesting or memorable. Marred by an embarrassing combination of blind patriotism, mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, and outright lies, these books omit almost all the ambiguity, passion, conflict, and drama from our past. In this revised edition, packed with updated material, Loewen explores how historical myths continue to be perpetuated in today's climate and adds an eye-opening chapter on the lies surrounding 9/11 and the Iraq War. From the truth about Columbus's historic voyages to an honest evaluation of our national leaders, Loewen revives our history, restoring the vitality and relevance it truly possesses. Thought provoking, nonpartisan, and often shocking, Loewen unveils the real America in this iconoclastic classic beloved by high school teachers, history buffs, and enlightened citizens across the country.

  • Author: James W. Loewen
  • Genre: Education & Teaching, Schools & Teaching, Education Theory, History

                 

8. The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Historical Study - August 2021

Simon Winchester, the acclaimed New York Times best-selling author of Atlantic and The Professor and the Madman, delivers his first book about America: a fascinating popular history that illuminates the men who toiled fearlessly to discover, connect, and bond the citizenry and geography of the U.S.A. from its beginnings. How did America become “one nation, indivisible”? What unified a growing number of disparate states into the modern country we recognize today? To answer these questions, Winchester follows in the footsteps of America’s most essential explorers, thinkers, and innovators, such as Lewis and Clark and the leaders of the Great Surveys; the builders of the first transcontinental telegraph and the powerful civil engineer behind the Interstate Highway System. He treks vast swaths of territory, from Pittsburgh to Portland, Rochester to San Francisco, Seattle to Anchorage, introducing the fascinating people who played a pivotal role in creating today’s United States. Throughout, he ponders whether the historic work of uniting the States has succeeded, and to what degree. The Men Who United the States is a fresh look at the way in which the most powerful nation on Earth came together.

  • Author: Simon Winchester
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, Historical, United States

                 

9. How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Historical Study - August 2021

Instant #1 New York Times bestseller. "The Atlantic  writer drafts a history of slavery in this country unlike anything you’ve read before” (Entertainment Weekly). Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader on an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks—those that are honest about the past and those that are not—that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation’s collective history, and ourselves. It is the story of the Monticello Plantation in Virginia, the estate where Thomas Jefferson wrote letters espousing the urgent need for liberty while enslaving more than four hundred people. It is the story of the Whitney Plantation, one of the only former plantations devoted to preserving the experience of the enslaved people whose lives and work sustained it. It is the story of Angola, a former plantation–turned–maximum-security prison in Louisiana that is filled with Black men who work across the 18,000-acre land for virtually no pay. And it is the story of Blandford Cemetery, the final resting place of tens of thousands of Confederate soldiers. A deeply researched and transporting exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history,  How the Word Is Passed  illustrates how some of our country’s most essential stories are hidden in plain view—whether in places we might drive by on our way to work, holidays such as Juneteenth, or entire neighborhoods like downtown Manhattan, where the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women, and children has been deeply imprinted. Informed by scholarship and brought to life by the story of people living today, Smith’s debut work of nonfiction is a landmark of reflection and insight that offers a new understanding of the hopeful role that memory and history can play in making sense of our country and how it has come to be.

  • Author: Clint Smith
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (June 1, 2021)
  • Genre: Politics & Social Sciences, Social Sciences
  • ISBN: 978-0316492935
  • Dimensions: 6.35 x 1.55 x 9.55 inches

                 

10. A People's History of the United States


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Historical Study - August 2021

"A wonderful, splendid book - a book that should be ready by every American, student or otherwise, who wants to understand his country, its true history, and its hope for the future." (Howard Fast) For much of his life, historian Howard Zinn chronicled American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official version taught in schools - with its emphasis on great men in high places - to focus on the street, the home, and the workplace. Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History of the United States is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of - and in the words of - America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers. As Zinn shows, many of our country's greatest battles - the fights for a fair wage, an eight-hour workday, child-labor laws, health and safety standards, universal suffrage, women's rights, racial equality - were carried out at the grassroots level, against bloody resistance. Covering Christopher Columbus' arrival through President Clinton's first term, A People's History of the United States features insightful analysis of the most important events in our history.

  • Author: Howard Zinn
  • Genre: Politics & Social Sciences, Politics & Government, Ideologies & Doctrines, Democracy