1949-89: A History Lesson By Billy Joel

In 1989, Billy Joel released a song called "We Didn't Start the Fire," which identifies---in a stream of conciousness format--- key people and events in US and World History from the year of Joel's birth (1949) to the present at that time.

This list is dedicated to books or authors identified in the song AND books about the people and events described.

For a great overview of the people and events identified in the song see: http://www.school-for-champions.com/h...
1

by
3.80 avg rating — 2,448,403 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
2

by
4.17 avg rating — 166 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
3

by
4.08 avg rating — 235,848 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
4

by
3.96 avg rating — 231,275 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
5

by
4.03 avg rating — 73,303 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
6

by
3.91 avg rating — 255,951 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
7

by
4.31 avg rating — 168,629 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
8

by
3.75 avg rating — 9,163 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
8

by
4.04 avg rating — 13,573 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
10

by
3.57 avg rating — 290,967 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
11

by
3.63 avg rating — 313,826 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
12

by
4.03 avg rating — 7,206 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
13

by
3.80 avg rating — 239,233 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
14

by
4.37 avg rating — 386,274 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
15

by
4.15 avg rating — 34,599 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
16

by
3.76 avg rating — 714,446 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
17

by
3.25 avg rating — 1,590 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
18

by
4.35 avg rating — 15,486 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
19

by
4.07 avg rating — 3,470 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
19

by
3.83 avg rating — 182,109 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
21

by
4.39 avg rating — 20,395 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
22

by
3.80 avg rating — 29,212 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
23

by
3.97 avg rating — 41,758 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
24

by
4.25 avg rating — 79,857 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
25

by
3.76 avg rating — 5,502 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
26

by
4.11 avg rating — 1,466 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
27

by
4.23 avg rating — 1,022 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
28

by
4.12 avg rating — 72,572 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
29

by
4.10 avg rating — 47,581 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
30

by
4.19 avg rating — 42,364 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
31

by
3.98 avg rating — 246,448 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
32

by
3.82 avg rating — 339,509 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
33

by
3.78 avg rating — 1,495 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
34

by
3.99 avg rating — 520,735 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
35

by
3.76 avg rating — 280 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
36

by
4.22 avg rating — 2,785 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
37

by
2.90 avg rating — 99 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
38

by
4.03 avg rating — 31,153 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
39

by
4.21 avg rating — 12,916 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
39

by
4.15 avg rating — 635 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
41

by
4.18 avg rating — 16,110 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
42

by
4.09 avg rating — 6,484 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
43

by
4.15 avg rating — 1,946 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
44

by
3.74 avg rating — 62 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
45

by
3.92 avg rating — 163 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
46

by
4.19 avg rating — 368 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
47

by
3.99 avg rating — 371 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
48

by
3.87 avg rating — 23,827 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
49

by
4.10 avg rating — 105,938 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
50

by
4.21 avg rating — 6,761 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
51

by
4.18 avg rating — 2,156 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
52

by
4.19 avg rating — 14,934 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
52

by
3.71 avg rating — 49,227 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
54

by
4.06 avg rating — 1,110 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
55

by
4.05 avg rating — 635 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
56

by
0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
57

by
3.95 avg rating — 141 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
58

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 2 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
59

by
3.98 avg rating — 43,876 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
60

by
4.16 avg rating — 336 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
61

by
3.35 avg rating — 26 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62

by
3.80 avg rating — 339 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62

by
3.86 avg rating — 56 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
64

by
3.56 avg rating — 126 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
65

by
4.43 avg rating — 56,964 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
66

by
3.98 avg rating — 264 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
67

by
4.31 avg rating — 8,258 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
68

by
3.45 avg rating — 66 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
69

by
liked it 3.00 avg rating — 2 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
70

by
3.30 avg rating — 261 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
71

by
3.86 avg rating — 185 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
72

by
4.17 avg rating — 10,363 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
73

by
4.01 avg rating — 110 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
74

by
3.55 avg rating — 89,762 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
75

by
liked it 3.00 avg rating — 1 rating
Rate this book
Clear rating
76

by
4.30 avg rating — 5,266 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
77

by
liked it 3.00 avg rating — 10 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
78

by
3.93 avg rating — 14 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
79

by
4.26 avg rating — 1,163 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
80

by
3.87 avg rating — 643 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
81

by
3.58 avg rating — 31 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
82

by
3.83 avg rating — 124 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
83

by
4.15 avg rating — 5,567 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
83

by
3.43 avg rating — 87 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
83

by
3.95 avg rating — 487 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
83

by
4.36 avg rating — 4,016 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
87

by
4.01 avg rating — 1,095 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
87

by
3.20 avg rating — 15 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
89

by
3.73 avg rating — 94 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
89

by
4.35 avg rating — 188 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
4.14 avg rating — 7,267 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
3.91 avg rating — 22 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
93

by
3.91 avg rating — 415 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
93

by
3.93 avg rating — 5,220 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
93

by
3.62 avg rating — 8 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
96

by
3.34 avg rating — 305 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
97

by
3.40 avg rating — 10 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
98

by
4.30 avg rating — 5,710 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
99

by
3.82 avg rating — 1,194 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
100

by
3.99 avg rating — 4,128 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
flag this list (?)
174 books · 56 voters · list created February 4th, 2013 by Ben (votes) .
48 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Ben 1078 books
73 friends
Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) 546 books
460 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3119 books
817 friends
Nenia ⭐ Literary Garbage Can ⭐ 3066 books
2544 friends
Wanda 2439 books
17 friends
Thom 6023 books
312 friends
Laura 11419 books
272 friends
Ellinor 7733 books
420 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (last edited Feb 04, 2013 02:34PM) (new)

Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Great list!

The song's lyrics, for reference:

Harry Truman Doris Day Red China Johnnie Ray
South Pacific Walter Winchell Joe DiMaggio
Joe McCarthy Richard Nixon Studebacker television
North Korea South Korea Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs H-bomb Sugar Ray Panmunjom
Brando The King and I and The catcher in the Rye
Eisenhower vaccine England's got a new queen
Maricano Liberace Santayana goodbye

We didn't start the fire
it was always burning
since the world's been turning
we didn't start the fire
no we didn't light it
but we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin Malenkov Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller Campanella communist block
Roy Cohn Juan Perón Toscanini dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls Rock Around the Clock

Einstein James Dean Brooklyn's got a winning team
Davy Crockett Peter Pan Elvis Presley Disneyland
Bardot Budapest Alabama Krushchev
Princess Grace Peyton Place trouble in the Suez

We didn't start the fire
it was always burning
since the world's been turning
we didn't start the fire
no we didn't light it
but we tried to fight it

Little Rock Pasternak Mickey Mantle Kerouac
Sputnik Chou En-Lai Bridge on the River Kwai
Lebanon Charles de Gaulle California baseball
Starkweather homicide children of thalidomide

Buddy Holly Ben Hur space monkey Mafia
Hula hoops Castro Edsel is a no-go
U2 Syngman Rhee payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker Psycho Belgians in the Congo

We didn't start the fire
it was always burning
since the world's been turning
we didn't start the fire
no we didn't light it
but we tried to fight it

Hemingway Eichmann Stranger in a Strange Land
Dylan Berlin Bay of Pigs invasion
Lawrence of Arabia British Beatlemania
Ole Miss John Glenn Liston beats Patterson
Pope Paul Malcolm X British politican sex
JFK blown away what else do I have to say

We didn't start the fire
it was always burning
since the world's been turning
we didn't start the fire
no we didn't light it
but we tried to fight it

Birth control Ho Chi Minh Richard Nixon back again
moonshot Woodstock Watergate punk rock
Begin Reagan Palestine terror on the airline
Ayatollah's in Iran Russians in Afghanistan

Wheel of Fortune Sally Ride heavy metal suicide
foreign debts homeless vets AIDS cracks Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores China's under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars I can't take it anymore

We didn't start the fire
it was always burning
since the world's been turning
we didn't start the fire
but when we are gone
will it still burn on and on and on and on
and on and on and on and on


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Crossing the Threshold of Hope - think that's by the wrong "Pope Paul" - from the context of the verse I think he meant Pope Paul IV (1963-1978).


message 3: by Ben (new)

Ben Susanna wrote: "Crossing the Threshold of Hope - think that's by the wrong "Pope Paul" - from the context of the verse I think he meant Pope Paul IV (1963-1978)."

Thanks Susanna. That was my error. I deleted it.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Ben wrote: "Thanks TA!

I think you missed a couple of verses though..."


Ooops -- amended! :)


message 5: by Saturday's (new)

Saturday's Child What a great list.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I question the presence of Hard Wired: A Crash Course in Small College Football. I see nothing in the song referring to college football (both "Alabama" and "Ole Miss" refer to things not their football teams, and neither plays what I'd describe as "small college football" anyway).


message 7: by Ben (new)

Ben Susanna wrote: "I question the presence of Hard Wired: A Crash Course in Small College Football. I see nothing in the song referring to college football (both "Alabama" and "Ole Miss" refer to things not their fo..."

You're right Susanna. In fact, the only sports he references are baseball and boxing. Thanks for catching that.

I was going to delete it, but couldn't find it. Where is it on the list?


message 9: by Ben (new)

Ben Susanna wrote: "#48."

Thanks... it's gone. It was quite clearly spam.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Yup. He seems quite determined to put his book on all sorts of lists, from non-fiction to YA paranormal romance.


message 11: by Sadie (new)

Sadie What a great and original idea for a list! Makes me want to read all the books presented here and listen to the song while doing so :)

Here's another link explaining the song's references: http://dippitydont.co.vu/post/6979726...


message 12: by Sagar (new)

Sagar RJ Thanks :)


message 13: by Autumn (new)

Autumn Great job! Thank you. :)


message 14: by Anupam (new)

Anupam Majumdar Powerful song indeed. College day fab.
- AM
blogger at PhysicsTeacher.in


back to top