Brett's Reviews > Don't Know Much about History: Everything You Need to Know about American History But Never Learned

Don't Know Much about History by Kenneth C. Davis
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's review
Aug 15, 2012

really liked it
Read from August 15 to September 04, 2012

Finished "Don't Know Much About History" by Kenneth C. Davis, which discusses the "messy ripples of history," from the discovery of America to the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Overall it was a very good treatment of history, though I thought the coverage of earlier history was better organized than the more recent events. Earlier history seemed to be in a more logical order, perhaps because it is so long ago and we've had time to sort through it more completely. One feature of the book that I will likely be cursing for a long time is that each major era referenced one or more "must read" books. I compiled a list of 53 of them and will likely make my way through many eventually.

They are (along with their Amazon star rating):
From Freedom to Slavery: Rebirth of Tyranny in America by Gerry Spence (4.7/5 stars)
Bush V. Gore: The Court Cases and Commentary by EJ Dionne Jr and William Kristol (3/5 stars)
Too Close to Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election by Jeffrey Toobin (3.6/5 stars)
Maestro : Greenspan's Fed and the American Boom by Bob Woodward (3.3/5 stars)
A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President by Jeffrey Toobin (3.6/5 stars)
All Too Human by George Stephanopoulis (3.9/5 stars)
First in His Class: A Biography Of Bill Clinton by David Maraniss (4.6/5 stars)
Shadow: 5 Presidents and the legacy of Watergate by Bob Woodward (3.3/5 stars)
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts (note: 20th Anniversary Edition available) (4.7/5 stars)
President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime by Lou Cannon (3.6/5 stars)
The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam (4.5/5 stars)
Vietnam: A History by Stanley Karnow (4.4/5 stars)
Our Vietnam by A.J. Langguth (4/5 stars)
Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK by Gerald Posner (3.4/5 stars)
The Fifties by David Halberstam (4.5/5 stars)
Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality by Richard Kluger (4.9/5 stars)
The Great Fear: The Anti-Communist Purge Under Truman and Eisenhower by David Caute (5/5 stars, one review)
Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case by Allen Weinstein (3.8/5 stars)
Truman by David G. McCullough (5/5 stars, one review)
The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes (note: 25th Anniversary Edition available) (4.7/5 stars)
Whittaker Chambers by Sam Tanenhaus (rating not available)
No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin (4.6/5 stars)
Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage by Joseph E. Persico (4.1/5 stars)
For the President's Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush by Christopher Andrew (4.6/5 stars)
Day Of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor by Robert B Stinnett (3.4/5 stars)
The Borrowed Years, 1938-1941 by Rob Ketchum (5/5 stars, one rating)
The Great Depression: America 1929-1941 by Robert S. McElvaine (3.1/5 stars)
Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg (4.2/5 stars)
J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets by Curt Gentry (4.3/5 stars)
The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 by Tim Madigan (4.3/5 stars)
At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America by Philip Dray (4.9/5 stars)
W. E. B. Du Bois, 1868-1919: Biography of a Race by David Levering Lewis (4.1/5 stars)
Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris (4.1/5 stars)
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris (4.8/5 stars)
Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt by David G. McCullough (4.3/5 stars)
The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914 by David McCullough (4.7/5 stars)
April 1865: The Month That Saved America - Jerry Winik (4.0/5 stars)
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown (4.7/5 stars)
500 Nations (Pimlico Wild West) by Alvin M Josephy (4.7/5 stars)
Undaunted Courage - Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of America by Stephen E. Ambrose (4.5/5 stars)
Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and the Future of America by Thomas Fleming (4.2/5 stars)
Three Roads to the Alamo: The Lives and Fortunes of David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Barret Travis by William C. Davis (4.5/5 stars)
A Struggle for Power: The American Revolution by Theodore Draper (4.8/5 stars)
The Winter Soldiers: The Battles for Trenton and Princeton by Richard M. Ketchum (4.7/5 stars)
The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by H.W. Brands (4.6/5 stars)
American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence by Pauline Maier (4.1/5 stars)
Saratoga: Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War by Richard M. Ketchum (4.6/5 stars)
Liberty: The American Revolution by Thomas Fleming (4.5/5 stars)
Patriots: The Men who Started the American Revolution by A.J. Langguth (4.6/5 stars)
The Creation of America: Through Revolution to Empire by Francis Jennings (3.1/5 stars)
A Delusion Of Satan: The Full Story Of The Salem Witch Trials by Frances Hill (3.9/5 stars)
The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America by John Demos (3.5/5 stars)
Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky (4.4/5 stars)

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