Microhistories -- Sweeping Social Histories Of Just One Thing
101 Woman: An Intimate Geography
by
4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 2,831 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
102 Tomatoland: How Modern Indu...
by
3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 2,124 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
103 The Basque History of the W...
by
3.81 of 5 stars 3.81 avg rating — 1,881 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
104 Confederates in the Attic: ...
by
4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 13,483 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
105 Uranium: War, Energy and th...
by
3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 892 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
106 The Island at the Center of...
by
4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 3,894 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
107 The American Plague: The Un...
by
3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 2,685 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
108 Cold: Adventures in the Wor...
by
3.55 of 5 stars 3.55 avg rating — 728 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
109 For All the Tea in China: E...
by
3.63 of 5 stars 3.63 avg rating — 1,037 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
110 Last Call: The Rise and Fal...
by
3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 4,262 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
111 Jewels: A Secret History
by
4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 592 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
112 1968: The Year That Rocked ...
by
3.75 of 5 stars 3.75 avg rating — 1,211 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
113 The Great Cat Massacre: And...
by
3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 1,157 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
114 Blood: An Epic History of M...
by
3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 208 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
115 Thames: Sacred River
by
3.74 of 5 stars 3.74 avg rating — 494 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
115 Batavia's Graveyard: The Tr...
by
4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 981 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
117 Hotel: An American History
by
3.55 of 5 stars 3.55 avg rating — 20 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
118 The Golden Ratio: The Story...
by
3.74 of 5 stars 3.74 avg rating — 3,436 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
119 The Return of Martin Guerre
by
3.63 of 5 stars 3.63 avg rating — 1,598 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
120 The Proud Tower: A Portrait...
by
4.14 of 5 stars 4.14 avg rating — 4,028 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
121 Pox Americana: The Great Sm...
by
3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 578 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
121 Waste and Want: A Social Hi...
by
3.71 of 5 stars 3.71 avg rating — 173 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
123 Food in History
by
3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 720 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
124 A Short History of Rudeness...
by
3.04 of 5 stars 3.04 avg rating — 76 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
125 Sweetness and Power: The Pl...
by
3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 942 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
125 One Good Turn: A Natural Hi...
by
3.65 of 5 stars 3.65 avg rating — 297 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
127 The Literary Underground of...
by
3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 85 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
128 How the States Got Their Sh...
by
3.4 of 5 stars 3.40 avg rating — 1,650 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
129 The Fourth Part of the Worl...
by
4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 620 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
130 The Alchemy of Air: A Jewis...
by
4.2 of 5 stars 4.20 avg rating — 815 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
131 Stealing Lincoln's Body
by
3.64 of 5 stars 3.64 avg rating — 787 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
131 Garbage Land: On the Secret...
by
3.75 of 5 stars 3.75 avg rating — 1,060 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
133 The Ascent of Money: A Fina...
by
3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 10,011 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
134 Robbing the Bees: A Biograp...
by
3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 547 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
135 The Lost: A Search for Six ...
by
4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 2,766 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
135 The Swerve: How the World B...
by
3.81 of 5 stars 3.81 avg rating — 13,931 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
137 Oranges
by
4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 1,254 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
137 The Rape of Nanking
by
4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 11,179 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
139 The Colony: The Harrowing T...
by
3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 1,165 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
139 Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its...
by
3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 1,576 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
141 Necropolis: London and its ...
by
3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 646 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
142 The Cheese and the Worms: T...
by
3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 1,584 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
143 Mountains Beyond Mountains:...
by
4.2 of 5 stars 4.20 avg rating — 39,174 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
144 The Song of the Dodo: Islan...
by
4.29 of 5 stars 4.29 avg rating — 4,019 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
145 The Geography of Bliss: One...
by
3.81 of 5 stars 3.81 avg rating — 17,399 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
146 The Negro Family in the Uni...
by
4.2 of 5 stars 4.20 avg rating — 15 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
146 When the Mississippi Ran Ba...
by
3.68 of 5 stars 3.68 avg rating — 265 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
148 The City in History: Its Or...
by
4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 675 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
149 Charlatan: America's Most D...
by
3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 1,363 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
150 The Tipping Point: How Litt...
by
3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 318,279 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
151 Wide as the Waters: The Sto...
by
3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 237 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
152 The Search for the Giant Sq...
by
3.69 of 5 stars 3.69 avg rating — 377 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
153 Wanderlust: A History of Wa...
by
3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 1,074 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
154 Ether Day: The Strange Tale...
by
3.61 of 5 stars 3.61 avg rating — 89 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
154 Trapped: The 1909 Cherry Mi...
by
3.68 of 5 stars 3.68 avg rating — 65 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
156 The Forbidden Best-Sellers ...
by
3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 98 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
157 Birth: The Surprising Histo...
by
4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 1,566 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
158 The Information: A History,...
by
3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 7,624 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
159 Taste: The Story of Britain...
by
3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 192 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
160 In the Devil's Garden: A Si...
by
3.63 of 5 stars 3.63 avg rating — 588 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
160 Home: A Short History of an...
by
3.89 of 5 stars 3.89 avg rating — 606 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
162 Rabid: A Cultural History o...
by
3.64 of 5 stars 3.64 avg rating — 2,283 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
163 Under the Black Flag: The R...
by
3.65 of 5 stars 3.65 avg rating — 4,268 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
164 Evening in the Palace of Re...
by
4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 449 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
164 Four Fish: The Future of th...
by
3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 2,661 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
166 Plagues and Peoples
by
3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 2,157 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
166 Virgin: The Untouched History
by
3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 619 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
166 A Night to Remember
by
3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 9,024 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
169 In Patagonia
by
3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 5,714 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
170 The Wave: In Pursuit of the...
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 5,342 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
171 The Emperors of Chocolate: ...
by
4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 985 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
172 Behind the Beautiful Foreve...
by
3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 42,539 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
173 A Lady's Life in the Rocky ...
by
3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 940 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
174 Close to Shore: The Terrify...
by
3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 2,116 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
175 Straight: The Surprisingly ...
by
3.69 of 5 stars 3.69 avg rating — 340 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
176 Confidence Men and Painted ...
by
3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 69 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
176 The Diligent: A Voyage thro...
by
3.81 of 5 stars 3.81 avg rating — 105 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
178 The Printing Press as an Ag...
by
4.12 of 5 stars 4.12 avg rating — 72 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
179 The Zen of Fish: The Story ...
by
3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 1,371 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
180 The Murder of the Century: ...
by
3.56 of 5 stars 3.56 avg rating — 3,916 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
181 Candyfreak: A Journey throu...
by
3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 3,951 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
182 The Demon in the Freezer: A...
by
4.08 of 5 stars 4.08 avg rating — 6,531 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
182 Wonderful Life: The Burgess...
by
4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 5,486 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
184 The Secret of Chanel No. 5:...
by
3.36 of 5 stars 3.36 avg rating — 480 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
185 Much Depends on Dinner: The...
by
3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 360 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
186 San Francisco Is Burning: T...
by
3.59 of 5 stars 3.59 avg rating — 164 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
186 Flow: The Cultural Story of...
by
3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 798 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
188 The Tiger in the House: A C...
by
3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 56 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
189 The Cigarette Century: The ...
by
3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 185 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
190 Bears: A Brief History
by
3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 77 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
191 Dancing in the Streets: A H...
by
3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 452 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
192 The Ocean at Home: An Illus...
by
3.5 of 5 stars 3.50 avg rating — 8 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
193 Flushed: How the Plumber Sa...
by
3.62 of 5 stars 3.62 avg rating — 191 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
194 Moon: A Brief History
by
3.3 of 5 stars 3.30 avg rating — 33 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
195 Champagne: How the World's ...
by
3.75 of 5 stars 3.75 avg rating — 181 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
196 Vanilla: Travels in Search ...
by
3.58 of 5 stars 3.58 avg rating — 92 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
197 The Filter Bubble: What the...
by
3.76 of 5 stars 3.76 avg rating — 1,790 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
198 Clean and Decent: The Fasci...
by
3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 15 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
199 Striptease: The Untold Hist...
by
3.53 of 5 stars 3.53 avg rating — 43 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
200 Against the Gods: The Remar...
by
3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 5,156 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
flag this list (?)
829 books · 1,272 voters · list created November 10th, 2008 by Blueguitar411 Ross (votes) .
869 likes · like
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Blueguitar411
Blueguitar411
37 books
19 friends
Marie
Marie
1871 books
116 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
2476 books
477 friends
Sally
Sally
4185 books
129 friends
Angel
Angel
1370 books
71 friends
Karen
Karen
579 books
9 friends
Amy
Amy
259 books
14 friends
Sherri
Sherri
656 books
32 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-30 of 30) (30 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

message 1: by Blueguitar411 (last edited Nov 10, 2008 09:05AM) (new)

Blueguitar411 Ross This list is my brainstorming session before setting up a display in the case outside the small branch library where I work.

Written by me (public librarian in New York) my Dad (urban planner and should-be history teacher in Toronto) and my librarian friends on Facebook.

Please add books, comments..!


message 2: by Angel (new)

Angel This is one of my favorite book categories to read. Glad someone made a list for it.


message 3: by Doris (new)

Doris and where are the classics? Cheese and worms by Ginzburg, Martin Guerre by Zamon-Davis and Montaillou by Ladurie?


message 4: by Stephen (new)

Stephen I love this book category as well. In fact I write these sorts of books, although they have gone somewhat out of favour for publishers lately. The list should include Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner and a Gentleman Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail, by Stephen R. Bown


message 5: by Damaris (new)

Damaris what a great list!! i really enjoyed it. honestly all i can see are gaps where more single-minded books need to be written... where is pepper? cats?


message 6: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Good list! I found more than a few to add to my own "To-be Read List". However, I would recommend that you include: "Chicago: A Biography" by Dominic A. Pacyga.


message 7: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Great list! I'm glad to learn that I'm not so odd, friends tease me because I love books on the history of random inanimate objects...


message 8: by Gregory (new)

Gregory Rothbard I think these type of books are my favorite types. They follow one idea and show their connection to the whole historical moment. In an ideal world, I wish U.S. High School History was taught throw one of these books, and the the teacher could fill in the dates and other important markers for the kids to know. History is hard to learn because it is taught as disjointed moments; these books present memorable history.


message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim Great list. Added a bunch to my to read list.


message 10: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Bear in mind what microhistory is, and also social history. A book covering the entirety of the British Empire is neither.


message 11: by James (new)

James Oranges, by John McPhee (and really most of McPhee's excellent work).


message 12: by Bluth (new)

Bluth Thank you for making this list.Found a few new additions to my reading pile.


message 13: by Ali (new)

Ali Raza The list is very interesting read.some topics are quite amazing!


message 14: by Jeppe (new)

Jeppe What an odd list. Most of these books have nothing to do with microhistory at all, but are just regular works of history, popular or otherwise.


message 15: by Kay (new)

Kay Jeppe wrote: "What an odd list. Most of these books have nothing to do with microhistory at all, but are just regular works of history, popular or otherwise."

I agree. These aren't microhistories.


message 16: by Manchespoetra (new)

Manchespoetra jj


message 17: by Steve (new)

Steve Parsons Funny to me how many of these titles that contain the words "That Changed the World."


message 18: by Gary F (new)

Gary F This list is an absolute treasure as this genre is my favorite to read.


message 19: by Claire (new)

Claire Love this list


message 20: by Fiona (new)

Fiona Hurley Great list, but some of these books are not microhistories:
- Guns, Germs and Steel: It doesn't cover "just one thing" but has a much broader scope, more of a "macrohistory" than a micro.
- Year of Wonders: historical fiction
- The Diary of a Young Girl: memoir


message 21: by Catherine (new)

Catherine I love delving into this genre. Many thanks for generating such a comprehensive list. I had already read many of them and am delighted to add so many more to my wish list.


message 22: by Jeanette (jema) (new)

Jeanette (jema) I think I want to read ALL of these lol.


message 23: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Kay wrote: "Jeppe wrote: "What an odd list. Most of these books have nothing to do with microhistory at all, but are just regular works of history, popular or otherwise."

I agree. These aren't microhistories."


Books like "Quiet" aren't even history, much less microhistory. Still, more winners than losers.


message 24: by Grumpus (last edited Mar 24, 2014 04:50AM) (new)

Grumpus McGrouchy A few books are listed twice.
Overall a fairly interesting list.

More Steven Johnson may be needed.

Also: "Speed Tribes: Days and Night's with Japan's Next Generation."
A book about bōsōzoku, Japanese motorcycle 'gangs.'


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads It's easy to add books to lists; at the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes."


message 26: by Grumpus (new)

Grumpus McGrouchy Oh, thanks for that.


message 27: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Just stumbled upon this list: Thank you! This is my favorite genre to read. Looking forward to making my way down the list :)


message 28: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart Ok, this list is a huge mess. Many of the books aren't microhistories at all. I'm going to try to go through and remove some of them. Suggestions?


message 29: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Rainbowheart wrote: "Ok, this list is a huge mess. Many of the books aren't microhistories at all. I'm going to try to go through and remove some of them. Suggestions?"

I've wanted to do that several times, but I can't figure out how and don't know the etiquette there. Part of me thinks we should be democratic and leave anything with multiple votes, but I really don't know.


message 30: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart Hi Ashley, I'm a librarian, so I have powers to do cleanup on lists. As long as the book is clearly miscategorized, it's considered kosher to remove them. I think a lot of people who voted were unaware of the definition of "microhistory," specifically the "one thing" and "sweeping" parts. Biographies shouldn't be on here, nor should accounts of particular historical incidents.

I see some people up above mentioned Guns, Germs, and Steel, and I would agree. That appears to be a macrohistory, not a microhistory. Quiet by Susan Cain is not a history at all. So I'm going to go ahead and delete those two. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks as well. That's a biography of a woman, not a sweeping social history of a thing.

If anyone else has ideas, please post here in the comments.


back to top



Anyone can add books to this list.